Thursday, May 5, 2011

Musical Memories

We had lunch in Lincoln yesterday with brother Don & Gladys at the Big Red Keno Parlor on West “O” St. Among the subjects of discussion was Dad’s accordion (concertina). I had earlier noted that he got it on December 28, 1948. I checked out my old Diary today and the entry on that date includes: “Pop and Don went to David City and got an accordion”. I was gone working with SCS and didn’t note the price but my memory is that it cost $90.00. Don said yesterday that he remembered Mother and Dad discussing it before they left and Dad was willing to not make the purchase because of the cost. Mother, however was insistent that he buy it. The billows on his old instrument had deteriorated and had been inoperable for probably 15 years. The above picture was taken on Sunday, June 7, 1987 at cousin Ted & Muffy Vrana’s home in Lincoln. The Folks, sister Vivian & Eddy Soucek, Elaine & I were invited down for a family dinner honoring their daughter Doni and her fiancée Bob Belau from New York City. His folks from St. Louis and cousin Doloros from O-Fallon, IL were also present. Dad was asked to bring his accordion along and played for the garden party as we danced the polka and Flying Dutchman. The picture conveys the pleasure the music provided the Folks and to all of us over the years. I listened to a cassette tape of accordion music on the way home from the golf course this afternoon, and it brought back the happy memory of that day 24 years ago as if it had been yesterday.


  1. Great post, Dad! I think that picture has always been a family favorite, too!

  2. This concertina sits on my piano now, but rarely sits there for any period of time. I keep the dust off of it by playing old Czech polkas and other musical numbers.

    It has appeared in photo and video, even recently. More and more, I have used it in recent commemorations of American Civil War 150th anniversary events. Just the other day, I entertained the people of Vienna, Virginia in front of Lydecker's Store, Vienna, Virginia, build by Mr. Lydecker, New York, just two years before the Vote for Secession was held on the very steps of his store. I had many an opportunity to explain the history of the instrument and the difference between an accordion and a concertina. An accordion plays the same note, whether you push or pull. A concertina plays different notes (same concept as a mouth harp or harmonica.)

    Short story about this particular concertina.

    Grandpa would also pull down the concertina and play good Czech music. As a young "lad," I would listen attentively. One day (not sure how old I was - maybe 14), he pulled down his concertina as usual, played a number of songs as usual, but then did a very unusual thing for him. He handed it to me and told me to play!! Wow. How very cool. I've been playing it ever sense. I've gotten other concertinas and even a couple of accordions since then, but nothing plays as good or has as good of memories as Grandpa's concertina. It has appeared on YouTube!!