Lois and her Accordion

1966. At cousin Doris and Dick’s place in the country. Everybody played instruments and sang. That’s Lois on the accordion and me clowning in the front.

My mom Lois got her first accordion when she was about 12. She was a  depression-era farm girl and such a big purchase was an extravagance.

Her dad made a deal with her that he would match any money she made picking and selling blackberries . After plenty of scrapes from the berry bushes she finally had saved enough to buy her first accordion.

She was self-taught on the piano and while the mechanics were basically the same, she was now slinging a big, huffing, and puffing machine pushing out the sounds.

Fast forward to 1967 and the divorce was in motion. Lois finally felt comfortable spending time with the fun side of her family.

The main stage was at Cousin Doris and Dick’s house in the country. Every weekend the various players, friends, and their sprawling families gathered in their living room. There was cheap beer and cigarettes. Kids were running all over the place.

Doris was lead vocals, (the voice of a country angel IMHO) guitar, and wrote many of the songs. Dick would be picking wildly on the mandoline. Lois on the accordion and harmonizing, Uncle Dale, recently back from Viet Nam, was on drums.

The music leaned heavily toward country with vocal harmonies. There was yodeling too. As well as the originals, there were some classics in the repertoire. Included were the best of Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynne, Dolly Parton and Porter Wagner, and Johnny Cash. I remember the slightly risque “Harper Valley PTA” too.

Lois did a gut wrenching version of “The Legend of the Green Beret,” an anthem to boost the morale of the soldiers in Viet Nam. … more