But love conquers all, and Dad went to work every day at Adolph Coors Company, and Mom stayed home and spackeled, sanded, and painted. Dad would come home after work, Mom had dinner waiting and then he would work until 9 or 10 at night. Mom would work the next day to get her part finished. And so it went until two bedrooms were completed.
I've been asked to recount the 'Death March to the Piano Teacher' and the 'Death March to the Dentist'.
I'm not sure that the Piano Teacher actually was that much of a 'Death March' person. There may be some things that my brother remembers that I have forgotten. She was quite a large lady, and diabetic I think, but grew up at a time when nicknames were common, and sometimes cruel, and often opposite. Thus we took piano lessons from 'Tiny' T. She was really a pretty nice lady, and I'm sure that if I would have contained even a single bone of musical ability that we would have gotten along famously. But I didn't, and we didn't. We actually did pretty well as long as I didn't have to move my hands, and all the notes were labeled with numbers so I knew which finger to use. After that things went down hill. The notes just looked like a bunch of flies on the music, and it meant nothing to me. Frustrated with this situation, I stopped practicing, or would only play things that I knew, or scales or arpeggios which I liked. Our piano was in my sister's room in the back of the house, and I remember on at least one occasion opening the screen and slipping out the window. Sometime after this I went to a lesson, and Tiny told me to ride my bike home and find my mom and tell her that she would be along soon. She pretty much followed me home and told Mom that she was wasting her money and Tiny's time by having take piano. I don't remember how much longer my brother and sister took lessons - it seems like a year or two. Dad said that the child who went the farthest in they music would get the piano, and it is in my sister's house now.
The Dentist's Death March
Now, this is a more appropriate 'Death March' subject. Our dentist, Dr. G. lived down the street about a half mile. I'm sure he was a very upright and virtuous man, and would probably be appalled at the terror that he engendered in the kids in our family. While I'm sure he was a good man, he was, to us, very strange. Mom and Dad had a garden, but he was an organic gardener before it was fashionable. He used the French method of double digging and replacing the bottom level of dirt with manure and peat moss. His gardens were amazing, and even as a kid I could tell that he had a great gift. I just wish he would have pursued it instead of dentistry.
His office was kind of old fashioned, even then. And he didn't like to use too much extra Novocaine, so every visit was pretty memorable. He also was ahead of his time in the conspiracy department, being an early member of the John Birch Society. His missionary zeal for the 'Birch Society' fully equaled his gardening ability. But we were just kids, and he would get some Novocaine in us (not too much!), get our mouth's pried open as then ask us about what we thought of Lyndon Johnson, the Democrats, Bobbie Baker (scandal in the Johnson administration)....and on and on and on. All the while drilling a little harder if we didn't answer right away, or the right answer. Or so it seemed.
He had a little high speed drill that he liked to use for the rough work, but for some reason he always had to get out the belt driven drill to finish up before putting the filling in place. There was something about that drill - when he used it there was a low frequency rumble that just about shook your other teeth out. I hated it more than everything else put together.
But he fixed our teeth, fairly well for that day and time, and in fairness to Dr. G, much later a different dentist told me to remind him that I have an extra nerve that has to have it's own shot of Novocaine, so maybe the pain wasn't something deliberate.