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Teeny’s Song

One Christmas memory which stays with me, was a visit to my Szabo cousin’s house on Markison Ave. My cousin Christine, Teeny) was less than two months older than I was. We occupied the same playpen for a while - I’ve seen the pictures. In later years we were always doing things together like cookouts, going to the pool, we had memberships at Scioto Trail on South High St. or putting on little skits on the backyard porch at Markison. Teeny’s parents had an upright piano in the living room and she took lessons from a teacher. She always seemed to have good grades in school compared to mine and to my thinking was very accomplished on the piano.

I cannot remember the year but this one Christmas at their house my aunt Christine with great pride, asked my cousin to play her song. I heard it with my own ears, “...why don’t you play YOUR song”, that is what I heard them say. So, Teeny, took her place on the bench in front of the upright with sheet music before her and began to play. I was so envious that I was beside myself as her fingers found the keys to Silver Bells. My cousin, only two months older than me and still taking music lessons, was writing music for the holidays that was being played on radio. She was doing what I wanted to do – write music!

I couldn’t believe my ears. I kept my feelings to myself but I felt a mark had been set and I was now in competition mode. Every time I heard Silver Bells on the radio I thought she was making a tidy sum from royalties. Teeny had hit the big time and I was left behind. To me, “...your song…” meant HER composition, arrangement, words and music. I felt so far behind and I had to catch up. A child’s interpretation of the world is so literal and void of any context. But believe me I was impressed for what seemed like the longest time.

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