Old Stuff

I came home to Atlanta for Thanksgiving and was going through some of my great-Grandpa’s old songs and pictures. While looking through things, I found a letter from my Grandma to me:

“Your mom thought you would like to have this photo, so I had this made for you. It was taken after WWI, maybe between 1918 and 1920; so your great Grandfather was between 18 & 20 years old. I included some old business cards and some facts that might interest you – things I don’t think anyone else knows. He was very talented musically, could play just about any instrument. Keep on making beautiful music. ~Grandma”

Old Stuff - Andrew Varson's Great GrandfatherI read this and kept flipping through papers and found the picture that she was talking about. Attached to it was another old note:

“There were 5 musicians in my dad’s jazz band: drums, sax, violin, banjo, and piano. If all played for the night, it was $30. If just my father played the piano or organ, he got between $5 & $7. That was a lot of money in those years. His best friend was George, the drummer, (they both wore their hair in ‘Pompadours’ THE STYLE at the time) and would spend lots of time together walking home from shows in NYC. Grandpa also played the cornet and trumpet in the National Guard at 17 years old, then left to join the Marines. ~Grandma”

That’s him there on the keys in the photo. They played all their shows in the city, and for a long time this was how they made a living.

It’s always interesting to find out exactly what your relatives have done in the past, but it’s really interesting to find an old 45 from the thirties with one of your great-Grandpa’s demo songs. Keep an eye out for that story next time. Hope everyone has happy holidays, and keep listening to good tunes.


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