"What a wonder life I've had! I only wish I'd realized it sooner." Colette

May 27, 2018

My First Job


So it's Memorial Day weekend and you want to know what I did this morning? Went to church. Turns out there's a local branch just down the road, and I was curious if I'd be struck dead once inside the door.

It was pretty much the same as I remember, except they added some new songs and variations of existing hymns, for some reason. This caused the church to publish a second volume of hymns, and I kept getting confused which one to grab.

My first job which required a Social Security card was playing the piano for Sunday School, $2.00 for 2 hymns per week. I must have been 9 or 10.


The first time I froze completely once people started singing and simply sat, staring at the hymnal with fingers poised above the keyboard while they sang verse after verse. When the torture finally ended I ran to the bathroom, mortified, hoping God would take pity and make me disappear like the miracles we were reading, but no. I eventually emerged to face the music (yeowwwww...): thankfully everyone was really nice but I still spent the next 50 minutes in terror of the ending hymn. I froze then, too.


I must have frozen for 4 or 5 weeks before I finally could accompany the Sunday School. Talk about perseverance, jeez, I wish I had more of that now. They not only kept me, they paid me.

After so many years I eventually became cocky, and wouldn't bother to practice until the evening-before or morning-of. I changed the church's selected versions more than once if I played it better. At 16 I decided to stop accompanying (too busy, ya know); and then tested my emancipation rights by deciding I wasn't going to church at all.  I got away with that twice before Mom and Dad kicked my como-se-llama out of bed the following Sunday. 

So this morning I'm looking at 2 volumes of hymns and wondering why one wasn't enough? I overheard the pianist and soloist speaking skeptically whether the congregation would be able to accompany the last hymn, which was totally new for everyone. Great - I'm starting off same as everyone else! Most of them were humming the hymn, but I was pleased to learn I can still read music, and sang along in my soft, for once, contralto voice.

As I've repeated, "There are no atheists in foxholes." Or in the poor house either, I do believe.



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