The Elephant in the (Play)Room

It’s time to address the elephant. It’s actually a piano that weighs as much as an elephant. A lot of you have asked and hope it is staying.

The piano came with the house. It was in the entry way when we bought the house. It sat on the front porch for weeks after we finished redoing the floors, until Harper finally found three willing helpers to move it inside. I bit my tongue and felt my blood pressure rise as they weren’t strong enough to get it to its new resting spot without making a long dent in the middle of the freshly finished pine floor. These were all strong guys. With its cast iron innards, the piano is a beast.

In 2005, the piano stayed on the front porch while we had the floors refinished.

The piano’s exterior is in pretty good shape–it could shine with a little oil and elbow grease. The keys and the inside are a different story, though. From this angle, the ebony and ivory look fine…

But without the pretty bokeh, you can see how many of the ebony and ivory key tops have been pulled off. You can also see some Sharpie art and a cigarette burn or two. The wear and tear that came with living in a rent house for many years. (This house was in the same family for several generations, but they used it as a rent house for about 2o years prior to us buying it.) And here’s the kicker–the piano is not original to that family. It actually belonged to one of the renters years ago that decided it was too much to move again. So it stayed with the house from that point on. When I found out the piano didn’t belong to the original family, I felt a huge relief. By that point, I had done enough research to know it would take a lot of money and energy to get the piano repaired and tuned. In fact, I’m not even sure it could ever really be tuned correctly. Knowing it wasn’t original made it a little easier to face the fact that one day, it might have to go.

 

Folks, I think the time has come. I wish it could stay. I wish we had a little more room, but we need the space for something more functional. Even though we have fun “playing” it, it’s not something that would work for really learning to play. It’s basically a toy that takes up an entire wall and weighs a ton. Oh, and a surface for seasonal decor–keep that in mind.

So, what is its fate? The options are few. I spend enough time at thrift stores and antique shops to know that old upright pianos–as beautiful and nostalgic as they may be–don’t sell. They don’t sell. I’ve seen them ambitiously priced at $600 and I’ve seen them sit around for $150. I’ve seen them “Free to a good home” and just “Please Take.”

So, I’ve made a tough choice. Rather than dropping it off (like that’s easy) at Faith Mission, I’ve decided to keep it. But I’m going to keep it in pieces. Yes. We are going to dismantle it. The top part that I’ve used like a mantle, will still be used as a shelf for seasonal decorations. I’ll save the decorative molding for projects, and I even have a few ideas for using the keys.

It’s kind of sad, but I’m pretty sure that’s what would happen to it if it were donated anyway, so it might as well be us.

I’ll miss seeing and hearing him play on it, but what we’re replacing it with is something that came with the house, too. But it’s functional. (More about that soon!)

And just to torture myself, here’s Tice playing the piano a few weeks after his first birthday.

Cheers to a beautiful old piano–from back in the day when things were made in America.

–Natalie

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2 Responses to The Elephant in the (Play)Room

  1. Nancy Farmer says:

    You’re doing the right thing. Enjoy the parts that are usable and get rid of the rest. Life is too short to fret over something that has no connection to your family. In the mean time, you have the pictures of your son playing the piano to look back on and they don’t take up any room or dent your floors.

  2. Sherry Lacy says:

    Wise decision. Can’t wait to see what develops!

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