My daughter is 5 years old and it learning to play piano as of a few months ago. We started her on lessons after she showed an interest in my parents’ old piano every time we would visit them, 8 hours away. We had always said we’d be a musical family, so when we heard of a teacher who was well-liked by small kids, we signed up. The lessons have been great, but after a month of two, the teacher insisted we buy a piano of our own, saying she could no longer progress in teaching our daughter without her practicing. We started to look around for new upright pianos and were floored by how expensive a new piano could be! So we turned to Craig’s list and found a ton of used pianos that were more reasonably priced. Still, we procrastinated buying one because we knew we would have to go in person to see the piano with a tuner before we made the purchase. My daughter continued to go to lessons and we continued to get warned by her teacher. It was embarrassing.
Then one day, I was driving down our street with my father, who was visiting, and we spotted a small piano on someone’s curb, waiting to be picked up by the trash truck. We immediately stopped and checked it out. It was, in fact, a real upright piano, but a junior sized one. I had never seen one of these:
It’s really the cutest thing you’ve ever seen and perfect for my daughter. So my poor father pushed the thing uphill to our garage (it’s really heavy so he couldn’t life it into the house) and we started to clean it up. We told the teacher about the piano and we thought by her look that she was going to tell us that it was not a serious piano but we begged her to send her husband, also a pianist, to our house to inspect it.
As I was retuning from work last night, I saw him in the garage tinkering with the piano. I also saw the people who were throwing it out on the street and I stopped to tell them we had it and ask them if it was in working order. The woman smiled and said, “yes it works well, my boys just don’t play it anymore.”
She then asked me if I knew whose piano it was before she owned it. Of course I didn’t know. Apparently it belonged to a little girl who is quite famous in our town because she died at 8 years old from a rare form of bone cancer. In fact, our local playground is named in her honor.
I have to say I was touched to learn whose it was. We didn’t know the little girl and her image looms with us in the playground where we spend much of our weekends. She sounded like quite the special little person and to think that we may have just inherited something she loved, makes me feel like we can carry on a bit of joy in her honor. And who knows, maybe she is looking down on us and providing a bit of divine inspiration. I’d like to think so.
So when I pulled up into our driveway, my husband started to tell me that the man examining it said we could keep it for one year until she is really in need of a bigger piano. He didn’t get halfway through his first word when I just looked at him and said, “we’re keeping it.”
Julianne, we didn’t know you, but we are thinking of you now.