Our family first met Izzy McT when she was assigned to be Kami’s locker partner in 5th grade. I immediately thought, I like this girl. She’d be a good friend for Kami.
Two years later, Izzy’s dad rented our studio apartment for awhile, and on the days he had Izzy, she slept upstairs among us Goulashes (Goulds+Upshaws), firmly establishing her as Family.
There are countless Izzy tales, but here’s one of my favorites.
Two years ago, a few months after our niece Simone died, Izzy stopped by our house one lazy weekend day. We were all home and ended up hanging out at the dining room table, talking. Then out of the blue Izzy said, “Oh my god, have you seen Ukulele Anthem?!” We said we hadn’t and she grabbed our laptop and before you know it we were watching Amanda Palmer singing Ukulele Anthem atop the Sydney Opera House.
Garth showed the Youtube video to Simone’s mom, Lauren. Lauren was seized by the carpe diem message of the whole song (“…remember we’re all gonna die/So play your ukulele”). She went out and bought a ukulele – and so the Goulashes decided we should all get ukuleles. Lauren and I in particular started practicing together a couple days a week to work on songs together. Always, we would play Ukulele Anthem. I was so grateful to have something to do with Lauren that was connecting, and that also that gave some shape to her days: practice ukulele during the day so she could kick my butt when we played together in the evenings.
My dad dug out the ukulele he’d bought for himself at the age of 14, over 55 years before. We had it restrung and it became Kami’s ukulele. Before long, my parents got the bug and started playing, revisiting their days playing duets (on the recorder in the ’70’s). In fact, pretty soon, the Goulashes had a couple songs we’d practiced together and had a little house concert at my parents’ 54th wedding anniversary. We practiced a song to play for a friend’s wedding (didn’t happen – another story).