The intention in creating this book was to make it a pleasurable, as well as an educational, viewing experience. But in the collecting of the many pictures, stories and in the production of the work itself, something quite unexpected happened.
As you read through the stories and see the various pictures of accordions, a composite mental picture may begin to immerge for you. It is the simple image of an accordionist offering their personal gift of music to the listener(s). This representative picture of how accordion players connected and created lasting relationships with other people is a hallmark of the accordion experience. They offered people their friendship in the form of a musically created greeting card, if you will, one that was personally built and delivered by the player.
As a grandparent these days, I am especially touched when my two beautiful grandsons create or build something themselves and offer it as a gift to me. They make that gift just for me and no one else, and so it becomes very special. As it turns out, that is how many accordion players from the past, and even today, create and deliver their musical gifts to people. It has the effect of bringing folks together and helping relationships grow deeper and stronger. In a sense, it can have the effect of building a bridge between people that, under ordinary circumstances, may have never occurred. It offers a starting point from which a mutually reciprocal relationship can develop and grow.
As of this writing, this is something our society seems to need in great quantities these days. Our country is deeply divided on many social and governing issues. But then again this is not something so new. This was the case often enough in the last 200 plus years of our American history, which coincidentally is at least how long the accordion has been around. I truly believe that during this period, the accordion helped many people come together through the tough times in their lives. Its musical message brought a sense of healing, happiness and unity. I also believe it can continue to do so as we move deeper into the 21st century. I hope we will let it continue to deliver its magic.
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About the Author
It was in 2008 when Paul suddenly (and inexplicably) had the urge to start playing the accordion again. He had taken lessons and played in an accordion band from when he was 10 years old to age 17, but had not touched the accordion since those early days. Once the urge to play re-entered his life, he started hunting for old and collectible accordions. He contacted Jack and Kathy White of the then Cleveland Accordion Museum and purchased a portion of their collection and continued to find more units at tag sales and other locations. He established "The New England Accordion Museum" and opened its doors to the public in late 2011. It is currently attached to his home in Canaan, Connecticut.
His passion now is to not only play the accordion, but to collect and save the accordions and memorabilia he finds in peoples' homes, offices and other locations. The accordion is an integral part of Americana and our Country's heritage. As such, it has a legacy which we need to preserve and move forward into the 21st century. He has recorded many of the stories people have told him that are related to the accordion and the person(s) that play it. The museum has a mobile component, referred to as "NEAM Mobile," which consists of a dozen or so antique accordions which he brings with him when he plays for small groups of people. As he entertains people of all ages, he discusses the history and stories attached to these accordions.
Address: Angelo Paul Ramunni
17 Margaret Lane
P O Box 943,
Canaan, Connecticut 06018
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Forward xiii Introduction xvii The Accordion…A Very Brief History xxi The Stories 1 1. A Personal Accordion Story 3 2. The Flutina 7 3. A Very Dangerous Button Box 11 4. A Wartime Story in the Pacific 13 5. Russian Memories 17 6. Doorway Dad 19 7. I Just Couldn’t Say No 23 8. Imagine—an accordion, of all things, saving someone’s life 25 9. A Brave Accordionist 29 10. An Extraordinary Member of General Patton’s 10th Armored Division 31 11. Another General Patton Story—What are the Odds? 35 12. I said ‘Yes’ on the Dance Floor 39 13. Gee, I Never Knew That! 41 An Accordion Gallery 43 Accordion Stories continued… 61 14. Another Special Hohner Accordion Story 63 15. Learning how to play a Galizi Accordion in a Coal Shed? 67
• xii •
16. Uncle Vinnie!! 71 17. Poor Ol’ Grandpa 73 18. The Accordion at Its Best 77 19. Whose Accordion is This? 81 20. A Very Special Giulietti Accordion 85 21. Memories from Very Long Ago 87 22. A Brave Young Accordion Player 91 23. What You Can Accomplish If You Really Put Your Mind to It 95 24. Stanley’s Story 99 25. A Case of Mistaken Love at First Sight 103 26. My Husband’s Voice 107 27. Grandma’s Knees—Accordion Trauma! 111 28. A Man from Poland 115 29. Peppino! 117 30. A Funeral to Remember 121 31. The Great Tannini 123 32. Interesting Similarities between the Accordion and the People Who Play Them 127 33 A Few Short Accordion Stories 131 One last story… About a Good Friend and a Very Special Accordion Player 135