Saturday, December 10, 2011

It's Just A Thing....Or Is It? Thinking Twice About What You Sell

For a long time now, we have been in a holding pattern. I watch my daughter during the day and work when I get it.  My husband goes to college and is finishing...finally.... his PHD. We aren't living on the streets or anything. Our apartment is nice. We have clothes that get a little tattered but we can find ways to replace them when they become truly embarrassing. Some times are better than others. You can usually tell by how much we splurge on eating out. Once in a while we have enough to buy something cool, usually so that we can sell it when things aren't so good. And that's okay normally but there are two things that I regret selling. And one is my ukulele.

There is a musician named Melvern Taylor. He plays the ukulele like a champ. He makes it retro cool. He lives in Lowell and wears a porkpie hat with neat facial hair. My ex-boyfriend who used to be in charge of the music department of a huge advertising agency in NYC said that he knew who he was. Mel is that type of musician. The kind a lot of specific people know from all over because ukulele afficianados are a special breed. He was the first musician that I ever liked and sought out when we moved to Boston. And he made me want to play the uke too.

My husband has always been very kind when it comes to humoring my quirky wants. We went to Guitar Center and there was a beautiful Mitchell on sale for a little under two hundred dollars. It was fierce and fit my small hands and most of them had nylon strings that didn't look as painful as guitar strings. I took it home and compared it to the Hawaiian novelty ones that we had sent from my mother in law in Honolulu. It was obviously a better instrument (although the pink one looked wicked cool). Not as good as Mel's but it had mother of pearl inlay and felt right in my hands. I would sit at my dad's old desk after I downloaded chords, trying to play songs. Or I would try to study the lessons from my Ukulele instruction manual.  Mel even gave me a names of recommended teachers.

But the money started running out again and there were so many other things that we needed besides my ukulele lessons. Eventually we fell into the inevitable pinch when I had to sell things again. My husband's guitar was sacred to me. We purchased it right before my daughter was born so that she would always be surrounded with people playing music. My husband had a beautiful voice and would sing to her. Later, we got an electric piano cheap. I held on to that second because I had dreams of our daughter learning to play and I loved banging away at it badly. We could always get another ukulele. So it went to a nice man on Craigslist who bought it for his son. I was glad that it went to an appreciative home.

We got a crappier one that my daughter drags around trying to teach herself now. She has potential. I regret never letting her play with my beautiful good one.

Some day I will get another one and I will get to keep it. Some day I will be able to buy one without thinking of it as not something to sell in a pinch but value it for what it is. A time when poverty doesn't rule our decisions and let us keep the things that we regret selling later. Not that the holding pattern has been so bad with occasional family trips and nice meals spun from creative spending.  Some of those memories will be the best days of my life. And we had our good days when I was just selling stuff to get it out of the house. But, let's say, consistently better days on the other side of education and sporadic incomes. With ukuleles.

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