- Posted March 7, 2009 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Pawning off your prized possessions
Selling My Everything
The violin has been a part of my family history for more than 80 years. My father, a Hungarian immigrant, began playing at age five, and started teaching me to play when I was just five. Strangely enough, I owe my life and the lives of my children to the instrument.
At the end of WWII, while my father was a music student at the Liszt Conservatory in Budapest, he was drafted into the Hungarian Army. He was promptly captured and sent to Siberia. After more than three years of hell he came to the United States to join the rest of his family who had come here.
How do I owe my life you ask? If it had not been for the fact that my father was a violinist he would not have survived the camp. Once a week, he was asked to come to the camp commander's home to teach his daughter to play violin. During this time he was offered a decent meal. He was still skin and bone when he was finally released, but at least he made it out. Many who entered never came home. Many died in mines, some by malnutrition, or disease. I do quite literally owe my life to the instrument, and a loving God who protected my dad during those years.
Since the last year I have had the unhappy task of selling off my instruments to supplement our family income. Times are tough everywhere, and many have similar stories. As a teacher and violinist with a rather modest income, it became crucial to give extra support to my family, paying rising fuel and property tax costs, more insurance costs, and medical bills. My father recently passed away and I had to sell the violins he left for me as well. I know he would be deeply saddened, but would understand completely. Even with the blessing of being able to sell these instruments to pay for rising costs, it could take several years to catch up with bills .
The monetary value of these violins in not important as a loss. The cherished memories of them made it very difficult however. Some of the instruments have been in our family for many decades or longer and can never be replaced. One violin was played on by my father, a symphony musician for decades. I remember him giving me lessons with it when I was five. My friend recently sold his Sax (given to him by his father) to make ends meet. It isn't right or fair, but as so many posters have indicated, life isn't fair. What you do with life after it hands you some lemons is what is important.
With all this has come new found hope as well. After all the negative comments about how it would be impossible to pull out of this mess by dealing in violins I heartily disagree and the last laugh is ours. We have indeed prevailed and are no longer as desperate as we were at the start of the recession. Despite having had several challenges and a despite the fact that I suffered a stroke since this article first appeared we have as a family overcome. We did not lose our home as so many readers had gloomily forecast from the safety of their computer terminals. In fact we continue to improve and are doing better than we have in years.