The evening gown was blue . One of Mothers creation…made for the music recital held each year to show off the talent of Miss Mary’s students. This particular evening would long be remembered.
My sister and I were given music lesson by the only teacher in our small town. “Miss Mary” taught in a small room upstairs behind the stage in the school auditorium. It was very cold in the room heated by a kerosene heater. There was a window overlooking a cow pasture. Another story… back to the music room. Miss Mary had a metronome and it was best to keep the correct beat or the ruler would come out to tap on your cold hands. Everyone knew where you had been because the smell of kerosene clung to your clothes.
My sister practiced her music and knew her recital selection perfectly. Mother made sure we had the time to practice every day no matter the chores. It meant something to her that we knew how to play the piano. Mother paid for our music lessons by selling the extra eggs.
Recital night. I think my sister probably rode with her boyfriend in his truck to school. Only four of us could ride comfortably in our truck unless we sat in each others lap. That would never do with our fancy dresses.
It was a three mile ride into town and the school. There was excitement in the air. Everyone always looked forward to this evening of entertainment. There wasn’t much to do back in those days, therefore, music recitals and school plays were always well attended.
The auditorium filled with family and friends; the music students proceeded back stage; the lights went down in the auditorium as the lights came up on stage. It was time.
The younger players always went first. A young man in my class, very tall and gangly, was one of the last young ones to play. The curtain parted… he stepped on the stage …started forward…tripped….stumbled…fell…got up…turned and grinned broadly. He performed. Everyone clapped loudly. His performance was a little bit more entertaining than usual. There would be more.
Finally, it was time for the older students to perform.
My beautiful sister stepped from behind the curtain…regally approached the piano…arranged her gown on the piano bench… raised her hands gracefully…her selection was Chopin‘s Polonaise….
Plump…discordant chords…another try…more discordant chords…
Had she chosen to play The Lost Chord?
The beautiful piece she knew so perfectly at home… forgotten…
A group sigh exhaled from the audience…third try
Remembered… rushing through…
Could it be The Minute Waltz?
Finally finished…she jumped up…and raced to exit…stage left!!
No curtsy. No bowing to the audience.
I think everyone clapped. I don’t remember and I don’t know if she ever performed on that stage again.