Oh, That Magical Player Piano!

Our Nana had a magical player piano.
She lived about two miles away in town.
My sister and I set off to visit Nana.
I was four and my sister was two.

Precocious for my age, I confidently walked
into town and across main streets.
After looking both ways before crossing,
I picked up my diaper-clad sister and carried her

across intersections. Mind you, this
was a small town with minimal traffic.
We were used to playing outdoors
for long periods. Nana was surprised

to see us. Where is your mother? At home.
Nana phoned our mother coyly asking if she knew
where her daughters were. Of course.
Outdoors playing. No. They’re here

with me playing the piano and singing. Can
you hear them? Our mother gasped and
said she’d come get us. She had to walk too.
No extra car in those days. But

I reassured her I had looked both
ways before crossing streets. Our Guardian Angels
had worked overtime to keep us safe. The
pull of music was strong even at an early age.

This entry was posted in Guardian Angels, magical music, Nana, player piano and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

38 Responses to Oh, That Magical Player Piano!

  1. Sweet post, lovely Nana – thank you – amitiés 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s a wonderful story.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Anne, thank you. My little sister had curly red hair, was chubby in her diapers and heavy for me to lift. But I felt for her safety to carry her across intersections. What a shock my mother probably had. Hahaha. It was a different world back then! Have a good weekend! oxox

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      • You were extraordinary! oxox

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      • Anne, it is unclear to me how I knew the way. Perhaps our mother had walked there with us to visit her mother. It was a different pace of life. I would have been beside myself if I had received the phone call. Rural America was a wonderful place to grow up and still is. Thanks again. Music must have driven me to do this. oxox

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      • I grew up in a small town, but it wasn’t as small as yours. Still, it was a wonderful place to live. oxox

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      • Anne – thank you for your kind comment. Driving through that town today, while it is still small, probably amounted to about 6,000-8,000 when we lived there. There was still not much traffic since not everyone owned cars. My Dad came home with a car when we lived in another small town a couple years later. It must have been difficult getting groceries and taking us to the doctor. People simply walked everywhere. oxox

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      • Our county had about 5,000 people. The town was on a hill, though, so the town square was the hub. You often had to go through the center to get anywhere else. It might have taken 45 minutes to walk to my best friend’s house. In the South, no one walked anywhere if they could help it. It was too hot! oxox

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      • Anne, so very true about hot in the South – and humid! Well, four year old and two year old legs probably made our journey more than 45 min. Some day if I return there, I should try the walk with adult legs. There were lots of hills as I recall but once on Main St., most was flat and easier going, Haha. I get tired when I think of things people did and had to do in former times. The Town Hall still features the black hitching posts for hitching the horses while running errands. Our house dated to around 1880 so I imagine the paved roads came much later. oxox

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      • When I was a girl, country people came to town to shop and visit with each other. There were always farm wagons pulled by mules. The wagons may have been right on the square until a special place was set aside a block away. I wish I had thought to ask when my grandparents’ houses were built. There were no closets in either of them. oxox

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      • Correct. People used wardrobes instead of closets. My parents purchased the house with a grand piano and all the furniture inside after the two maiden aunts died. The house was actually built around the grand piano. It was so cool. Every Christmas Eve, my mother set out a plate of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies for Santa. I still have some of the antique furniture. Before electricity, a candle burn was actually left on a drawer. It gives it character, and I never wanted it fixed. Probably dates to around 1820-1830. Wagons and mules were something out in the Wild West too. It’s just so cool. You should do a blog on Meeting in Town. I love our conversations. Off to sing now at church. oxox

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      • That is cool that the house was built around the piano. We had a hard time finding a house to buy in NC, because we have a grand piano. I’m glad you still have some of the antique furniture. oxox

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      • So did your grand piano go in a window? I am looking to donate some to a museum in the same town where my Nana lived. I really don’t think my children want any of it, but one never knows. The chairs are made without nails. They moved to Colorado and back here to me eventually. Still have the dining room table too. oxox

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      • Our piano is in an inner corner of the living room. We were advised to keep it away from windows.

