It is with this in mind that I must confess, my last post about the accordion band, featuring the Dorothies, named the Polka Dots, is a fraud. Well, an elaboration. Calling it a fraud implies that I am trying to get away with something. Which I am not. I was just trying to tell a good story. And the theme was polka dots for crying out loud!
dotty: adj. informal, chiefly Brit. slightly mad or eccentric.
You see, I do have an Aunt Dorothy, who we all call Dot, or Dotty (and she is dotty). Her mother was also dotty but was called Dorothy, and though she was not technically my grandmother, because Dotty only became my aunt once she married my mother's brother (that would be my uncle if you are having difficulty following), she was my cousins' grandmother and I always called her Grandma. Come to think of it, there were many Grandmas in my family, only some of whom were, strictly speaking, related to me, but I digress.
While both Dotty and Dorothy are lovely piano players, neither, as far as I knew, played accordion, and the band, the Polka Dots, was a complete fabrication. The picture is from a mid-western news paper in the 1950's. I believe they were called the Accordion Queens. That's a good name too, if no one in the band was named Dorothy.
When I mentioned my story to Dotty, she told me that Grandma Dorothy did play the accordion. She lost two sons and her husband over the course of a few years and during that time she taught herself to play the accordion because it brought her great joy. I bet it did too.
Grandma Dorothy was a character. She was from Minnesota and the real person behind a Garrison Keillor tale. (Speaking of people who don't let the truth get in the way of a good story.) I don't know where he first used it, but most recently he retold it in his Prairie Home Companion movie. It was about a woman whose husband accidentally left her behind at a gas station and she talked the local law into giving chase. And this story is completely true. I swear.