Memory For Sale: Silver Saxophone

Beuscher Silver Saxophone

Some time ago, Daily Prompt asked us to imagine finding one of our childhood memories for sale in a thrift shop. I immediately thought of my mother; she lived that scenario 29 years ago. What follows is her account:

    I grew up in Rochester, New York. In 1955, I entered the fifth grade and started taking music lessons at school; my instrument was the saxophone. My mom and dad rented and then bought a second hand instrument for me. I hoped for a shiny gold sax, but received a silver one instead. No amount of cleaning, polishing, and repairing could change it in my eyes.  Nevertheless, I was happy to play. I took lessons and joined the school band. This gave me many great experiences: the school band gave concerts, joined other schools for county festivals, traveled to Canada twice and to Long Island once for exchange concerts, and my mom, sisters and I played together at church (our ensemble consisted of cello, flute, clarinet, sax, and piano).

      After high school, my sax traveled with me to Baptist Bible Seminary (located in Johnson City, NY at the time). Then I returned to Rochester for nursing school and occasionally played at church again. However, in 1966 I was planning to be married and thought I probably would play it very little.  Since I could use some extra cash, I sold it to a young student.

       I married my husband Glenn and moved 250 miles to Honesdale, Pennsylvania. Years passed and we started raising our family, enrolling them at Damascus Christian Academy in Damascus, PA. In 1984, Mrs. Barbara Teeple, the school music teacher, planned a parent-student band for the Spring Concert. I wanted to participate but had no saxophone. I borrowed one from a local cousin of Glenn’s, but it was extremely inconvenient to boil the mouthpiece each time. I went down to Adrien’s Music Store and asked about rentals. Yes, they could rent me one . . . “We have a silver Beuscher (brand) up on the top shelf.” I was again disappointed at the word “silver,” but I also remembered that my previous instrument had been a Beuscher. When the clerk took it down, the case looked familiar. Then he opened the case and I saw the same purple velvet lining and tarnished silver saxophone I remembered from my school years. Of course I rented the instrument, but the similarity was too much of a coincidence. I wrote my dad and asked if he still had the serial number for my sax (he kept those things for insurance purposes and rarely threw anything away). He wrote back and sent the old number. It matched! Obviously I could not let this sax go again. The music store applied our rent to the cost of the instrument and Glenn paid the balance to buy it back 19 years after I had sold it.

        I still enjoy playing at church on Sunday evenings and occasionally in an ensemble for special music. Maybe one day I will have it cleaned again and try to make it shiny silver. It never will be shiny gold, but it is MINE.


4 thoughts on “Memory For Sale: Silver Saxophone

  1. That is a great story. Barbara Teeple is my cousin. My husband had a similar story. When he was 13 he bought a Lionel train. When he left for Bob Jonea University after graduating from high school he sold it to a family in his church for $50. After three years of college we married and returned to college for his senior year. We located in New Jersey and in 1961 had a daughter. In 1963 our first son was born. The family who bought his trains read we had a son and called my mother to see if we would like the train set back. They gave it back to us. My husband is75 and still has his trains that run around our tree every Christmas. Lillian Horn


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