I was abused as a child. By the piano.
My sister and I, and all of our unsuspecting cousins, were forced by our mothers, to take piano lessons. From Aunt Verda. I believe I can speak for all of us: We hated it.
Note: Aunt Verda was Donnie’s grandmother, my great-aunt, my mother’s aunt, my grandfather’s sister. She was also a master pianist. She was exceptional.
So, it was not Aunt Verda we disliked…it was the mere fact that we had to take piano lessons. We would have much rather been doing anything else.
Aunt Verda and Uncle Don (both in their mid to late 80’s at the time) lived in a beautiful, old house on North Nevada in the Old North End of Colorado Springs. And, their house was HOT. Literally. The thermostat was kept around 97 degrees or so. On piano lesson day, every Monday, if my memory serves me…we would creak up the front stairs to the front door, open it quietly, because there was bound to be another pupil finishing up their weekly torture session behind the curtained, closed French Doors that led from the waiting area at the base of the majestic stairs (that led to great exploration…more on that later), to the living room/piano room where Aunt Verda’s TWO grand pianos were placed at a 90 degree angle to each other. And, where the other French Door in the house led to the outside back yard (and wasn’t curtained…more on that later, too.)
My sister and I would sit, heart in throat, outside those curtained doors until Aunt Verda let out some poor child and beckoned one of US in. I don’t exactly remember who of the two of us went in first for our 30 minute lesson, but most likely it was my sister. She is younger, and as her older sister, I usually felt it my God-given duty to boss her around and make her do the yucky things first.
So, in she would go, swallowed up into the semi-darkness of the piano room by the French Doors. I hoped to no end that Aunt Verda would forget and leave the curtains at least semi-askew so I could get a spying glimpse of my sister, long blond scraggly (she hated for my mom to brush it) hair and all going through her dreaded half hour piano lesson.
Curtain Crack Never Happened.
So, on to other things: I would, silent-as-a-mouse, sneak upstairs and go through bathroom drawers. (This is the first time I am confessing this to my extended family, Anne and Donnie, I’m sorry you have to hear it here.) My favorite thing was to go into Aunt Verda’s upstairs bathroom and try on her jewelry. She must not have had her ears pierced because every single huge, jewel toned, ornate piece of costume jewelry earring was a clip on. That made it much easier for me to try them on. Thank you Aunt Verda.
From the bathroom, I’d make my rounds to the sunroom off of her bedroom. That was where the singing Coke bottle resided. It was some kind of a plastic Coke bottle that you could turn on and hear music. Which I did, every Monday. I think it was a radio.
From there, I’d sneak back downstairs and out through the strawberry wallpapered kitchen to the back yard where I would sit on Uncle Don’s stick sharpener. So, that’s probably not what it was, but that’s what I used it for. It was one of those old stationary bike looking things, but the only wheel…the front wheel…was a big round wheel-shaped stone. As you peddled, the stone would spin and if you held a stick to the stone, you could sharpen it.
I wonder if Uncle Don ever wondered why there were so many dangerously shaped sticks in his back yard?
And, another perk to my travels around her house…from the back yard, you could see in through the back French Doors (uncurtained, remember) and SPY on your unsuspecting sister. Thankful it wasn’t you, but knowing you were up next and better get in there before Aunt Verda figured out you had escaped the premises.
So, get back in there, sit in the waiting room, and act cute and studious as the French Doors threw up your sister and sucked you in.
Well, Aunt Verda was in the Golden Years of her life at that point, loved to drink warm Cokes, chew ice, and chase fire engines. Those are some of the reasons she said she lived so long. But, being in her Golden Years, she had much drooping skin. As we lucky ladies will all get sooner or later.
And, Aunt Verda had Wap Wap.
What, the heck, you may ask, is Wap Wap?
To fully demonstrate this to yourself, go a large mirror. Expose one of your arms from the hand to the neck. Stick your arm out 90 degrees to the side. With your other hand, wiggle the skin that is between your armpit and your elbow, on the bottom side of your arm. If it flaps when it is wiggled, you have Wap Wap.
Aunt Verda had MAJOR Wap Wap. Piano was her excercise of choice, not strengthening her triceps.
My sister, now older (ie. in her 20’s), was coaching a high school sports team some years ago. She shouted to one of the players and pointed forcefully, with full right arm outstretched, where she wanted the player to go. And, quickly gasped, and withdrew her arm into her side.
SHE had Wap Wap.
She began pointing like a chicken. Upper arm held tightly against her side and forearm indicating the direction of the point.
The Animal Whisperer, known by me for very strong arms and not a trace of Wap Wap, had wrist surgery last October. His right wrist was casted and splinted for a couple of months, causing the muscles of his right arm to fade away into nothingness.
He now has Wap Wap.
My mom, who works out all the time, is in a constant battle with Wap Wap.
I will not divulge whether I have it or not. But you might have noticed, it seems to be genetic.
Anyway, you do the test. Do you have Wap-Wap? All over the country today, women and me alike will be pointing laterally in the mirror to see if there is any unanticipated skin movement.
May the force be with you.
And, As a note to you mothers who subject your kids to piano lessons, take it easy on them. They are truly suffering. Or, pay them to practice. That’s what my mom did…$1 for 15 minutes. Sorry mom, I had to let the truth be told.
- The Goat Cheese Lady