Today my grandmother’s grand piano was moved into our front room:
Don’t you just love the quality of my iPhone picture-taking skills?
It’s not ours to keep; we’re holding it for my brother David because he claimed it. But right now he’s living with my other brother Barry and a roommate, and the spot for the piano in their house is being taken up by a ping-pong table. They have their priorities, you know?
Having this piano here brings back memories. My family and I actually lived with my grandmother for a few years when I was in elementary school. The piano was in her front room, too, which I always considered the library. It was quite a bit more proper than ours though. That room was where I once read, out of boredom, a very old copy of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. We had some Christmases there, and our first computer. It was also where I took piano lessons.
I’m not sure whose idea it was to give me piano lessons, but probably not mine. My teacher was a large, white-haired man named Monsieur Lucien, and whenever I said his name I used the most outrageous French accent I could summon. (And in my head that entire last sentence is also in an outrageous French accent.) During our lessons he used one of those metal pointers that are like mini telescopes, and he would whip that thing around and put fear into my heart. I wasn’t particularly gifted at the piano, but it didn’t help that I hardly ever practiced.
At my first (and only) recital, I was a nervous wreck. I just knew it would be horrible, but people would console me by saying, “It’s just nerves, everything will be fine!” and other such nonsense. Because it did NOT go fine. In fact, I screwed up so badly that the audience started clapping before I was finished with the song. I ran into the bathroom and cried.
Fast forward to my freshman year of college. I had some crazy idea that I would major in music, which required taking piano. Once again, I just couldn’t get myself to walk the few hundred yards to the music building to practice. I somehow convinced my parents that it would be a good idea for them to buy me a very nice keyboard so that I could practice in my room. I did practice a little more, but it didn’t really help. During our final recital, the page turner was late turning the page, my fingers got off, and I went the rest of the song playing wrong notes. The worst part was that no one in the audience could tell that the page turner had done anything wrong. The next year I changed my major to Christian ministry and philosophy, and I’ve barely touched a piano since.
Although I’ve had a rocky relationship with piano in my life, it still makes me immensely happy to have this one here. Because now we have a front music room/library just like my grandmother. Now I actually want to learn how to play (not that I’ll follow through with that, though). But mostly because it’s part of my family history, and that is important to me.