Martha & Charlie – A Valentine Story

Martha and Charlie – 50 years

Martha and Charlie Wedding and highschool bandMartha first met Charlie in high school band practice. He played the clarinet, she the bells…..the rest is history, as they say.

They grew up on the East coast and continued to date throughout college. After graduation, they married and had two sons to complete their family. Charlie’s job as an engineer moved their family a couple times around the United States, finally anchoring them the past 30 + years in Minnesota. Through the years they have always shared one love – music.

Martha remembers attending concerts in Stillwater together as a form of fun and relaxation the two of them shared while raising their growing family. Over the years Martha continued with her love of the piano while Charlie put away the clarinet to pursue his career and the busy life of a husband and father.

Fast forward to a year and a half ago when Martha began to look for care for Charlie after he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. After looking around for a day program Charlie could enjoy, Martha found Sojourn. She said she loves the happy and active atmosphere that Charlie is a part of every day, stopping in often to visit and join in with the music therapy that Charlie truly enjoys.

Upon meeting and getting to know Charlie, Kari the Program Director at Sojourn, also found something she herself had in common with him…. they both had played the clarinet in their past. It had been years since Charlie had played his old instrument, along with being left with an inability to read music any longer since his dementia diagnosis. Kari decided to dust off her clarinet and bring it in…if anything, maybe Charlie would get a kick out of holding it or listening to her play a bit. A connection was made. Soon Martha was able to resurrect one of their son’s old clarinets that was all but forgotten so Charlie could have clarinet time Martha and Charliewith Kari. What happened next, surprised everyone around them.

Charlie began to slowly use his favorite instrument once again. With Kari’s encouragement and much practice on her end to learn Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto, Charlie was starting to play by ear and with the visual aid of watching Kari’s hands create each note. You see, Charlie knew Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto quite well – it was what Charlie had played in high school with Martha accompanying him on the piano when they were young many years ago.

After much practice and enjoyment, a decision was made to put on a concert….a celebration of sorts. With Charlie and Kari on their clarinets and Martha for accompaniment on the piano, Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto was performed in front of an audience at Sojourns Day Center on January 28th. For Martha and Charlie, this was also a personal celebration – 50 years ago this past June, they were married, and again as they say, the rest is history.