This one is one of my favorites. Here it is, lightly edited but mostly how she wrote it for us in 2009. I know there’s a photo somewhere… if I find it, I’ll add it!
I don’t know if it was by design or by default, but we ended up making all kinds of music in our family. Almost everybody played more than one instrument. Daddy played the fiddle and he once played the piano, but in an accident, he smashed his fingers and he couldn’t get his fingers between the white keys and consequently played only on the black keys, which severely limited him. He could use the white keys to demonstrate to us something he wanted to hear, but he couldn’t really play a piece on them. Grandma played the piano. Aunt Ellie played the piano and organ, the acoustic guitar, and the trombone. Aunt Doll played the cornet and the accordion. Uncle John played the banjo. Uncle George played the double B-flat bass and the bass (“bull”) fiddle. I played the oboe and ukulele, and a little piano.
Before my time, Daddy and Mother played at square dances to make a little extra money, and years later, when I was about 11 years old, “Pop Losch and his Family”, as we were known, played for square dances. We also had a live radio program on a station in Lewistown. [The show] folded when Uncle George went into the military.
The radio station was WKVA and it was located directly across the street from the jail [in Lewistown]. We had some loyal listeners among the incarcerated, and occasionally they would make a request. We would then dedicate a song to, as we called them, “the boys across the way”. Would hardly have been seemly to dedicate something to the cons across the street.
Lynn Bloom, who worked [at the radio station], had a lot of trouble pronouncing our name. One time on the air, he called us “Pope Losh (long O) and his family.” Another was Miles Pheasant, who became my accompanist when I competed in those abominable beauty contests. [More on those in another post.]
Someone else who worked there was Fran Fisher, a long-time announcer of [Penn State football] games. He [had since] retired and is often feted for his many years of service to PSU and to the athletic department. He made some interesting comments about George Paterno and his broadcasting ability.
There is another one you might know, too: Joe Campanella. He went on to do a lot of TV. He made appearances on some of the older shows, a few of which you will remember. He was on “Mannix,” “The Golden Girls,” “Mama’s Family,” and played the ex-husband of Bonnie Franklin on “One Day at a Time.” He also had a fairly long run on “Days of Our Lives.”
So there you have it. A brush with the near great.
Mother and Daddy also participated in musical events in Millerstown. Mrs. Botdorf and Barner Swartz put on a cantata, and Mother sang in that, and Daddy participated in Minstrel shows.
We used to enter talent shows. One time, Aunt Doll and Uncle George and I entered and won a talent show when we sang in three-part harmony “Girl of My Dreams.” I was about 6 years old at the time. We (individually) were always called on to provide vocal music for various events in the community. I usually ended up singing “The Holy City” at the Community Easter Sunrise services. I also used to sing at various classes’ Baccalaureates and other graduation events.
Aunt Doll and I both went to District chorus, and I went to two State chorus events and one regional chorus. We (Uncle George and I) also went to our share of district band [festivals].