My Friend Olivia

Paper cutout work just perfect for Pie Cottage. From 1976 through 2006 I made my living and supported my family as a music teacher, accompanist, and coach as I tried to instill my love of music and the arts to hundreds, maybe thousands of students, who came to sit on the bench in front of my grand piano each week. Students (and families) would be with me for two, four or six years and in a few instances for up to twelve. Olivia is one of those 12-year students and and since those days, she has become my friend Olivia.

When her mom brought her to me as a six year old, Olivia seemed wise beyond her years.  I appreciated that her family had set down the ground rules. Music lessons were not optional. Olivia knew this. She was eager to learn and to do it right.

Both of her parents, Bob and Rosanna play, so music was and still remains a language spoken in their home, as it was in mine, from birth. You could say we are native speakers.

Olivia and Kate after a 1996 recital.

Olivia and me enjoying the homemade cookie potluck after a recital in 1996.

An adult student, whose lesson time preceded Olivia’s, once said to me, “Olivia can even make a one octave C major scale sound musical.”


If you took lessons, you’ll know what this means.

By the time she had progressed to Bach, Brahms, Mendelssohn, Debussy, and was playing the Rachmaninoff Suite #2 for Two Pianos with me (as I had done with my mom), she was auditioning for college and conservatory music scholarships. She had her pick and chose St. Olaf’s in Minnesota where there is both a good music and nursing program.  I delighted in her holiday and summer visits when I would hear about the latest pieces she was working on or driving on icy roads in order to get to the hospital where she was doing her student nursing. A pragmatic young woman, she has a profession to support her myriad of talents and interests…baking, printmaking, watercolor, travel, gardening, Irish fiddle. 

Olivia's paper cutout work for Pie Cottage.

My friend Olivia

Olivia and Finn

Olivia and Finn

For the time being, she and her love, Brendon, are living in Port Angeles  with their new dog Finnegan. She works at the local hospital. We get together for play dates with the dogs, tea, and always good conversation. When I visited her in their first cottage, I was happy to see it full of musical instruments, art supplies, and a kitchen ready for home cooked meals.

Yesterday after my walk with Greta (and Otto), Olivia showed up with this sweet piece. I had seen a version of it at her cottage and commented on how much I liked it. So, she made me one tailored to Pie!

Thank you, Olivia. You are a peach!



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  1. Magnolia says

    What a sweet story. And quite a legacy of love and learning. How ’bout a pie concerto with piano and fiddle ?

  2. Olivia Bailey says

    Well gee whiz! Thank you for such a sweet blog post, Kate. Isn’t it wonderful that our furbabies are BFFs?

    I have always been the luckiest person, to have not one but two fantastic Mothers. Everyone needs at least two, I think.

  3. says

    I love your stories Kate. Always full of joy and love, they (like you) help make this a better world. We are all better people for knowing you and I appreciate the love, kindness, and positive attitude you share with us!

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