And we come to the letter “Q” in our A to Z Challenge.
Of course I thought about Quartet as a great word for my musical musings.
The definition of quartet is an ensemble of four singers or instrumental performers or a musical composition for four voices or instruments. There are string quartets and barbershop quartets. Well-known quartets include The Beatles (duh) the Four Tops, The Lennon Sisters and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young to name a few. Most of the time it is four singers of the same gender, but the Mamas and Papas was a quartet as well. As far as instruments go, the usual quartet in rock and pop music is two electrical guitars, a bass guitar and a drum set.
I was discussing the quartet theme with my daughter, Rachel, the other day in preparation for this blog and she said, “Mom, you were part of a quartet. You had three sisters.” Such a smart girl!
And while the only songs we have sung together is the famous “Mother” which we performed every Mother’s Day to a captive audience and the occasional Cowboy Jack, more as a joke, here we are with the Stagnaro Girls Quartet:
The first thing that you should know is that these pictures were taken when we were each about a year old. However, there is 18 years between JoAnne, the oldest, and Jaye, the youngest. Obviously hairstyles for one-year-olds did not change much over the course of time. I believe this particular style was made by my mom licking her finger and then wrapping our hair around it and then pulling her finger out. Perhaps a little hairspray to make it stay?
Each of our names begin with the letter “J.” Handy for a quartet! My mother claims she never named any of us. Here’s why:
JoAnne’s name comes from a combination of my mother (Josephine) and her twin sister (Antoinette). That is why she always wrote her name with a capital “J” and a capital “A.” She and I are the most alike. She was 12 years older than me and most of the time she was working or at school. I was eight when she got married and was so excited to be a flower girl in her wedding. We got much closer as I got older and she helped me find and decorate my first apartment.
Another aunt picked Judy’s name. I am not sure why other than they liked the name. Judy is 10 years older than I. She was my confidant when I was in high school. By that time she was out of the house and married so I used to go visit her and tell her my sad tales of woe. I also taught her to drive because she never learned. I do remember once before she got married that she got into a fight with our parents and climbed out the bedroom window. Her boyfriend brought her back home and it all ended well.
And then there is me. I always say I was the “wanted” child because there are so many years between Judy and I. My parents had the dreaded “RH” factor, meaning my dad’s blood type was a positive and my mom’s was a negative. In those days they did not have the medications they do now to prevent the blood rejection that comes with mixing types so the doctors told my parents not to have any more children for a while. With Italian Catholic parents and no birth control allowed, I could just as easily say I was an “accident” but I prefer wanted! JoAnne and Judy named me…but since there were 4 Janet’s and a Janice in my class all during elementary school, I’m pretty sure that was a popular name at the time.
Last but not least, is our sister, Jaye. She is five years younger than I am and we say she was a “surprise” because my mom was 42 when she was born, a little older than most women. The story of Jaye’s name is a good one. The neighborhood women gave my mom a baby shower and they said to her, “What are you going to name the baby? It has to be a “J” you know.” And my mom said, “Okay, that’s what it is, Jaye.” There may have been some issues with the positive and negative stuff with Jaye’s birth because I remember it being a pretty big deal with my mom having to go to the hospital urgently because of premature bleeding. All turned out okay though.
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