Pat Shingleton: "S.A.D. and Piano Lessons..."
The lack of sunshine can have an effect on our disposition. During a stint in Pittsburgh I prepared a board that identified 66 consecutive days with no sunshine. In Baton Rouge we occasionally experience consecutive days of gloomy weather, including drizzly rain and showers. Our weather can’t compare with Whidbey Island, Washington where they experience rain and overcast conditions for 260 days a year. Due to these conditions the suicide rate is high and duty deployment at the local naval base is limited to 18 months. Many in the Pacific Northwest suffer from S.A.D. or Seasonal Affective Disorder, a specific type of major depression, which reoccurs at specific times of the year. The amount of sunlight exposure and changes in sunrise can affect suffers of S.A.D. The northeast blizzard reminded me of piano lessons. Miriam Johnson was our piano teacher and her three worst students were me and my brothers Denis and Michael. More interested in sports than classical music, it was a challenge for Mom to ensure that daily practices were completed. Saturday morning's lesson began with a mile walk to Miriam's house on Spring Avenue in Ellwood City, PA. The walk sometimes turned into a hike or journey in all types of weather. January winters were tricky regardless how "bundled" you were for the trip. Inevitably our hands were fresh frozen when we reached the door of her home. Therapy for hands included a regimen of running cold water onto your digits, followed by warm water then hot water. I'm not sure if extra "water" fees were added to our lesson charges before we "tickled the ivories."
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