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As I mentioned many times, I grew up in Bratislava, Slovakia (though it was part of Czechoslovakia back then).

My mother was an opera star, my father a famous linguist and university professor. It was the Communist era, so the four of us (I have an older brother) lived in a two-room appartment Downtown Bratislava.

We had a piano in that apartment, a piano that took about a quarter of one of the rooms. It was a grand piano, aka a concert piano. In other words, the real thing.

My grandfather bought it for my mother when she was a conservatory student (that, by the way, was way before the Communist era, and certainly before my time). Not knowing exactly which piano to buy, he asked my mother to bring her piano teacher to the store. The teacher tried every single piano in the store (and they had many, we are talking Central Europe here), and then said, "Buy this one!" And my grandfather did.

So, that was the piano I crawled underneath as a toddler, and learned how to play as a child.

As I recall, I started in the second grade, or so, taking two lessons every week, plus attending theory classes once a week. The piano teacher was a nice young lady: I used to go to her appartment. I enjoyed the lesson because she always had the most moist and delicious cookies for her students.

After three years, I decided I wanted to learn to play the accordion. I suspect my parents would rather if I stayed with the piano, but they did let me switch. I got a new teacher, and older man who was very serious and did not serve cookies. But he was a good teacher.

We did not have an accordion, but no problem. My teacher tolds us which one to get, and my father bought it. Unlike the piano, I had to hawl my accordion to the class, so that I used the same instrument at home and everywhere else.

As I remember, I spent three years studying the accordion, then stopped. I don't remember why I stopped. But I was a teenager by then, and I was quite active doing many other things, such as playing tennis every single day. But, that's quite irrelevant here.

When I was graduated from High School, we experienced a brief but wonderful period of socialism with a human face. I enrolled in the medical school and in the recently re-legalized boy scouts. It was there that I learned how to play guitar. By then, I lived in my own appartment. I bought my own guitar. I also bought an electric guitar.

Once I learned how to play guitar, I started taking the mandolin as well. And, of course, I bought one.

Alas, socialism with a human face did not last long. The boy scouts became illegal again. I left the medical school and switched to psychology. I no longer had a music teacher, but I did have my two guitars and my mandolin, and I was able to play them.

Well, time went by. I was graduated and worked as a clinical psychologist. I was also ordained a Catholic priest, secretly, without the knowledge of the Communist government. Eventually, I left my home.

I lived in Austria for a while, Vienna specifically. I was working on my German at University of Vienna, and studied Italian at the Italian Embassy (well, technically, at the Italian Culture Institute which was attached to the Embassy).

And I started attending the Archdiocesan School of Music in Vienna, studying the organ. And I mean organ. Not an electronic keyboard, but a big, huge, lege artis, pipe organ. The school had several. Those weren't huge, but they were lege artis.

But the one I used to practice was huge. It was in the Capuchin Church, and I got to practice for several hours every night after the church was closed.

My, what a wonderful instrument! You use your hands and feet to play it, but you can fill the whole church with beautiful sound using just one finger! I love the organ.

Alas, after I left Vienna, the music died.

I spent four years in Rome, but that was not the problem.

It was after I moved to the US that I have experienced nothing but frustration when it comes to music.

I do not have a guitar. I do not have a piano. And I certainly do not have an organ, lege artis or not.

Why? Because that stuff is expensive here. At least for me. And it is not just musical instruments. All the things I love: I am an avid photographer, for example, but all serious photo equipment costs so much.

Strangely, it was not the lack of money I suffered from under Communism. It was that I did not always have many things to choose from (and sometimes had to wait for a couple of months to get exactly what I wanted). Now, that I am in the US, there are so many more choices. But I cannot afford them.

This just does not make any sense to me. If it does to you, please explain it to me!

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