Monday, September 14, 2009

Memory Monday: The piano and me: Part 3--Making a house a home

And then it was gone from my everyday life. I went to college. Pianos abounded but played by people far more talented than I. I hadn't the nerve to sit at one, no matter how deep the urge. (Secretly I think Miss Tennie must have planted some version of "your fingers will always itch for a keyboard" in the garden room air just to get us back for not knowing our theory.)

But I digress. No easily playable piano for seven years. Then, we move to Georgia, to an apartment complex with sets of 8 apartments per building. Four on each side, up and down, with a breezeway. We were the first people to live in ours. There was practically a new house smell! Less than a month after we moved in, a family, the first of many, moved in next door. They had two teenage daughters and a piano. It was an older upright, one the girls had painted yellow and decorated with daisies and flower-power prints. It was in the breezeway and it was for sale.

Seventy five dollars later, it was rolled into what passed for our dining room. It even had a matching bench! It also needed to be tuned in the worst way and something had to be done about the yellow and the flowers.

Figuring the punishment fit the crime of painting it in the first place, I hired the teens to help me strip it and restain it. It was made of beautiful quarter-sewn dark oak. I had now doubled the price of my newest acquisition. But that wasn't all. Having basically put the cart before the horse, I found a piano tuner. Perhaps I should have done that first before the effort of making it into a pretty piece of useless furniture?

He was an older man and quickly informed me that even upon its birth in 1915 or so, my piano had not been first class. I accepted that. I wasn't a first class player. There was no use in casting pearls before... well, you get the idea. Several hours later, having now more than tripled the price of my piano, he played it until it sang.

He left, I sat down and played, probably out of a hymnal, or something borrowed. Maybe Mother had already mailed me my music. I just know I had it and our apartment, far from Texas and all that was familiar, finally felt real. I had a piano and had, in many ways, come home.

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