We are going to have a little history lesson today, because I LOVE history, and this is a cool story about The Husband and my families. The Husband and I grew up together in a very small town, the same little farming town both of our grandparents grew up in, and our great grandparents, and so on. We went to school together, the same school our families attended. Our families even had farms right down the road from each other. We have some very deep roots here in our lovely rural mid-Michigan village, and that is where our rockin’ story begins.
As I mentioned back in my first blog, my grandpa played an upright bass in a western swing band throughout the ‘50’s and 60’s. I, unfortunately, never got the chance to hear him play it. I only saw this larger than life beast of an instrument and an old black and white picture sitting on a small table next to it. The fiddle was always tucked behind a bed in the upstairs of the old farm house, covered under an old sheet. As a child, my cousins and I would sneak over and peak at it, plucking the thick strings quietly, letting off its thunderous tones. Fortunately, the rest of our big, Irish catholic family was being naturally too loud downstairs to hear us messing with Grandpas fiddle. It still sits in the upstairs of that old farm house, now occupied by my parents, it seems the only place it should live, relocating it just doesn’t seem right. It’s a bit more weathered these days, but a beautiful steadfast remembrance of my childhood memories and my grandfather. With the exception of my Grandmother talking about her “band wife” experiences (which are much different from the 2017 version I am living) I don’t remember much of anyone talking a whole lot about it, how he came about playing, or anyone else in the band. So, this is where the story begins for me, my grandfather and his big upright fiddle.
I do know, after some fishing, the band played at town halls, old stages, and barn dances across rural mid-Michigan. One being a barn down the road, a family close with ours, the same family in which I would one day, far in the future, be deeply and legally (maritally) tied to. Where my future father-in-law (just a child at this part of the story) saw him play. He says my Grandpa was amazing. “I love watching those guys play, but especially the way your Grandpa hammered on those strings of that big bass.” He told me. This inspired my father-in-law to try out the bass, as a teenager in the 60’s western swing would not have been a sound music choice, nor would an upright bass, so he went with the electric bass. He still plays to this day, he played in some great local cover bands. His lovely wife, my mother-in-law, even sang for them and played a little percussion. One of my childhood memories of my father in-laws band playing was at our towns (something)centennial celebration, right in the saw mill that sits next to our home now, the home my husband grew up in, and his father before him (roots, people, lots of roots here). I am sure the little boy, my future husband, was running around somewhere as well. As a teenager, they would play at my uncles annual Halloween bash, at this point the future husband was most definitely there, sneaking out back with the other group of teenagers (which included me) to get into teenage trouble, it’s all laughable now, but then I was only a starry-eyed teenager, pining for his attention, trying my hardest to act cooler than I really was. Thank dear, sweet, baby Jesus he actually finds my awkward, straight laced personality somewhat charming and irresistible… I think.
Before that, though, there was that little boy (one of six), who watched mother and father on the stage with the same inspiration his father had as a child watching my grandpa. With a little guidance from his dad he taught himself to play bass, and with each ‘generation’ they take the music a little further. It now melts my heart to see our son watch him play, and practice with his dad. I wonder if he will follow through, if our son will take the music even further than his most talented father has. It also warms my heart to think that my grandfather is, inadvertently, the reason my husband now plays bass. Sure, it was his own hard work and dedication, it was his father’s own ambitions, but along the line, my grandfather was an inspiration. Our roots run so very deep, an intertwine in a dance that has been written for us in a way that amazes me every day. My husband has almost been chosen for me, but I am getting away from the coolest part of our love story. Of the very beginning of The Husbands journey to music love, a story that keeps writing itself.