continued from page 2
Soon the two friends were going to Sheboygan regularly to play with a group of about a dozen others, retired people who had developed an interest in the accordion. Some, like Geraldine, were rediscovering an old passion. Others were learning how to play for the first time.
Geraldine was impressed by people who would simply pick up the accordion without knowing how to read music, fool around a little bit, and learn how to play by ear—wonderful music, she said.
In fact, one man brought his boom box and would listen to the same piece over and over. Then he would pick up his instrument and pick out the notes himself.
Geraldine was also impressed by these people who had wanted to do something all their lives and finally, now that they were retired and had the time, were pursuing their passions—and achieving them.
But besides playing accordion, Geraldine had been doing something else, too. Her mother had been a resident at Willowpark Assisted Living in New Holstein, and the director had asked Geraldine to come weekly to read to the residents, which she did. After reading by herself for a while, she asked Vern Rolbiecki to join her. They were quite a team, reading stories about the old days, then bantering with the residents about what they had read and adding some memories of their own.
And this went on until Geraldine happened to say something about how she’d discovered the accordion again after all these years.
Well, of course, everyone wanted her to bring it down to the facility and play for them. So the pair that had called themselves The Reading Lamp now became Tunes and Talk. A little reading, a few “vintage” tunes.
It was just the two of them until Mary Ann asked Geraldine to come along to an anniversary party for John Nottling and his wife, Bev. It seems John also played the accordion and loved listening to it as well. Mary Ann and Geraldine had been invited to play while the guests ate and visited with each other.
At some point, Mary Ann gave John her accordion and told him to sit in for a few tunes.
“Play along with Geraldine,” she said. “See if you two can play something together.”
Could they play together? After John took the accordion, it seemed as if he and Geraldine could read each other’s minds. Even when John didn’t know the melody, he just noodled, as Geraldine called it—filled in, did the fancy work. Soon, Geraldine and Vern invited John to be part of the Tunes and Talk group.
Now, every other week, the three of them—Geraldine, Vern, and John— come down to Willowpark to entertain the residents.
Like today, for instance.
Written on a white board in the dining room of Willowpark is today’s date, followed by, “9:30 Tunes and Talk.”
Up in front of the room, past the dining tables, chairs are lined up neatly in a row. The sun makes diagonal stripes on the blue and beige carpet, a beautiful day. A few early residents have already taken their seats.
Geraldine walks in with a music stand. “Good morning. This is the type of a day you could go sledding,” she says in a cheery voice.
Vern comes in next, then John.
“We are Tunes and Talk,” says Vern. “She’s the tunes, and I’m the talk. And there’s no cover charge.”
“I woke up and was so organized,” says Geraldine. “I asked myself, where did I put the music? It was right here in my hand.”
She turns to get her accordion out of its case. “I think someone put a couple of bricks in here since last week. I used to be able to fling this thing around.”
John straps his accordion on, too. “You heard about the case Roe versus Wade? I guess they were around way back when Washington crossed the Delaware.” He pauses. “You know, row and wade?”
“A little history lesson there,” says Geraldine with a smile.
The residents dribble in as they set up until eight people are sitting, ready to hear the show.
“Hey, we’re sitting awfully far away from each other,” says Geraldine to John. “You don’t bite, do you?”
“There’s always a first time,” says John. He keeps a serious face as he quips, and he seems to have an endless supply of material.
“I wonder if you remember this song,” says Geraldine, addressing the audience. “It was a French song played by a nun on a guitar. Dominique.”
And Geraldine begins to sing in French, a sweet voice, accompanied by two accordions.
“Remember?” she says somewhere in the middle and continues. When she’s finished, everyone claps.
“Does anyone speak French?” she asks. “I do,” says John. “Oh, I’m in trouble.”
“Why do chickens have coops?” asks John.
No one has the answer.
“Because otherwise they’d have sedans.”
He has hit a chord here with the group, and they have to tell him what they remember about the old sedans, about one with one door, about when cars had rumble seats. They’re all interested because it has triggered so many memories.
Vern takes a turn reading from Reminisce magazine, an article titled, “For Better or Worse,” about a newly married woman who mistakes baking soda for baking powder. Vern reads with expression with an eye on her audience. She is so fluent it sounds as if she is relating a personal experience.
When she is done, the story has aroused even more memories from the audience. Geraldine adds a personal experience about the old meat grinder.
And then it’s time for more music.
“Have we done a polka?” Geraldine asks. A polka.
It seems there was a time when a much younger Geraldine didn’t particularly enjoy polkas, when she’d rather play clarinet in the school band than accordion. And yet, today she breaks out playing a
Turn to TALK/page 5
Social Media is no stranger to the funeral
profession. Yes, even funeral homes now have
Facebook pages, Twitter accounts and you tube
videos. They are primarily used to announce
community outreach events and for posting
obituaries and informative articles. Many people
create memorial pages on Facebook for someone
after they have died. This has become especially
popular for the younger generation. Some of you
remember when the television rst came out. How
many of you thought or were told that television
was just a fad and in a few years everybody
would forget about it? Some of you may feel that
way about Facebook or social media. But make
no mistake, social media is here to stay and the
following article will let you know how Facebook
may have just found a way to make us, in a
sense……….here to stay.
A few days ago, while reading through some of
my professional social media proles I became
aware of a new app that has been created for
Facebook called “If I Die”. “If I Die” lets “you”
post a nal message to your wall and loved ones nding out she was diagnosed with cancer started
recording videos for her daughter to be released
every year on her birthday until she turned 18.
This might sound a little bit morbid. However,
leaving a posthumous message is really nothing
new. People have been writing letters to loved
ones to be found after they’ve died for years. The
difference with this new concept is that the message
or video will be discovered right away, instead of
years later in a desk drawer.
I remember when I was in eighth grade I had to
do a report for history class on The Depression. I
was lucky enough to have both sets of grandparents
still living that had gone through the depression
so I decided to interview my grandpa who helped
my grandmother raise 6 children during these
trying times. Because I wanted to have an audio
recording, I asked my dad if I could use his twenty
year old trusted and relied upon 1964 Sony edition
(complete with black leather case) tape recorder to
do the interview. It was an interesting interview and
is a great memory for me. I think I got an A on the
report. I still have the tape……..now if I just had