Monday, October 6, 2014

My Piano, the Beginning

My piano sits in the living room gathering dust. Its top is often hidden by all sorts of clutter, and it needs tuning. One of these days I hope to get it tuned. That piano has gone to a lot of places with me and is not a small piece of furniture. Every time we moved we had to remove the legs and top and then have several people help to lift and move it. This is the story of how it came to be mine. These next few Monday Memoir posts will document some of our moves and the role of the piano in our lives during those times.

At the beginning of the school year in 1975, Steve took a job at a Christian school in New Hampshire. It was late summer, about a month before our first anniversay, when we made the move all the way from Jacksonville, Florida, pulling a U-Haul with my brother's car since ours was too small to pull anything. Part of that trip was very harrowing. Take my advice. Never drive pulling a heavy trailer on the Bear Mountain Parkway in New York state in the dark. (We did not realize it at the time, but it was probably illegal to even have a trailer on that road.)

We finally made it, and my brother and his friend came up a week later to bring us our car. Evidently we didn't get enough winding mountain roads during our move, because we decided to visit Mt. Washington. My brother drove us up the narrow twisting road all the while tooting the loud, unusual sounding "ah-ooh-gah" horn as we approached each curve. Here is a picture of our view looking out the car window while going up the mountain. Sometimes it seemed like you were looking straight down because you were so close to the edge. We marveled at how the van drivers of the guided tour seemed to just race around the curves.

We rented a duplex in the town of Hudson. It had a small room on one side and a garage on the other that led to a shared laundry area, which was actually behind the small room. From the small room there were steps that led up to the main level which included the living/dining area and kitchen on the left and the bedroom and bathroom on the right over the garage.

(our side of the duplex)
We did not own a television or a piano and decided that we could purchase either but not both. Since we both loved music and I had been without a piano for a year already, the piano won out. So off we went shopping. We found a used one that had been dropped, resulting in a crack on one side of the piano but no damage to the sounding board. A piano tuner later pointed out that three strings were broken and had been tied together, so he tuned it a half step low. Steve was able to fix the crack by using wood glue and a large furniture clamp.

We had big plans of stripping and refinishing, then painting and waxing the piano until it shone. We got most of it done but never completely finished.

I became pregnant, and those first few months I had trouble eating most things and was very tired. I remember not even being able to eat apple pie because it just didn't appeal. The smell of bacon or sausage cooking made me feel sick. After about three months I was able to eat pretty normally again. We even celebrated Christmas in the duplex with our very own "Charlie Brown" Christmas tree. Notice the icicles in the window? Having grown up in Florida I had never seen anything like it and was quite awestruck.

I was also impressed with all the snow. Never had I seen that much at one time. Our friends told us the snow usually comes before Thanksgiving and stays on the ground until April or May. I just had to get this picture of the mailboxes that barely stuck out above the snow. One day I walked out to get the mail, but must have hit a slippery place and ended up sitting down in the snow. It didn't really hurt because the snow was so soft.

My piano was a life saver for me during that time, because I had not yet met many people besides the other teachers at the school. At home by myself while Steve was at school, I probably practiced four to five hours a day. All that time spent playing enabled me to memorize a few pieces. 

Eventually we found a church to attend. We even gave a little concert there one night with my husband singing some of Ken Medema's songs to my accompaniment. We also spoke a little and I played some special hymn arrangements. Later we switched to another church where I became one of the regular pianists. 

Next week I'll tell you about the first move we made after the purchase of the piano, which also includes the birth of our first child.

Find the rest of the #31Days of Love, Faith, and Creativity HERE.

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