I went to my daughter’s school concert this week. The Chigwell Junior School concert in St Mary’s Church. A beautiful setting, an hour’s worth of music by the 8-13 year olds. I thought it was going to be light and frothy: indulgent parents and over-eager kids. But then it turned into something else. I was catapulted into my own past, and because I wasn’t ready, it was quite a shock.
One of the girls did a piano solo: Beethoven’s Sonata No 2 – the Moonlight Sonata. I was thrown back 30 years or more, to when my Mum used to take me to piano lessons, and I used to hack my way through the same piece.
But the power of the memory! The details – piano (the wonderful Boesendorfer), teacher (Mrs Johnstone – very patient, long slim fingers, very cool dry touch), my Mum marking school papers whilst I did the lesson next door.
Parental dedication and time: The weekly lesson at St John’s College in York, Mum ferrying me and my brother back and forth. We used to finish at 5.30, and listen to Just A Minute with Kenneth Williams on the way home. Shared laughter. Shared time.
Deep inside I’m sure that my Mum must remember these times too. I will ask her next time I see her, try to bring our shared memories back up to the surface. I should play her the Beethoven piece, although probably not on the piano…
And then the young girl finishes the piece at the concert, and I snap back to the present. Nothing light and frothy about that, she played it beautifully. Way back then, if memory serves me right, I did not… But I do have the memory, and for that I thank my mother and her dedication.