One of those, was teaching me to walk. They had to be creative in their thinking on this; since I was unable to see how this was done. It was a team effort. My Dad would get down on the floor & move my feet so that I could get the concept. My Mother would hang on to my wrists so that I wouldn't fall.
Another area that would be a challenge, was learning how to feed myself. I would get the spoon almost up to my mouth, & it would flip. I was not a happy camper. Not seeing the food in front of me, I let my parents know of my displeasure. I guess I had a good set of lungs.
Without question, the greatest accomplishment came when I learned to play the piano. I started playing piano when I was 4 years old. I recall as a small boy how fascinated I was with anything that made sounds or vibrated. My parents had an old piano at home which I spent hours at. That seemed to provide me with much in way of happiness at the time. One night, my parents had company. I was playing piano; totally unaware of what was going on. As I heard it later, the man said to my Mother, "Do you realize that your son is playing chords?" I'm sure that was quite a shock for my parents.
There was a lady in Britt, who taught piano lessons. My Mother spoke with her about giving me some lessons, & she took on the challenge. At first, she would put a piece of tape on where middle C would be. In very short order, that became a thing of the past; because I knew where it was, simply by hearing it.
This piano teacher & I came to have a special relationship. She didn't have family in Britt, so we more or less adopted each other. She was "Sister," & I was "Brother;" which was how we addressed each other. Besides giving piano lessons, she was organist at the United Methodist Church in Britt.
One final thought on this. If you're wondering if I remember the first songs I ever learned, I would say, most definitely. How about, "Brahms Lullaby," or "This Old House!" Quite remarkable for a 4 year old!
Submitted by Gary Gjerstad
In next week's blog post Gary will continue his story and share the decisions his parents made in where he would attend school. Check back next week as the story continues!!