I remember my mother told me about the time when her family was cleaning out her own maternal grandmother’s home after she died. They came across a phonograph player that was in the attic. My mother said that her mother didn’t see the importance of keeping such an ornate machine as the phonograph because it wouldn’t be needed anymore. My mother said that they just threw it out with the rest of the unwanted items and pieces of furniture. She said that she wished now they had not thrown it away because that machine would be priceless today in regard to our family history.
The phonograph was probably played quite a bit out on the South Dakota prairie because my grandmother, Teckla Esterberg Swanson, liked to play the piano, especially for church socials and dances. There was no electricity, so kerosene lamps were hung on the walls of the church where couples danced by the light’s amber glow. My mom not only remembered her mother playing uplifting ragtime tunes on their upright piano, but also mom closed her eyes and envisioned her mom’s wavy curls bouncing up and down, in time to the beat. I close my eyes and I can see that vision in my own mind’s eye and I can almost hear the music!