Until a very short time ago, I had a picture of me sitting on the piano bench at my aunt Ellen’s house.

I feel sad that I can’t find it, because I wanted you to be able to see it. Then you could see how very long my braids were when I was still nine years old, before my first haircut.

So, now let me tell you my story anyway, without the photograph. (Maybe I’ll find it soon. I keep looking.)

We had an upright piano at our house. On the top of the piano, we had many family photos in frames. It was my job to do the dusting. I didn’t think it was fair, because I had to pick up each frame, dust under it, and replace it carefully. It was very boring. 

All I really wanted to do was just play the piano. I used to pound the keys as loudly as I wanted to. At home, my mother always encouraged me to play, even if it was very loud!

I loved to visit at Aunt Ellen’s house, because she had a piano that I was allowed to play. I played little tunes that I made up. When I got excited and started playing loudly, my mother would look at me with a frown. That frown meant, “You are not at home, where you can play loudly. Please play quietly here!” I would frown right back at her, but I would play more quietly. 

From as long as I can remember, I used to ask to take piano lessons. I asked many times. But what we want, we don’t always get. There may not be the money for it. 

When I was twelve years old, my father went to work at a different job at an auto factory. He was making more money now. He was able to pay for my piano lessons.

Today, I write my own music for piano. I play sounds that I like. I write down the sounds on manuscript paper, using music notation. Then I improvise on those sounds. It makes me feel happy, and I look forward to my time at the piano every day!