What's It Wednesday #47
Growing up, music has always been an important part of our daily lives, which includes listening to a variety of genres of music from Classical to Calypso. It was also very important that we played musical instruments. I played the piano and the alto and bass clarinets. Playing an instrument goes back generations. Just the other day, my mother surprises me with a musical gift.
Every once in while my mother will pull out an item I had no idea was in the family. So she hands me this very small blue box that she said was given to her by her grandmother, my great-grandmother, when she was a little girl. She went on to explain that she played with it for hours. I was instantly intrigued.
During Abraham Lincoln's presidency, he wrote a letter to the head of the German company Hohner Harmonica that stated, "Two of my favorite things are sitting on my front porch smoking a pipe and playing my Hohner harmonica." Mom said she loved playing this little harmonica on her front porch.
The Hohner Musikinstrumente Company specialized in manufacturing a variety of musical instruments. This company was founded by Mathias Hohner in 1857 and he was instrumental (pun intended) in the invention and production of harmonicas and accordions.
On one side of the harmonica it says "Little Lady" and the other side says "Hohner". The harmonica that my mother played is the "Hohner No. 39", Little Lady Harmonica. This was the first known mass-produced harmonica and began being produced in 1924. On December 16th of 1965, American astronaut Wally Schirra smuggled one of these little ladies into space to play on Christmas day.
The little blue case is just over 2 1/2 inches long and 1/2 wide. The harmonica is about 1 1/2 inches long, a 1/2 inch wide, and 1/4 inch deep. In fact this Little Lady is so little and cute she is smaller than my five year old son's thumb. Thanks Mom for my musical gift!
Who are the musicians in your family?