A couple months back we got a phone call from my husband’s aunt, she knew that our son was taking piano lessons, and she wanted to know if we would be interested in providing a new home to Granny’s piano. Her daughter had the piano but was going through a divorce, and the piano needed a new home. I told her we’d need a little time to think about it, pianos are big and I wondered where we’d even put it. My husband’s immediate thought was no and mine was yes – I’m a sucker for old things with stories.
I spent some time thinking about how to rearrange things and decided it was too precious to pass up. Granny had purchased the Chickering piano new 60 some years ago. She loved to play and her three daughters all took lessons. That meant that our son would play on the same piano his great-grandmother and grandmother did. That means something to me.
Thank goodness for a dear friend’s willingness to help us move the 500 plus pound instrument. It fit in the space I’d selected as if we’d built the house with it in mind. A mere two inches or so on each side. Perfect. Well, almost. I really wasn’t a fan of the bench covering. The stitches Granny had lovingly placed were pretty, but also not really my style. I mentioned recovering it to my husband and I sensed some reluctance. However, since we’d tore down my grandmother’s home to build our current dwelling – I figured a bench cover was not negotiable.
As I painstakingly removed the many precisely spaced staples I began to wonder about who put the cover on. I wondered if it was Granny or if stapling was something she would’ve had Grandpa do. I was wearing jeans, a flannel, and flip-flops as I recovered the bench. I imagined she had done this same work in a dress since I don’t recall ever seeing her in pants. I imagined, that like me, she was excited about getting this little project completed. As I thought about how many years ago she had placed the stitches, stretched the fabric, and attached it, those rusty staples took on a luster of precious metal.
For a moment I began to doubt my choice. Maybe change is overrated? But I kept at it. I had the pleasure of meeting Granny on several occasions and I was pretty sure she would’ve given my update her blessing. I could almost hear her saying “whatever.” She made it her own and she would want us to do the same. It also made me speculate about who the next person would be to make it their own.
I had a vision of my future daughter-in-law or grandchild thinking my fabric choice was less than ideal. She would select something more to her liking. She would be anxious to make the change. She would find the staples I put in not perfectly spaced or in a straight line. I thought it might be fun to place a note between the oak and the batting. So before I place the last staples, I will write a note. A note that gives the history of the piano and what Granny’s favorite song to play was. I will thank them for being the caretaker of it. And I will give my blessing to change.