Joyce Kahkonen and her daughter, Gay Kahkonen, at a StoryCorps mobile booth in Pittsburgh.
Family histories are often linked to things and places, whether it's a favorite chair or a vacation spot. Joyce Kahkonen says her family was linked to a musical instrument: the accordion.
As Kahkonen tells her daughter, Gay, her father played the accordion professionally, and his enthusiasm was contagious.
From polkas to waltzes and standards, Kahkonen taught all his children to play the accordion. And they enjoyed it, Joyce recalls — so much so that they would all don accordions for a group photo.
Other than the lessons, and the sense of duty in sharing music and playing for an audience, Joyce says one piece of advice from her father has often served her well: "Honey, remember one thing: If you can't play good, play loud."
This piece was produced for 'Morning Edition' by Michael Garofalo with Katie Simon.