We recently acquired a piano at the Pear Tree House.
A lady in my church is moving into an assisted living residence and can’t take it with her, so she was just giving it away to a good home.
I started learning to play the piano at the age of five, and continued into university – although you wouldn’t know it by hearing me. I quit taking lessons decades ago and, while I still tinker around when the opportunity presents itself, not having one in our home means almost never playing.
But this piano needed a home, and our home desperately needed a piano.
It’s nothing fancy, and some of the keys stick just a little bit, but the sound is not bad, the size is just right and it does the job we need it to.
The lady who gave it to us said that she wanted to pass it on to someone who could use it because when she was a child someone gave her family a piano and it made such a difference to the family’s dynamic.
Of course, she added, she never actually learned to play well. She was required to sit at the piano for half an hour each day, whether she practiced it or not, and so she stubbornly sat, not touching the keys. She regrets it now, she admitted.
The piano she gave us was not the one she got as a child. This one, a Wurlitzer, belonged to her mother-in-law (above, left), who studied music at Trinity College in London, England, before becoming a piano teacher in Penticton, B.C.
Apparently it was new in 1973, a gift to the mother-in-law from her husband.
The lady who inherited it finally learned to play a little bit – some basic hymns, she said, and her own daughter learned to play on it, and continues to play today.
My own children jumped on it as soon as we brought it in (no easy task in the middle of a snowy February!). And now, whenever I sit down to practice something and they’re around, I’m joined by four other little hands – one set on the high keys and one on the low notes.
But I don’t mind. While the song I’m playing quickly becomes unrecognizable, and I get squawked at if my hands enter their domain, they have so much fun that I can hardly fault them. And I want them to associate the piano – and music in general – with something fun, something to enjoy, that brings us closer as a family and fills our home with a soundtrack of memories.
– Words and photos by Lori-Anne Poirier