My cousin Barbara, a professional violinist and Suzuki teacher, has a theory about gypsy blood running in our family. I have never doubted that she was correct. Our grandfather played a violin and all of his brothers played a stringed instrument. Their father made violins and there is still one, although it is not of great quality, Barb said it would be good as a lamp base. When I took my daughter for Suzuki violin lessons in Sunnyvale, California I used great-grandfather’s violin, which my father had lovingly re-finished. It never held tune from one week to the next, but it was there and sufficed to bait the almost three year old Mika into wanting to play, like mama. I have long since passed both great-grandfather’s instrument as well as the 1/16th violin Mika used on to my niece and grand-niece, who have never done anything with either.
Our great-grandfather played his violin at weddings and was nick named king of the gypsies among his cronies. How much actual fact is involved is anybody’s guess as I have never tracked down any documentation about him, or that story.
Our grandmother came to America on a ship, at the age of sixteen, and traveled back to Europe seven times to maintain relations with her family. My father probably got the bug from her and passed it on to me and my children who are both very cosmopolitan and have done a fair share of traveling.