Category Archives: Memories

Empty studios, weather woes and merry meter maids

THE EMPTY STUDIO

Why Blame the Weather? (The Case of the Diligent Meter Maid)

Yesterday was a slow day in my piano studio. Why? The weather. Now my husband and I are teeny-tiny little produce farmers with some poultry, so we are always interested in the weather but the apocalyptic announcements of approaching blizzards on the Weather Channel that never appear are starting to jade me. After all, isn’t cable’s weather channel suppose to report weather? It’s ludicrous to see Cantore standing in lightly snow-dusted roads bemoaning all the snow IN NEW YORK in January. What part of winter doesn’t he understand? The result of winter weather in the Wichita area was the cancellation of school – again. Now, I’m sure if the school board was honest (Where’s the magic of “Liar, Liar” when you need it?) they would say, “We’re afraid of the lawsuits slapped on us when buses slide into students.” Now that is a valid concern. I could easily buy that one.

There’s no excitement in our society today. Everything is so “correct.”  But I admit I’m a transplant to Kansas from the Springfield, MA area. The Meter Maids there were made of firm stuff. You won’t see Cantore out there when one of them is on a mission to decrease the city’s budget deficits.

In 1994-95 the snow was piled as high as the meters. A man tried to climb up and over the snow banks to put his cold little quarter into the meter like any dutiful citizen would. Unfortunately, he slipped, he fell, he broke his leg and he watched while the meter maid whipped open her ticket pad and wrote him out a welcome present from the city of Springfield, Massachusetts. The shame and outrage from the public was so great, the major suspended parking meter fines until the snow season ended. I don’t know, but I would guess the fallen man could have sued the city.

Until a few years ago, most of us walked to school unless a REAL blizzard was in progress. My grandfather (Pepere, Joseph Goodreau, French Canadian) plowed for Ludlow (a suburb of Springfield), working sometimes 72 hours straight to make sure ambulances and other vehicles had access ASAP. He didn’t party it up or complain. My mother would meet him coming down our hill with a bottle of Pepsi or a cup of coffee. He was like so many others who plowed (or like today), fixed downed power lines or responded to accidents with tow trucks, ambulances and the likes. So we waited and waited for buses in subzero weather. Our school board finally drew the line at closing schools when the ambient temperature was below -20 degrees. Maybe we were soft after all.

PS

I love looking at Mt Washington’s website. In summer I feel cooler, in winter I appreciate how warm it is around me. In other words – this is one COLD place in USA.  To “travel there” follow this link:

http://www.mountwashington.org/

STUDIO NEWS

Next lesson in improvising will be posted in a couple of days. I’ve been busy shoveling.

What are your (cherished) Christmas Memories?

This little exercise helps if you had an older brother. One good reason – he’d come up with the most ingenious ideas that a younger sister would never even voice. Better yet, he would get get the blame. In fact, my brother is the only person I know of who actually GOT COAL in his stocking one Christmas. What better Christmas can one have! Like the time “X” (there’s no way I’ll spill the beans) had to show me something. As soon as Mom was safely down the street, he pulls me into a bedroom that had the little hole in the closet ceiling that leads into the attic. He pops up the square insert and feels around the attic floor a bit. Down comes a small package addressed to neither of us. He shakes it. We can’t guess so up it goes and he feels around a bit more. After repeating this a couple more times, he gets impatient and pulls himself closer to the hole and feels around again. He found the Christmas popcorn balls. What a find! (Parents loved these because they usually helped fill the stocking, especially in the leaner years). We ate either one or one apiece, I can’t remember. I do remember Mom asking Dad several days later where he put the treats for the stockings. Did “X” eat the rest while I wasn’t there?

My brother was really good at ferreting such important info out. I remember a few years later when he got his comeuppance, though. When it was safe, he had to show me the new hideout for Christmas. As usual, he pulls out a present and read the label. He put it down and pulled out another gift. I could tell he wasn’t happy and it wasn’t just his scowl. “What’s wrong?” I asked. There were no names on the gifts, only numbers-the game was up!