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Can Learning About History Influence Musical Expression? The Story of My Communist Cousin and the Tzar

I had a communist cousin, G, my piano teacher, who taught me the piano.  She also taught me about the Tzar of Russia.  He made the peasants work, work, work and they suffered from it.

          G told me about Anastacia, the youngest child of the Tzar and the only good one  in the royal family.  She tried to get her father to be good to the peasants and she brought the peasants food.  When the Tzar and his family were overthrown and killed and buried, Anastacia was saved.  There was a woman in the US who claimed to be Anastacia.  When she died they tested her to see if she was Anastacia.  She was a fraud.

          However, when I was young, I thought that maybe I was Anastacia.  Another person I thought I might be was Lady Godiva.  (Also told to me by G).  She was a woman whose husband was in government in one of the communist countries.  She also tried to help the peasants.

          One day her husband was very angry with her because of this.  He made her ride naked   on horseback through the streets where the peasants lived.  All she had covering her was her long hair.  The peasants realized what happened and none of them would look at her.

          All these stories G told me happened when I first started playing the piano.  I was about 7 years old.

          G came from Poland.  She at one point went there to visit her family, who were very poor.  They lived in a wooden shack with no running water or electricity.  When they had to go to the bathroom, they went outside in the woods.

          G couldn’t do this.  They built an outhouse just for her.  She was the laughing stock of the whole village.


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