Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Clarinet: A Family Heirloom

Last weekend was our neighborhood yard sale.  My friend and I set out our wares and "played store" on Friday and Saturday and were amazed once again at the whole event.  For our last few sales she has tried to sell two trumpets that her children had used during their high school days.  As usual there were lots of lookers and many stories about band and instruments shared throughout the day.

All this talk reminded me of "The Tale of the Family Clarinet".  When I was in junior high we had the first opportunity to join band.  My mother encouraged all types of educational experiences and was very supportive of our interests.  I came home and announced that I wanted to join band and I would like to play the flute.  My mother was supportive, but also very practical minded and realistic about both money and the changing interests of children.  So she said, "We have a clarinet.  You can start there.  If you stick with it we will buy you a flute."  Well, she was right.  After a year I was done with music lessons.

Shortly after my mother died we were sitting around sharing stories.  By then the clarinet was back in my possession after being used by my niece and then my son #1.  My niece shared how she wanted to play the flute growing up, but her mother (my sister and the original clarinet owner) told her to start with the clarinet.  I answered that I also wanted to play the flute but had to start with the already purchased clarinet!  And.....when son #1 wanted to take lessons I told him, "We have a clarinet...."

We all sort of blamed my sister for thwarting our fluting dreams because she had started with that darn clarinet.  She was sitting quietly listening to the stories and surprised us all when she spoke up and said, "Wait a minute.  I wanted to play the FLUTE also!!"   So why didn't she?   Turns out that the band needed clarinets, but more importantly to our frugal mother.....there was a bargain of a sale on clarinets!

I've had the clarinet restored twice.  It still sits in it's original box, a bit lonely for company.  I have no intention of selling it.  Perhaps one of the grandchildren will want to play the flute and will join the family heritage of clarinet players with a heart for the flute.


  1. It's never too late to learn :)

  2. What a wonderful family story! I played the saxophone while in school. My older sister played the trumpet, and my dad tried to talk me into that, but, it wasn't going to happen. The band director tried to talk my parents into talking me into the trombone, and that wasn't happening either. My heart was set on the saxophone, and that is what I got!