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Orchestration revolves around red, stars, oak trees

Any good piece of music has a reappearing melody or motive that comes and goes and maybe gets transformed, but in the end, that theme will neatly tie up the whole work. I recently sat swinging outside with musician Beth Ehalt Bostock and could see three of her personal life themes reoccurring in every direction. Stars. The color red. Acorns and oak trees.
To begin with, the stars. A huge tin star hangs on the side of her barn which sits behind Mighty Oak Manor, the home where she and her husband, Kent, live off S.R. 337 south of Corydon. This is the original star that hung on the first Star Cleaners in New Albany when her family began its cleaning business in 1925. Her father, Elmer Ehalt, took over the business from a pair of brothers who began in a carriage factory with a dirt floor.
‘A dirt floor in a dry cleaners is not a good idea,’ Bostock laughingly said.
The Corydon Star Cleaners opened in the early ’50s in Miss Georgia Fisher’s home on the corner of Walnut and Elm streets where the Blaine H. Wiseman Visitor Center sits now. This was the pickup point for runs back and forth to New Albany with Bostock’s brother, Roger, doing delivery in Corydon. They’ve been in their present location at 110 E. Walnut St. for 42 years.
‘I remember riding back and forth from New Albany to Corydon. When we passed through Lanesville, anyone with cleaning to pick up would put a big star in their window and we knew to stop,’ Bostock recalled. ‘We had a coat for 15 years and the customer would not pick it up. We sent it to Goodwill. She came for it a week later and was hopping mad.’
The color red was the favorite color of Bostock’s mother, Virginia, and Bostock’s home has a huge oak tree behind the house. These two themes run throughout the house and garden and even carries over into the music room where Bostock has her piano, harp and guitars.
Bostock is the type of musician that every community must have. She took lessons in New Albany, where she lived on Oak Street) and began playing for musicals when she was in junior high school. Now she is the ‘go to’ person in Corydon when someone needs practical piano playing for any kind of occasion that involves skill at note reading and quick adjustments under pressure.
‘One performance at Hayswood (Theatre), the singer jumped ahead five pages and I went right along with her. I just hoped she didn’t backtrack,’ Bostock said.
Even a broken finger, which involved a full red cast, has not stopped her from carrying on with her accompaniments.
As good musicians know, the show must ‘ and will ‘ go on, and I was glad to see Bostock at a recent event wearing a bright red sweater and a beautiful silver star pin symbolizing what I know now is family pride in a successful and ongoing business and love of home place.
You can compose a good life around themes such as those.
Leah Porter is at the Harrison County Public Library in Corydon on the first and third Saturdays of the month from 1 to 3 p.m.

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