THE SOUND OF SILENCE.
There’s no end to a living death. I recover from one heart-breaking loss only to face another devastating challenge.
I’ve nearly depleted my savings, trying to sell my house. Of course, it’s not just another real estate listing. It’s been apparent since last year that power and money have played a major role in preventing me from moving-on with my life. But that’s another story for later.
For months, I’ve been selling everything to keep from losing my house as I pray for it to sell. Normally, I would have eagerly returned to teaching voice students in my home-- a rare opportunity---but, without a piano...teaching voice wasn't an option. Reluctantly, with no other choice, I found a piano company to buy my piano. Located in Indiana, the very nice people will be moving it from my house this week. They paid four thousand dollars for a piano that—if restored to greatness—would be worth more than seventy five thousand dollars.
Can you believe that my beautiful Steinway, the piano that served me so-faithfully, as both a singer and voice teacher, is leaving my life forever??!?! No one should be forced to sell their music partner-- their long-time musical friend, even-when that beloved instrument has lost its sound, its voice, its rhythm. Only because I’m desperate for money did I reach this point. For the past nine years, I kept hoping I’d have enough money to fix my friend so the two of us could grow old together... make music again. But now, that will never happen.
If you haven’t read my book, perhaps the chapter that details my Steinway will offer more insight into my loss.
From My Book: During the mid- nineties, my oldest daughter contacted me in China, asking if her daddy could take my piano out of storage so his church could have music. She explained the ex-family’s church had no music because their old and fragile church organ required total restoration that would take time.
After talking about it for several days, I said yes. My decision was based on my daughter’s promise to prepare a legal and bidding contract so Jack, my ex, would be responsible for keeping the valuable Steinway grand in perfect condition and insuring its safety.
Several years later, after the piano had been moved to Jack’s church, I asked my daughter about my copy of the contract. The friendly and respectful atmosphere between the two of us suddenly changed. Myra, defending her father, said “Mother, you know Daddy will do the right thing!! I didn't intend to insult his intelligence by making him sign a petty contract. His word is enough for me and should be for you.”
Did I hear her correctly, “Daddy will do the right thing?” Daddy’s word should be enough?” Yes, always the pleaser, I had allowed my daughter to play on my emotions when she said daddy’s Church didn’t have any music. Knowing my love of church music, she’d convinced me to let Jack remove the piano from storage and move it to the Presbyterian Church, the ex-family’s church. Myra was well-aware of my history with her father. She knew every time I trusted Jack and his family, I got screwed.
Nine Years ago, after purchasing my house in Little Rock, I watched as the moving company placed the magnificent instrument in my music room. It had been more than twenty years since I’d seen my piano—my dependable, loving, and trusted friend. It was a very emotional experience, like being reunited with a lost love. The piano appeared to be in good shape but, when I sat down to play it, every key I hit was soundless; rather than popping back up after being struck, the keys stayed down. Key after key was the same, the piano was completely dead. I called the most experienced piano tuner I knew and, in turn, he sought the expertise of several piano technicians, including a former Steinway specialist.
After meeting as a group to discuss their findings, they reluctantly shared their verdict with me. Someone had rubbed or sprayed the piano’s felts and strings with a waxy oil or glue. My classic, last-of-the-hand-made Steinways, a magnificent instrument that had served me well---as both a voice teacher and a performer—had been permanently silenced.
All estimates to restore my valuable piano averaged between 9,000 and 12,000 dollars. The professionals agreed that restoring the piano to its former self would place its value at more than seventy-five thousand dollars.
So, my kindness turned into my loss. I should have known better than to trust my ex and his family. They are the enemy but I trusted they would appreciate my gift of music, my generosity, and…treat my piano with respect as it sat in God’s House. Most disappointing of all, I trusted my daughter.
When I asked Myra to discuss the piano’s horrible condition with her father and emphasis his financial responsibility for having the piano repaired, my daughter refused to discuss the matter. Her rather-flippant response was: “It’s your piano, Mother. If you believe he should pay to have it fixed, you call him.”
So—my elegant piano sits in my music room--- silent, mute, unable to express itself. Just like me—the piano no longer performs---due to years of mistreatment and abuse.