        Our oldest furniture came from my dad’s folks. I have the four-poster bed. It was rather roughly made, and it isn’t valuable because someone cut down the legs before my grandmother got it. There is another piece we always called the secretary. There is a cabinet above for displaying objects, and a writing desk that folds out. I’m happy to have my other grandmother’s round oak dining table. John’s godfather gave us his dining room table, seating 12 easily. Because we use these pieces, they will have meaning for our grandsons. oxox

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      • An interior wall for pianos is always advised. I love secretaries. Our Dad got an old lift top school desk with the inkwell, painted it red and put it in a nook in the kitchen near the phone for our Mom. I have one captain’s chair from my mother’s great grandfather so is that my great, great grandfather? Anyway he was short and also cut off the legs. I love this chair since I am now short too. Our dining room table has leaves to put in to make longer for a larger group. I imagine it can seat 25-30 but our house would have no room to expand that large. I have added one extra when we had a larger group. Our entertaining days are over, but if family gathers, it is good to make the table larger. I love round tables too. Four-poster beds were very New England style too. I have managed to combine Danish modern and some Amish pieces to make for quite some collection of pieces. No one wants all the dish sets we have either. So? Who knows? We read of an earthquake in NC at 5.1 -did it affect you? oxox

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      • You have some interesting pieces.

        Neighbor Joyce felt the earthquake, but we were hurrying to get ready to go to church and didn’t notice it. My brother felt it in Winston-Salem. His wife slept through it, so I don’t feel bad about missing it. oxox

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      • You are too funny. In college at CU Boulder, I had just walked up the hill from housing when people ran outside in pajamas asking “did you feel it?” Minor, very minor earthquake. A cousin of mine was driving her brand new car in CA and pulled into a service station and told the attendant something was wrong with her steering wheel. He simply deadpanned: “Lady, your steering wheel is fine. You just drove in an earthquake.” I too would not feel badly about missing it. So you are back at church indoors now? Good. Seems we both have food for several blog topics! Have a good week. oxox

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      • John’s sister and her husband were driving near the epicenter of one of the last major earthquakes in CA, one where lots of big bridges fell down. They thought something was wrong with their tires. It was quite an experience.

        We are still having church outside. So far the weather has been great — not too hot and no rain. oxox

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      • Re earthquakes: one of my cousins taught critical care nursing as a volunteer in Nepal and was in the country when the major one hit Katmandu. He was ok and only experiences after shocks and tremors. What an experience John had in CA. There was a very, very minor one in Western NY. I recall sitting in a chair reading and wondering why it felt as if the chair was moving.

        So, no one in NC has sued to have churches open? If your numbers are low enough, I wonder why not? oxox

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      • I think there was a suit about opening churches in NC. Yes! John said it was the church our music director grew up in. They won.

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      • Good for them. It is our constitutional right to worship. So what are the new rules? A certain % allowed?

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      • John was the one who told me about the lawsuit, so I never knew the particulars. I don’t think we are going inside until weather forces us to. Our congregation has lots of older people who are choosing to worship on line rather than risk being with people. oxox

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      • Anne, thanks for the information. We rather closely follow it especially with weddings and receptions. Our daughter is getting married soon. It seems to go back and forth. Schools too. Many of our parishioners also do online although we have a good sized group attend on Sat. nights. Singing in our small choir works for us too. oxox

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      • We’re beginning to figure things out, aren’t we? Americans are showing some spirit and ingenuity. oxox

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      • We are. Back to our founding fathers and roots. Americans are tough! oxox

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      • I hope the toughness and the caring will be in evidence everywhere.

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      • I hope so as well. I try not to stick to other topics. oxox

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  3. Mabel Kwong says:

    This is a lovely little anecdote, Mary. So plucky of you and your sister to walk over to your grandmother’s house for a fun afternoon of piano tunes with her. I hope your mum didn’t mind too much in the end. Sounds like you were guided by music from a very young age and lovely how it’s a big part of you today. Music is such a powerful thing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mabel, thank you for the lovely comment. By today’s standards, walking the same distance and with my younger sister along must have been quite a feat. Music has always been food for the soul for me and, yes, very powerful. I do not recall harsh words either. Enjoy the weekend. “”__””

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  4. Peter Klopp says:

    What a lovely story about your early childhood memories, Mary Ann! Will we ever get back the days when children can go outside and play without being supervised? Growing up in Germany I recall leaving home after lunch and coming back for supper. The children today have lost this kind of freedom, as the world is no longer safe for them, especially in the cities. Have a great weekend, Mary Ann!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Peter, your lovely comment is much appreciated. Thank you. We were the lucky ones to enjoy the freedom of unfettered outdoor play which city kids unfortunately can’t enjoy. I wish that all children could experience those joys. We played games with friends, made up the rules and settled disputes too. I pray that those days return. Have a lovely weekend. Be well and safe. “”__””

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Leif Price says:

    Oh, that’s a beautiful and lovely story! Great childhood memories to cherish!

    Liked by 1 person

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