Auf Wiedersehen Beethoven

What a miserable winter this has been.  I’m told I’m lucky I can’t hear because the wind was so powerful yesterday, it haunted the hearing.   I may not have been able to hear it, but I sure felt it and today I can see the debris it left in its wake.  There are some sounds I just don’t miss.

One sound I do miss is the sound of my piano. My first real memory of being exposed to a piano in someone’s home is when I was ten years old.  I thought it was the most wonderful thing in the world to actually have a piano, and I would beg my friends to let me play theirs while I was at their houses.

My love for the instrument grew deeper and deeper and I finally convinced my parents to buy a piano for me when I was 12.  I took lessons every Saturday morning and practiced diligently.  I even had an opportunity to study with a real Maestro  who was astounded by my over an octave key reach and passion for playing at such a young age.  But tell a young girl about to enter her teens that life would be mostly school and practice and watch the fear become bigger than the passion.

Still, I took lessons, practiced, and enjoyed every minute at the piano. I even enjoyed the music theory homework my teacher gave me.  Most of all, I loved how my grandmother would sit and listen to me play my grade 3 or 4 songs and tell me it was the best concert she’d ever been to.  The look on her face made my fingers fly. You would think I wrote Fur Elise or Moonlight Sonata myself.  In her heart, maybe I did.

I’ve had that piano with me almost all my life since I got it at 12.  When I first got married, I didn’t have room for it so it stayed in my parents’ home.  But as soon as I had a house, the piano was moved to my house and eventually my own children took their lessons on it.  Then it was my turn to listen to the best concerts I ever heard when I heard them play.

I stopped being able to hear that piano in the mid 1980s but I still liked to sit down on that bench and play.  I would imagine the music in my head, and it didn’t matter if the piano was even tuned.  To me it was my childhood and my grandmother’s smile again.

As the years went on, arthritis started to develop and I lost the ability to make my fingers fly.  I could usually hit the notes if I played slowly, but it wasn’t the same.  The last few years, I haven’t been able to play much at all, but I could look at that piano and remember it all as if it was yesterday.

Now that time has come to an end and I’m heartbroken.  Lousy things sometimes happen and my beloved piano has been damaged beyond repair.  DHH wants to get me a new piano, but a new piano won’t play in my head the way MY piano does.  The memories won’t be in a new piano and all the images of the last several decades won’t be embedded in its key bed. They’ll just have to remain in my head.  Thankfully, memories don’t shed with tears.

Fur Elise and Moonlight Sonata –  Thank you Beethoven and Ricki F, my wonderful piano teacher, for blessing my ears when they worked.  And thank you my piano, for all the beauty and happiness you gave me.

*NOTE* These are NOT me playing.  Thank you also to whomever is playing them.