It was her meditation and her soul’s calling card. She never had the opportunity for formal piano lessons but maybe my grandparents realized she never needed them, because by the age of 3, my mother sat at the piano and played any song she heard. It must have been something she carried over… a gift… but also, her passion and she had her own distinct style playing the high notes, the high keys… elevating every song into a melodic rhapsody with flair and her own style of refinement.

I remember her coming home from her work as a secretary when we lived in Mountain Terrace in Kingston. Before she ate dinner, or took off her high heel stilettos, she sat at the piano and played… working off whatever stress or frustration had bothered her during the day. 10 minutes at the piano was enough to make it all evaporate away.

Mummy, play Moonriver, I used to say.

Play the Out of Africa theme song…

play Send in the Clowns

play Play Misty for Me

play For All We Know

play Feelings

play A Time for Us

All she needed was to hear a song: on the radio, from a movie, someone singing it, and she sat at the piano and played it. She had her own crazy notes she made sometimes. Her own undecipherable-to-anyone-else musical score to remember certain keys.

She was a born entertainer. Party girl, 10th of 12 children, beloved friend and sister, passionate traveler eager to go wherever her airline job allowed and beckoned.

Thankfully her music lives on because of my smart, blues piano playing step-brother Glen who had her recorded before she left us 25 years ago. She would be so thrilled to know that my late father-in-law, who she never got to meet, fell instantly in love with her music and played it constantly for years at his hill-top home in St. Thomas.

Perhaps somewhere in the mystery she lives on in a different plane but I am glad we still get to enjoy her music on this plane. Because she was, like one of the songs I used to beg her to play . . . Unforgettable. © Kathy Stanley

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