§ion=&combo2=&text1=&text2=&SocNetUsername=&SocNetPassword=&authCode=& 7th Decade Thoughts

7th Decade Thoughts

Thoughts about books, politics and history (personal and otherwise), pictures I've taken and pictures I've edited.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Thoughts on a friend who says she wants to become a piano tuner.

When I was a kid we had a Baldwin baby grand piano--one of the attractions when we bought the house was that the elderly woman selling it wanted to leave some of the furniture--old black Victorian tables and a wonderful overstuffed sofa that my mother made a new slipcover for every few years thereafter--and the piano. I was too young to remember any negotiations, but I'll bet the piano sold it to my mother who played herself and wanted me to take lessons.

I wasn't so enthusiastic once I started lessons. My mother kibitzed constantly. The house was big--the living room was really two rooms with pocket doors between and then a swinging door, a small butler's pantry (where we kept the phone) and then the kitchen. My mother, peeling potatoes at the kitchen sink, would hear every wrong note and missed rhythm when I practiced and yell "count!" or "wrong note!” or "start over!" constantly.

The best part of the piano, though, was the piano tuner. When he'd come, he was fascinating to watch, a taciturn little man in dirty clothes with a bag like a doctor's. He'd replace the felt and then put in moth balls to keep the bugs out. I discovered that I lerved the smell of moth balls! I'd lean over the piano just for the smell, stick my head up under the lid when it was propped up or open it just to smell. Do you suppose a craving for mothballs signals some weird nutritional deficiency? I still associate pianos, especially grand pianos, with the smell of moth balls--and the smell of moth balls with pianos.


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