Friday, March 03, 2017

Pianos and Tears

Before I listed my piano on Craigslist I'd contacted a number of antique piano dealers around this area of Virginia and I've been corresponding with one of them for a week now. Emails with photos of my piano, pictures of the serial number plate, dimensions, etc.

Officially it's a vertical professional size. Yesterday he called and made an offer to pick it up today. He gave me a sum it was worth, what he was sure he could sell it at and we talked contract, making arrangements for him and his crew to come down today and pick it up.

While I was happy I was going to get something for it, something in the tens of thousands range because of the rarity and restoration, by the time I got up this morning my words of a few weeks ago about feeling nothing about this important part of my life are wrong. I got up depressed, weeping and wailing that I was selling what had been in our family, my father's family for nearly 80 years now. It hit me hard.

I cried all day. I cried while I polished the mahogany top, the wooden carving of curlicues across the front. I cried polishing the keys. I cried while vacuuming out the innards and dusting the felt hammers. It started to feel like a betrayal of a family member, not a sale of something I cannot use any longer.

Talked to my cousin who'd had the piano for about five years immediately after my father had to fetch it during the divorce and she told me a piano tale in the family that I'd not heard. Apparently during a hurricane in the 40s the family homestead on Bayou Manchac was suddenly flooded and during the wild wind, rain and flooding the floor in the living room started to come apart and my grandparents pushed and pulled that monstrously heavy instrument through the living room and into the kitchen to save it from the storm. I had no idea. Apparently I'm not the only one in the family that treasured it.

But about the time I fully made peace with letting go of this family member the piano dealer showed up, did a quick play and broke the news to me that the sound board is starting to crack. Meaning it's not worth piles of money. It makes it nearly worthless, closer to five hundred bucks. Oh well.

I had started to notice a slight buzz/burr sound on a few notes only in the last year, wondered if it had anything to do with the last tuning or a need for adjustment, not dreaming that the sound board had started to crack. Once that happens the wood of the piano is worth more than the instrument itself.

We have an appointment with the local antiques auction house on Monday, and I'll add my piano to the bulks of furniture and china we'll be selling through the auction.

On a very sad note the auction appointment had to be pushed back because of nephew of the auctioneer died this week. A kid that had attended high school with my two youngest. Funeral is tomorrow. Another young person in our community dead from an opioids.

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