Accordion to Dad

My article featuring my father and his love for button-style accordions in the summer 2019 issue of Newfoundland Quarterly, a cultural journal of Newfoundland and Labrador

As a Newfoundlander, it’s sacrilegious for me to admit this, so I’ll just put it out there…

I’m not a fan of accordions

Or, I wasn’t, anyway.

That is, until the accordion took on an entirely new meaning in my father’s life and my own.

Every day for the last two-plus years, my father was forced to part with something
of himself and his life that he was not ready to relinquish. Palliative cancer took my father’s appetite, his mobility, his strength, his hair and, two months ago, his life. But right up until the end, the cancer couldn’t touch his hobby: restoring and playing accordions.

Dad took up accordion repairs as a side hobby after he retired from working at the local hospital. He wanted to restore a button-style accordion for himself. In doing so, he learned the tricks to the trade and by-and-by, people started calling on Dad to breathe new life into their old squeezeboxes.

My old bedroom at my parents’ place in Newfoundland holds all the evidence of Dad’s hobby. The room is filled with bits and pieces of accordions, in their various stages of repair. In my article for this month’s issue of Newfoundland Quarterly, a cultural journal of Newfoundland and Labrador, I write:

My old basement bedroom, where he keeps the accordions-in-waiting (somewhere
between 30 and 50 of them), is even worse. I try to get an accurate count but there are boxes, bits and pieces everywhere. It’s like the Transportation Safety Board has compiled debris from an exploded cargo plane filled only with accordions. Being neither an accordion enthusiast nor a disaster scene investigator, I can’t get a handle on what’s what.

When I head back home this summer, I’ll be spending time in the TSB site. It was a promise I made to Dad. Read more in the summer 2019 issue of NQ. You can also listen to the Father’s Day 2019 show of VOCM’s Sunday Drive for my interview about the article with Darrell Power – the segment runs 15.53-23:21.

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