The one thing I wanted to do more than anything when I was in 6th grade was to play the guitar. My cousin had donated a 3/4 size Framus guitar a couple of years earlier, and Willy C. and I would get together, he with his ukulele, I with my guitar, and we would "play" and make up songs. Neither one of us knew what we were doing, but we had a good time doing it. We would "rehearse" over at his house because his mother had more patience than mine did, and write these goofy songs that we’d play into his tape recorder. At the end of our sessions, we’d rewind the tape and listen to it.
One day Willy said to me, "Maybe we should learn how to play for real." We decided to ask our parents (in my case, my mom, because my dad had died earlier that year) if we could take guitar lessons. There was a dance studio in the neighborhood who had a guitar teacher on staff, and that September we both started with Stan.
Willy caught on really quickly, because he would practice. I wasn’t quite as good about practicing, and soon my weekly lessons turned into a standoff between Stan and me. I was not enjoying the selection of songs in Mel Bay’s Modern Method For Guitar, songs like "The Volga Boatman," "Swanee River," and the ever-popular "Etude #3." I had learned all the notes from frets 0-5 on all six strings and the chords in the keys of C and G, which got me started playing songs at home, none of which had anything to do with what I should have been practicing.
Finally, he threatened to call my mother and tell her that I wasn’t cooperating with him and practicing what I should be. I talked him out of it, went home and told Mom that I wasn’t getting anything out of lessons and that Stan was a real jerk, and that I wanted to quit. She was fine with it, and that was the end of that.
I continued playing the guitar, and only quit playing for good when I had my stroke and couldn’t hold the pick or control my right hand. I miss it.