Friday, December 2, 2011

The Organ Tuner Man

After courageously leaving their homeland in Holland, Sweden to begin a new life in America, the Carlson's claimed Keokuk, Iowa to be their destination. Charles and his beloved wife Josephine, along with their four children, Severin, Clara, Carl Adolf, and 9 month old daughter Amanda, moved into a lovely two story white frame home on Ridge Street.
Their only remnants and treasures from Sweden were neatly folded or carefully wrapped, such as dishes and glassware, in the little wooden trunk that accompanied them from their homeland. It appeared even smaller when they opened it in their newly aquired home. However, it didn't take Josephine long to tastefully decorate their home until it was very warm and comfortable and inviting to the many visitors they made welcome.
No need for wallpaper. Josephine was quite an artist and painted beautiful murals on the walls in every room. Both Charles and Josephine were gifted with many talents and music was another. An organ graced one wall in the parlor room and Charles' beloved wooden clarinet was hung by a leather shoelace on the wall nearby.
Another one of Josephine's attributes was baking. Oh how she loved to bake. The aroma of freshly baked bread, and cakes, and pies, and meats, wafted through the house and out through the open windows into the neighborhood. No wonder the many who came to her door to visit and have a cup of coffee, upon leaving would be given a loaf of Swedish rye bread or whatever was being offered from the cupboard on that particular day. The Pastor was no exception. He visited quite often and was always given the best chair in the parlor. A little glass of homemade wine and a little cake was his usual treat. Yes, it was told down through the generations that he was, in fact, a very faithful visitor. And in turn, Charles and Josephine and family were very faithful to their church.
They loved their home and the friendliness of the townspeople, and their church. In the year 1891, another son, Frank Amil, was born to Charles and Josephine. Severin was now 16, Clara was 11, and Carl Adolf was 7, and little Amanda would be 3 in August. Charles was very proud of his family and ever thankful to the Almighty for their countless blessings.
As the children grew, so did their inherited talents. The two girls learned to cook and bake and sew and the boys were musical and artistic that even sifted down through the generations. In the evenings the children would gather around their mother, Josephine, at the organ and Charles playing his clarinet and sing hymns and songs from a well worn Swedish Song Book. It was getting more noticeable that the organ was playing off key and needed servicing. So a service man was called and came to their door one fine day to tune the organ.
Josephine was in the kitchen baking so she called for Clara to let the man in and show him to the parlor. He came in with his satchel containing his repair supplies and pulled the organ away from the wall so he could work on the back. Little Amanda was curious of this new visitor and watched him from the doorway. As the organ tuner worked, he kept looking up at Amanda. This went on for some time. Finally, she went out to tell her mother, "Mother, that man keeps watching me". Josephine kept on kneading the dough and then suddenly stopped and looked up at the wall in front of her knowing the reason for his strange behavior. She quickly grabbed a towel and wiped the flour from her hands and hurried to the parlor and to the organ. She knelt down and smiled at the repairman but in so doing, she carefully retrieved a large jar of coins she kept hidden in a nook in the back of the organ near the floor. She gave the organ tuner man one last quick smile and carried the jar to the kitchen.
After a good long while, Josephine heard him playing the organ that proved to be on perfect pitch, so the mission was successfully accomplished. She paid him for his good service but he left with a scowl.
The jar of coins would have fit nicely in his satchel, but we'll never know if he would have stolen it or not.
For many a year Josephine played songs and the children sang but never again did they need
The Organ Tuner Man

By Ruth E. Heston (Amanda’s Daughter)

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