My parents gave me a piano when I was 11 years old. Yeah. Wow. I mean, it was a HUGE deal to me. And kind of a heavy burden to bear. It meant I felt like I should practice way more and really study at my lessons in order to “earn” the right to have a whole piano to myself. Oh, I shared it with my brothers and sister – and lessons were paid for all around, but I was the only one who continued with it.
So, when I was divorced, my parents helped me move and in one of the truck loads to my new apartment was “the piano.”
I loved that piano. I would play on it for hours. When I was growing up, I would play on it for an hour before school, again after school for several hours. I played and played and played. Actually the reason I did this was, one, well, I enjoyed it, but two, after a meltdown in college where I majored in music, I had to perform in front of a panel of four judges and I suddenly could NOT remember a note of music and had to slither back out to the hallway and gather up all my music books and bring them back to the studio piano and play by reading the music instead of by memory. Ever since, I have not been able to memorize music and have to have it in front of me all the time. I would play a piece over and over, and eventually I would play by memory but only if I had the sheet music right in front of me – just in case.
I had several moments while being a single mother that I just did not have one dime to spare for food or for the light bill. I would scrounge in the cupboards until they were bare. And one day I spiraled down to desperation and I sold my piano for $400 to my piano tuner. $400.
I left the house the day they picked up the piano. I couldn’t bear to watch it leave. It was winter and snow was on the ground. I remember coming home and seeing the tracks of the people who slid it down the sidewalk to their moving van. I cried for a week.
Months went by, holidays went by, a couple boy friends went by, and then one day an ex-boyfriend called, knowing how I felt about my piano, and said he had a friend (the girlfriend before me) who needed to store her piano for a couple years until she got settled. If I could get another set of muscles and a truck, he would help me get the piano. And it just happened that my boys’ Dad was in town and he offered to help.
So, I’m driving my car behind the truck being driven by my ex-boyfriend, carrying his ex-girlfriend’s piano in the back, with my ex-husband bracing it along the way. There’s a moral here, I just can’t quite peg it.