Crashing the keys to make a thunder sound when she was about six was Fiorella's first experience as a pianist, but pianos were few and far between back then so she had to wait till she was in fourth grade to tickle the ivories again. That's when she talked to her mother about taking lessons, which, she didn't realize, would require a piano in the house. But Mom talked to Dad, they bought a spinet from a church friend, and Fiorella was set up with lessons from Mrs. Sykes, partially because her house was located on Fio's route home from school.
Fiorella quickly caught onto the numbered finger system and progressed along to the "third year" book, then slowed down when she hit junior high, partially because North Junior was in the opposite direction from Mrs. Sykes' house, partially because she had more schoolwork, and partially because her pieces were getting harder. Nonetheless, Fio still enjoyed playing and has continued to do so through the years although, frankly, she doesn't play as well as when she was as a child.
But now she'll tell you who benefited most from the piano in her parents' home--her mother. Mom had always been musical, but her family couldn't afford more than three months of piano lessons for her as a child so she taught herself how to play the mouth organ as an adult. Later, after had Fiorella left home, Mother sent off to Sears Roebuck for the teach-yourself-to-play-the-piano instructional series, and learned all about chords and keys and playing by ear. Fio was always proud of her mother's achievement--and impressed.