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Piano player Ginny ‘Dolly’ Gibson, 69, still doing what she loves best

Ginny “Dolly” Gibson, 69, has been blind since birth.
Ginny “Dolly” Gibson, 69, has been blind since birth.

If you ever were a denizen of the cocktail lounge at the former 138 Motel in Easton and wonder what became of Ginny “Dolly” Gibson, the piano player, you will have to look all over the place to find her.

Gibson, 69, a Canton resident who has been blind since birth and played at the lounge for more than 20 years, is still tickling the ivories. She volunteers at Rosie’s Place, a women’s shelter in Boston, playing and singing. She also plays at the Norwood Senior Center, entertains seniors in Canton, at a Hebrew center in Roslindale, and at her house of worship, the First Congregational Church of Stoughton, United Church of Christ.

“I keep pretty busy,” Gibson said with a laugh. “I love what I do.”

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She is at Rosie’s Place every Friday “unless something comes up,” she said, adding that “it’s so much fun.”

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She gets there by using The Ride, a paratransit program run by the MBTA. She grew up in Canton, where her late father once ran the Modern Cab Co.

“I get to Rosie’s about four o’clock and play until around six,” she said. “I love being there, hanging around with the women; it’s so much part of my life.”

Her repertoire includes hymns and standards from the Great American Songbook.

“Sometimes they get up and sing with me, like when I do ‘He’s Got the Whole World In His Hands,’ ” Gibson said. “One lady, Josephine, gets up all the time; she loves to sing too.”

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Gibson says she has always sung and played, and took accordion lessons as a little girl, then classical piano. For her education, she attended the Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown.

“I just loved playing, and still do,” she said.

Though her name is Ginny, most know her as Dolly, she said.

“When I was born, I was two pounds, two ounces,” she said. “I looked like a doll, they said, so they gave me the nickname Dolly, and it stuck.”

She suffers no arthritis or anything that could deter her from playing the piano, and will continue to volunteer.

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“Gosh, I’ll do it as long as I can,” she said. “Music is a wonderful thing to minister to people.”

Paul E. Kandarian

Paul E. Kandarian can be reached at Pkandarian@aol.com.