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Early memories. Possibly part of an ongoing project.

I get piano lessons once a week. Mommy takes me and we drive there. Mrs. McNally gives me my lessons. Her piano is downstairs in her basement and we go down there for the lessons. I sit on the bench and Mrs. McNally sits next to me. She sits by the high keys and I sit in the middle, so that I can put my thumbs on Middle C. The piano is funny-looking. It is red. It is not like grandma’s piano, which is big and brown and takes up a lot of room in her living room. It is red and flat and tall. Most peoples’ basements are cold but not Mrs. McNally’s. Her basement is hot and smells like her, which is cigarettes and perfume and old lady smell. When she talks, that smell comes out of her mouth and I don’t like to breathe that smell in my nose. There isn’t a lot of air down there and my hands get sweaty and I don’t like that when I play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. I bring my lesson books with me. They have songs in them that are pretty easy to play so I don’t have to learn the notes, I just play from my head how the song goes. Some songs I don’t know how they go so I have to look at the notes and it takes me longer to play and Mrs. McNally sometimes has to take my fingers and show me what notes to play. Her hands are big and she has long fingernails. Grandma says I have to cut my fingernails and keep them short and hold up my wrists and bend my fingers under. But Mrs. McNally doesn’t tell me to do those things. Grandma says that you can’t play piano right if you have long fingernails. But Mrs. McNally’s nails are always long and always some different color like purple or pink or red. When I learn to play a new song she puts a shiny star sticker on the page where the song is. Mommy sits on the couch behind me. She takes care of my little sister Bonnie. Sometimes Bonnie starts crying so Mommy picks her up and says shhhhh there there and bounces her up and down.

Mommy used to put me in the baby seat on the back of her bike and she would take us for a ride. It was always a nice sunny day and I would put my face in my mommy’s shirt if the sun was too strong in my eyes. My mommy’s shirts always had a nice smell like wind. Sometimes she would stop at the park and she would push me on the swing. Or she would sit in the swing next to me and show me how to put my legs out then in then out then in and then I could swing by myself. When I was up as high as I could go I would lean back and look at the sky and clouds and that would feel very high and dizzy like flying. Then we would get back on the bike and we would visit my aunt Aimee. Aimee is spelled with two e’s which is the fancy way to spell Amy. She is a very nice aunt to have. She is tall and skinny with blonde hair and she drinks white wine and sometimes my mom has some too. I get grape juice or apple juice. Aimee has a nice house and she is always putting in new curtains or getting a new couch or carpeting. I am afraid to spill something on her nice floor. A long time ago she lived in an apartment with Uncle Tom and I spilled my milk on their floor in the living room. We were having pizza. I felt very sorry and my dad said sorry and my uncle laughed a lot and said Don’t worry about it. Then he said If it was Aim’s couch then you have to worry. Then everybody laughed and I felt better. They lived in a place called Cincinnati once when I was very little and we drove there to visit them. Their apartment was painted white and was big and didn’t really have any rooms. The ceiling was tall and had fans up there and they were white too. Everything in my memory of that place was white and cool and good. Uncle Tom took me to a park in Cincinnati and we were on the seesaw and when he sat down I went up and when he stood up I went down. I really laughed about that. Somebody’s radio was on at the park and it was playing a song called Just The Two Of Us and I liked that song because it was just me and my uncle who is very handsome like my dad but he gives me a lot more ice cream than my dad. When Uncle Tom is at our house I ask my mom if I can have some ice cream and she says Ok just a little and then I ask Uncle Tom to get it for me and he puts it in a cereal bowl not a dessert bowl and my mom says TOM!!! And then she says I am getting too smart and Uncle Tom is not allowed to get my ice cream any more. Uncle Tom laughs and winks his eye at me and I know next time he will still get me my ice cream.

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