Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Piano

This was a fun weekend.

My husband had been working so much the last couple of weeks, and many times I went with him, we needed to relax and fix things around here.

I meant to go up with the ladies to see the rescued horses today, but didn't coordinate properly and missed out on their trip. (I'm excited to see how their day went! Tina at hayburner acres should have an update tonight.) And, you may want to stop by The Serenity Room also for a big Valentine's Give-away.

But yesterday was busy--we had many errands to run and lots of detours. 1.) See piano. 2.) Eat at quaint Italian restaurant we'd never been to and have the time of our lives., 3.) Costco!!, 4.) Attend the play, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest, 5.) Eat again. What a perfect day--I wish every day was like that.

As for number 1--see piano--one of our detours was to check out a grand piano in the country North of Spokane--way up by Tum Tum--yes, there is a place called Tum-Tum, Washington.

My other passion--though I only do so privately every since I had a brain meltdown at a recital when I was like 12--brain stopped, fingers stopped--engines stalled--is playing the piano. I can play well in front of my husband and children, but if someone else enters the room, I close up shop. So, unfortunately, it's a very private thing for me, though my husband's favorite thing is to sit and read while I play--which is very sweet of him. I love the piano as much as I do the horses.

Lately I've been looking for a new piano even though I have this wonderful upright that I LOVE.

Back when I was a young mother I wanted a piano of my own, with a BIG sound, that I could play anytime I wanted. I attended an auction and there it was--rough, old, out of tune--but a deep tone. I fell in love, and I won it for $50.00! I've always considered it one of my miracles--I prayed for and received a perfect gift, and I've had so much enjoyment--thousands of hours spent at that keyboard--good times and bad.

Here's a picture of it today. Since I've owned it, I've painted it and put on my own hardware. I've had it for about 17 years or so.

I've never had a desire to replace it, though my husband has offered to buy me a Grand several times--well, at least he did before I saddled him (pun) with so many horses. I always declined and opted for horse things instead--I just couldn't part with my old piano--a friend--one that's always proven to me the best things don't have to be pretty or expensive. (Not that he was suggesting he'd buy me an "expensive" one.)

So what changed my mind and made me start longing for a Grand?

I've played many in my lifetime--my kid's father had one he stored up at his parent's house while we were married. In college I took classes on and snuck down to play any one of their four Grands--two in the basement, one in the loft of the Music Building and another in the Theater. (BTW, many I played were NOT as good as my upright. If they were under 5'8" they sounded rather puny.)

And then my husband found a beautiful old, big, lonely one for me at the hospital where he works. Can you believe it??? It's so sad to see that old girl in a room all by herself not being loved on!!! Now I sneak in to play her. That sound--with the open top--it gives back to you so generously--you can literally feel your music so much more than with the upright. I believe she was built in the late 1800s. What a treasure.

I've found that I love the old pianos--late 1800's to 1940. I want one no smaller than 5'8". I need one with a good sound board--that really resonates the tone. I could CARE LESS what it looks like, but I hate the shiny ebony ones--old wood would be much better. Pianos as ornamental furniture is sac-relig to me. You can put my piano in a closet if I can play it there!! The more loved-on, the better, as far as I'm concerned. I wouldn't want guests in my home to be afraid to touch it!! They should be played and enjoyed often.

You may be wondering what I'll do with my good old friend when and if I find this new piano I'm looking for.

Well, my youngest son, Coleman asked me to teach him to play a few months ago. He shows an aptitude for it. And, tonight he asked me if he could have my $50.00 piano someday when he has his own place.


Do you know how happy that made me--to think my son wants this piano I LOVE? I told my husband we're moving it downstairs until he's old enough and ready to move it into his own place. I'm just thrilled. The gift of music, these old pianos that no one seems to really want anymore (the older they are the better!!!), it's something that gets you through life--helps you express your deepest sorrow and joy--when words sometimes fall so short.

Wish me luck in my search for the perfect piano. It's just like my horses--when I get them, I keep them forever--so it's quite a commitment.

Here are some pictures of pianos I've either looked at--or ones that look like ones I've looked at--if they were refinished.


  1. I just love your piano story, esp the part about the piano at the hospital, lonely and not being loved on. I totally get it because piano played a big part in my life, too. I recently had a piece accepted for publication in a literary journal that'll be published in April. My piece, called "Allegro" documents the sad travails of our family piano.

    P.S. I hope you'll log Piano on my Inventory Post!

  2. Wow. I'd like to read it. I hope you share it with me when it comes out--if not before.

    The piano I looked at Saturday was from 1921. The woman selling it had it in her family for many generations and she's very sad to part with it. She has stored it at a friend's house while she's in Alaska--too far to ship it.

    I'm sure that piano has stories.

  3. What a beautiful story. You obviously have a deep love and passion for these elderly ladies :)

  4. I remember the day you bought the old piano, just like it was yesterday! We were together at the auction. Remember? That's probably the best deal you ever made. It has been a faithful friend, sitting quietly, always awaiting communion between the two of you for so many years. And the communion has been beautiful.

  5. Yes, I do remember you being there. That was a long time ago--and that old auction house down the road was a favorite pass-time.

  6. I totally understand not being able to play in front of people. I took lessons for several years in my teens but could barely perform at recital. I gave up having a piano after our house burned and I lost mine. My kids never expressed a desire to learn (guitars and rock and roll were what they wanted) so I have been piano-less for a very long time now. However, I still long for one in my dreams. Not much room in the RV however ... LOL!

  7. I believe every piano has a story to tell! My piece will appear in an online journal, I'll definitely send you the link when it is "live."

  8. I actually had an old 1910 mahogany grand piano for many, many years as I was growing up! It had beautifully carved legs. I sometimes sat under it, as a kid, and traced the carvings with my fingers! I used it all through high school and then went away to college and banged away on black Steinways (ugh!) My mom sold it in 1985, gave me the money, and I bought a pickup truck with the money! I LOVED that piano, but in my small house, I had no room for it. I always wondered what stories it could tell!


Please feel welcome to join our discussion by telling us about your own thoughts and experiences.