Her name is Rose. I first saw her in the dark stained cabinet at the violin shop in the old part of town. At first I thought she was too fancy a violin for me, and surely too old and worn. After all, I had set out to buy a spankin' new violin with the graduation gift from my grandmother.
However, after I tried a few of the violins in the shop my eyes rested again on her beautiful, golden brown varnished curves. She seemed to be longing to be played. I asked the gentleman if I could try her out.
"These are antiques," he said, as he unlocked the glass door of the cabinet, "A little more expensive, but worth every bit." And so I played her. For a minute. Then five. Then ten. I couldn't compare the rich, rustic sound to any violin I had ever played before.
Long story short, she is now mine. The only history I have is her era: 1850s/60s, American Civil War. As typical for a wartime violin, she has some wear... a few cracks and split seams here and there that have been carefully mended. Someone obviously spent quite a lot of time and care in her making. The sound of the handmade violins verses the machine assembled is amazing and unmatchable.
Her beautifully smooth scroll.... I love the variation in the varnish's tone.
I like to think about who may have played her over 150 years ago. Were they skilled? Were they wealthy, poor? Was it a soldier, a lady, a grandfather, a child? Was it played in a wealthy house along a cobblestone street lined with carriages or perhaps it was treasured in a frontier cabin, or a plantation in the South?
It has lasted the Civil War, WWI, and WWII. Who's hands did it pass through before now?
I think it is what is unknown about this violin that attached me to it. It provides more for the imagination. Who knows who will play it after me. I will probably end up keeping it with my hope chest for teaching my own children someday.
The inlays are mother of pearl, and we are guessing the design was unfinished wood painted silver, which has dulled to a soft grey over time.
I thought Rose suited her well since two of my favorite Civil War tunes to play are "The Rose of Alabama" and "The Yellow Rose of Texas". And I was born in Texas, so all the more. ;)
Just an update -- I've decided to begin a new series of posts on the blog for Mondays and Thursdays. Mondays will be called "Music Mondays" in which I will post anything musical that I have been up to lately, which is usually quite a bit. Thursdays will be "In the Kitchen Thursdays", where I will share my latest baking/cooking adventures. I'm really excited about these new series and (hopefully) they will keep me posting a little more often. :)
God bless you all and have a lovely fall afternoon! Goodness, it's already after 4:00. I really need to start that carrot soup...