Sunday, September 18, 2011

1991 - reaching an octave

growing up, i was always on the short side. i wasn't gifted my first skirt until i was six or so because my mom said i had no legs. a skirt meant to go to my knees would inevitably reach my ankles. i didn't have a growth spurt until 8th and 9th grade when, in the course of one year, i grew from 4'11" to 5'6". 

but in 1991, i was still a shorty. 

and, to go along with the short legs, apparently i also had small hands. 

i started piano lessons when i was five years old and seemed to have a bit of promise, so my mom signed me up with a neighbor and family friend who was teaching. her name was shar and she was an extremely talented pianist. i enjoyed taking lessons from shar. she made things fun and always made an effort to find songs that i enjoyed playing. in addition to my regular lesson, theory, technique and performance books, i always had other fun books to keep me interested. one year, i insisted on only playing scott joplin rags for my additional pieces. shar obliged and found me the perfect book. 

as she watched me play, shar was always amazed that i could reach an entire octave with my tiny little hands. they barely reached, but i could do it. 

twice a year for our recitals, after we played our songs, shar would stand up at the front with us and share a little bit about our year - things we'd been working on, improvements she'd noticed, things she was impressed with. i didn't like the spotlight, so it wasn't the most comfortable thing for me, but it was nice to hear good things about my hard work. 

however, every year shar would mention my small hands. in front of a room full of friends, fellow pianists and their entire families, she would hold up my hands to show them. "look at these hands! they're so small and yet she can still reach an octave. look at them! it's amazing!"

as if being in the spotlight wasn't already enough, now i had people checking out my small hands. it was horrifying. 

so one day, before the upcoming recital, i got the guts up to tell shar how all of the small hand talk embarrassed me. to her credit, she really just thought she was giving a compliment and had no idea it embarrassed me so much. she apologized and promised to never mention my hands in public again. 

the day of the recital came. i performed my piece and then she called me to the stage with her. i was relieved - knowing we had already had our chat - that she wouldn't mention my hands. she spent a few minutes listing out my annual accolades and as she finished up, i prepared to take my seat in the audience. 

that's when it happened. 

"maren and i had a little chat and i promised her i wouldn't say anything about her small hands being able to reach an octave..."

yup. so now everyone not only knew about my apparently small hands {i really didn't think they were un-proportional}, but now they knew it made me uncomfortable. double whammy. 

if it weren't for the homemade pecan rolls she gifted us with each year, i might have quit right then and there. 

to this day, i still think about shar nearly every time i stretch my thumb and pinky finger eight notes apart. it's a little easier to do now - the junior high growth spurt helped a bit with that.

and since the only picture of me at a recital is from last year, here are the photo highlights from 1991:
 {kinnersley family - december 1991, please take note that dan looks relatively normal. it was a first. also please note my ginormous shoulder pads.}
 {easter, with our matchy dresses again}
 {summer 1991 - loving my shirt - can't hide that heartland pride, please also note the expertly curled bangs. half up, half down. preparing for some serious volcano action.}
{with grandma kinnersley in st. george, yes i'm wearing stirrups and yes, my siblings are all wearing mom jeans with braided belts.}


Cristi said...

I LOVE this! Especially love what your grandma is wearing! I would love to wear that now!

Unknown said...

So I really should be commenting on these posts more as you rag on me in just about every one of them- I think people might be getting the wrong idea about me... Anyway I think I need to add that in that last picture it was not only crappy jeans and a braided belt but a pretty sweet hyper color shirt (nothing like seeing how sweaty your pits were by having the shirt change color)

lmackay32 said...

Oh Maren, I remember this like it was yesterday. Joe was quite the little Cassanova! He got down on one knee in 9th grade Spanish class and asked me "will you be my novia?" Haha!