Letting Go Of A Bit Of My Past


I’m not terribly sentimental. I know many who outdo me in that arena, but I’m not all non-emotional business either. When my mom passed away I got pretty much everything. That’s good and bad. Of course I went by our family tradition to give back gifts to those who wanted them back (as a reminder) but I had a month to pack up a household and move it to another country. The good thing is that we were broke newlyweds who didn’t have much. The bad thing was that it wasn’t our choice to decorate that way.

It turned out as the husband loved antiques and it worked out but every 6 months or so I would try to do a purge of items. My mom had a Christmas problem, so that was the easiest and hardest to get rid of. Kept a few things I loved and then donated. It took years to get to a point where I’m comfortable with what I own sentimentally, even if it is still a bit too much physically at times (especially in the rental).

For years I’ve been lugging around 3 instruments with all of my other crap. I had more, but there were easy ones to purge that I didn’t even think twice about. The last 3 were saxophones. Some people reading don’t know but I went to university for classical performance. Saxophone major.  The point the husband makes all the time is that we’ve been married almost 14 years and he has never heard me play. Ever. I stopped a few years before he knew me when I changed majors after my 2nd year.

So why am I lugging around 3 instruments I haven’t touched in 16 years? Stupid? Yes. Sentimental? Yes. When I think about it there is rhyme to my reason. The student alto was my first. It had been with me through thick, thin, and tumbles. I played the crap out of that little Yamaha beast when I switched off from baritone. Dropped it playing in a portuguese marching band maybe inebriated (I so wasn’t walking miles with a freaking bari sax, thanks) and in so many venues. It was my first, but I can let it go now. It should go to another student. The cheap asian soprano was something I really wanted in my final year of high school. It again isn’t a stellar model and I never found my sound on it. It was okay but the whole Kenny G thing…. yeah. You get it. This one will be donated too.

So that leaves me with my Selmer. And that is just not going anywhere. My grandfather wouldn’t pay for my education because he felt that girls shouldn’t need a secondary education. However, I weaseled this baby out of him as a concession. It’s got a freaking blue “S” on it, and he got it for a steal for me from one of my instructors. My pride, my joy, the super action 80 helped me in my entrance auditions (got 3 out of 3 invitations to join the university programs) and so much more. I played educationally and professionally on this one. Got my tone, MY tone down to a perfect signature. This one is too emotionally invested in my life. My past life, I get that, but it was a pretty happy time for the most part. One day maybe I’ll be able to part with my past, but right now I can lug around 1 instrument instead of 3. It isn’t an elite grade instrument but it helped me find my signature. My sound could possibly be more clear or even more vibrant on a better model but that wasn’t or isn’t me. And since I can’t see myself getting the itch to go back there, it will just have to do!

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About The Author


I'm Shannon and I love to bake, hike, play video games and have fun. I currently live in the Bay Area with my husband and cat.


  1. I hope you keep this last instrument, the Selmer, forever. It represents an important part of who you were/are and will in time take an even more important place in your life. Even if you only occasionionally pick it up, hold it, admire it – it really belongs with you. And, maybe sometime you’ll be inspired to play it for Ben. That would be so very special for you both. I have a similar story about me and the old second hand Heintzman Upright that I started piano lessons on at age five. That was back in 1946. Piano and music have been in my core since then and without going into the long story – I find myself now at age 71, able to lose myself into a sweet joyful place sitting at my keyboard, loosing all sense of time simply playing and remembering and being impromptu and creative. And, my husband finally gets to see me totally relaxed at something I love and have rediscoveredand, and he understands me even better than ever before.

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