two old file cabinets.
the old file cabinets are in the closet in the studio. at some point i organized all – well, most of – my music, lugged a couple metal cabinets up from the basement and spent a few days filing. there’s overfill in a few cardboard bank boxes on the floor. maybe someday i’ll get to those.
yesterday i was looking for a piece of music i thought i had. i went to the drawer it should be in and starting rifling through the books and sheet music. every title i looked at brought back memories: “moon river” made me think of my uncle allen, who took voice lessons and sang that song beautifully. “all i need” made me think of days at moton school center, comparing ‘general hospital’ notes with lois over lunches of peanuts and diet cokes. “the rose” made me think of earlier years of promise and love.
i forgot about what i was searching for and dragged out a pile of music, sheets spilling out onto the floor as i struggled to pull them from their tightly filled drawer. books – collections of artists or full transcribed albums – called my name, begging to see the light of day. i whispered to them i would be back for them. it has probably been decades since they were opened.
standing at the piano, not another thought in my head, i started shuffling through sheet music and playing. it was no longer 2020, transported instantly back to the 70s, the 60s, the 80s.
had i opened a different drawer i would have found all my old piano books, my old organ music – tools of a student learning her eventual trade. in those drawers are the books my children used for their music lessons, for band and orchestra. in those drawers are the books i used as i attempted junior high oboe and college trumpet lessons. in those drawers are the pieces that kept me on the bench for hours as a child and then as a teenager, practicing, playing, dreaming.
other drawers yield a plethora of more advanced piano and organ music, years of accumulated resources. there are drawers of choir music, both sacred and secular, from years and years of directing and conducting work. and still others house the scores of music i have written, staff paper and pencil, finished in calligraphy pen.
it made me want to just clear a day off. liberate my mind from every worry, every task, every watching-the-time responsibility. brush off the dust of the dark drawers from the lead sheets and scores and play.
i’d love to gather a whole group of friends around the piano and sing through john denver and billy joel songs, through england dan and john ford coley’s “we’ll never have to say goodbye again” and paul mccartney’s “maybe i’m amazed” and david soul’s “don’t give up on us” and the carpenters’ “bless the beasts and the children” and led zeppelin’s “stairway to heaven”, through carole king and james taylor and pablo cruise. through the ‘great songs of the sixties’ book and the ‘sensational 70 for the 70s’ book and fake books from all time. just take a day – a whole day – and sing. and remember together.
in light of the restrictions of the coronavirus pandemic, this would have to be virtual, i suppose. so that might not be such a good idea. but maybe d and i could just take that day. think of nothing else but music and where it has brought us, where it brings us. our long stories.
a few things can instantly place you back in a moment. songs, scents, pictures. a whiff of my sweet momma’s favorite perfume has me immediately missing her. john denver singing anything off any number of albums of his that i owned places me in my room hanging out on my beanbag chairs with my slick 3-in-1 turntable/8-track/cassette stereo or driving my little bug around the island. wings’ “silly love songs” or elton’s “don’t go breaking my heart” and i can feel the hot sand under my beach towel at crab meadow.
two old file cabinets. filled to the brim.
so many treasures.
IT’S A LONG STORY ©️ 1997 & 2000 kerri sherwood