gift from my father by sharon grace smith

Classical Comfort

Quite often, there was no one to stay at home with me during the day. Mother would set out lunch for me and remind me that she would call on her break at work. My sister arrived home in the afternoon and we would have a snack, catching up on what we did for the day. She would share with me who she saw and things about her classes. Some days she stayed at home with me. This could not have been easy for her missing school but she did so many times as I remember.

My father played two instruments, the bassoon, and saxophone. He loved all music but was especially fond of the classics. One day he brought home a fairly large beautiful piece of furniture for the family, a mahogany radio/record player. You lifted the top up and peered inside where a turntable accommodated the size 78’s records of the day plus the dial to go from station to station on the radio as well.

He had accumulated a broad collection of the classics. I use to play them when I was alone during the day. Father taught me the proper way to play the records, carefully removing them from their individual sleeves and gently placing them on the turntable one at a time. I learned how to clean them with a special cloth and learned how to carefully remove them from the turntable to be returned after having finished listening to them.

I became a Dj of sorts, creating my dialogue announcing to no one in particular what they were about to hear. Of course, since I could not read the labels with some understanding, I had no idea who was the composer or what was the title of the records in his collection.

I would sit on the floor with my back up against the fabric of the front side of the furniture where the speaker was located and play the music listening to many records over and over throughout the summer of that year. Life moved on, I grew up and loved to listen to some of the classical recordings on the radio, still never really knowing who composed them.

Recently talking to my sister, I shared my memory of playing Dj and listening to dad’s records as a child. She asked me if I ever knew the real names of any of the records. I laughed and said no expressing my method back then. She explained that dad was extremely fond of Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 6.  Tchaikovsky also wrote Romeo and Juliet, The 1812 Overture, and his three ballets: The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, and The Sleeping Beauty.

As an adult, I was aware of all but Symphony No. 6. so I went to the library and asked for that particular recording and sat in a listening room so that I could hear the same. Suddenly, I heard a musician play the bassoon so beautifully and then on to all the other musicians playing what was created for them by this amazing composer.

What a thrill this was for me. I was familiar with them all now, every piece, and now finally with their real names attached. Do you have a favorite Tchaikovsky composition?





Sharon Smith was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest (USA); owned a healthcare uniform business for many years. She also lived in Japan and presently resides in Michigan. She blogs about her experiences and shared observations touching on culture, lifestyle, and the people around her.

Sharon Grace Smith, author


  1. Joan N Kazmierski on January 28, 2021 at 3:17 PM

    I like the 1812 overture. Enjoyed reading this, Am still impressed with your memory.

    • Sharon Smith on January 29, 2021 at 4:38 PM

      Thanks Joan, happy you enjoyed post.

  2. Marci Kobayashi on January 29, 2021 at 1:54 AM

    I have memories of listening to music when I was home alone, too. The records my dad left me to listen to were a different kind of classic – Kenny Rogers, Neil Diamond, Fleetwood Mac… 🙂

    • Sharon Smith on January 29, 2021 at 4:37 PM

      I never thought about that, you are correct. Great music!

  3. Mikaela Hicks on February 4, 2021 at 7:03 PM

    One of my treasured memories with my mom was listening to music while we cleaned the house (Motown, specifically The Supremes). One of my favorite memories of living with you was when we would all gather in the living room and listened to music. (My specific memory is Fleetwood Mac and Elvis’s “Blue Christmas”) 🙂

    • Sharon Smith on February 5, 2021 at 12:14 PM

      How fun that must have been for you as you love a good beat!

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