Saturday, November 15, 2008

No Grape Gum Allowed!

In our lifetime, we meet so many people. Some we meet in passing and with some, we are fortunate enough to share bits of our lives. As we get older, those who have impacted our lives are the ones that we will remember. I received word today that one who had a great impact on me passed away.

Ann Chamlee is one person I will never forget. I met Ann when I was in tenth grade. I was looking for a new piano teacher at the time and knew of Ann's reputation as a teacher in my hometown. I set up an interview/audition with her and prepared myself the best way I could, for I knew that if she wasn't impressed, I would still be looking for a piano teacher.

I remember one of the first things she said to me. "Don't ever chew grape gum when you come to your lesson. Don't even chew grape gum before you come to your lesson because I will still smell it on you when you get here. I can't stand grape gum!". You see, Ann was, I guess you could say, quite an expressive lady. 

I was honored to become her student after that interview/audition and I quickly learned that I would always know where I stood with her. If she was pleased with my work, there wasn't a louder cheerleader on my side. If she was less than pleased, you can guarantee I left the lesson very clear on what needed to be improved.

I looked forward to my lessons every week because I looked forward to spending that one hour each week with her. I loved her laugh, I loved her musicality, I loved her sense of humor, I loved her bluntness (is that a word?) and I loved the way she sat with her leg crossed, foot resting on her knee with her skirt hanging down, coffee cup in hand! I learned much more than piano skills and I will be ever grateful that I was a part of her studio.

The ivory keys in heaven are playing beautiful melodies today and you can be 100% certain, there is no grape gum in sight!

I love you, Ann!


jason fowler said...

That was great!

Anonymous said...

Melissa, what a tribute to Annie. Thank you for sharing. Kate (Annie's grandaughter)

Anonymous said...

Mother would be so proud. The grape gum thing... it's true. I still won't chew it. For those of you who still have a mother, call her today and tell her you love her. The last words my mother said to me were "I love you." Thank you Melissa,
Meg Chamlee Pitrucha