Question of the Week for April 19: Karen’s memory of the old pump organ

Earlier this month, my brother Paul spent some time talking with our cousin Karen Snyder Smith. She asked Paul whether he remembered the old pump organ with pedals. Because Paul was not born until seven years after Jess died, he has no memory of the old home place on Hwy 23. Most of Paul’s memories are associated with the house in Mansfield where Millie was living in when she died.  Although I have memories of Millie’s house on the hill above Mansfield, like Paul, I don’t have any memories of the house in Ione even though there are photographs of me being held by Jess and Millie at that location.  As a result, there is not a whole lot of overlap between the memories of Karen and Susan and my own recollections. This is a great example of the kind of question that one “generation” of Cartwright cousins can ask that wouldn’t occur to a younger generation of the family.

All of which led me to wonder, I wonder who (if anyone) in the family played the organ?  If I understand correctly, Karen associated the organ with Jess, but that may or may not have anything to do with music. I suppose it is possible that this was simply a remarkable piece of furniture in the room where they all gathered. I think I may have seen a photograph of a family gathering at some point that had an organ in the background, but I am not even sure where I saw it. If I were talking with Karen at the moment, I think I would ask whether she knows if anyone in the family kept the organ?

Or was this one of the “antiques” from Western Arkansas that Uncle Alvin Hamilton hauled to California in the 1970s to sell to people who may have been born in Arkansas and Oklahoma but who may have been nostalgic for the furnishings they associated with their family’s past.

Because most of these old organs that I have ever seen have been in rural churches, I tend to associate such instruments with church music.  However, that need not have been the case. Even so, I wonder where Jess and Millie got the pump organ (perhaps from someone in their respective families) and what it may have meant to them to have it during the five plus years that they lived at the Old Home Place on Hwy 23.

Finally, as I pondered Paul’s conversation with Karen, it also occurred to me to wonder. . ..what kind of music did Jess and Millie enjoy?  Does anyone know whether either of them had a favorite (secular) song and/or a favorite hymn? I suppose that Aunt Dorothy and Aunt Betty would be the best sources to address such questions, but others may also have memories about music and the Cartwright family.

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About mcartwright1957

I am a member of the senior administrative team at the University of Indianapolis where I have served since 1996. I am married to Mary Wilder Cartwright. We are the parents of four children: Hannah, Erin, James, and Bethany. I currently live in Nashville, IN.
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2 Responses to Question of the Week for April 19: Karen’s memory of the old pump organ

  1. Dorothy Snyder says:

    While I don’t know where the organ came from, I do remember Daddy played it. Betty will know more about this as she was at home during that time. Daddy taught himself (?) so he could lead music at the country church where he was pastor. No Music Directors at that time. The organ was sold with other household furniture following Daddy’s funeral when Mama went California with Alvin and Virginia. Betty, correct me if my memory is incorrect.


  2. Thanks, Aunt Dorothy, for offering this additional insight. I admire Jess’s ability to teach himself. That could not have been easy to do. Once upon a time, I knew how to read music. But I have long since forgotten what I knew.


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