Monday, 27 February 2017

CARESSING THE KEYS OF MEMORY...



This is another of those tales that I know I intended to relate a while back, but can't remember if I ever actually did so or not.  Anyway, back in 1972 when my family first took up residence in my present abode, the family with whom we swapped houses left a piano behind.  I can no longer recall how long we kept it, whether it was a year, two years - may- be even going on three, but my parents, at some stage, decided to dispense with its seldom-used services.

None of my family played the piano, and apart from a rare visitor occasionally tickling its ivories, the poor 'box in the corner' lay neglected for the most part.  So my father donated it to the town's hospital, and a contingent of youths in the charge of an adult (I have a vague memory they may have been Scouts, but I'm not certain) came to our home one day and wheeled away our unwanted house-guest.  I wonder how it felt being so unceremoniously evicted?

I've long been afflicted with a tendency to imbue inanimate objects with sentience, feelings, emotions - even personality.  What can I say?  I'm off my head!  But did you know that, apparently, when plants and trees are pruned, they scream?  (It's far beyond the ability of human ears to detect, but scientists have registered the 'sound' on audio machines attuned to a certain wavelength.)  True, plants and trees are 'alive' in a sort of way;  they grow - not something that a piano (or any other inanimate item) in the corner of the living-room does.  (As far as anyone knows anyway.)

However, if you cut a leaf in half, and then subject it to a certain kind of infra-red spectrum analysis, the image shows the outline of the full leaf.  So, imagine if a tree, even after being chopped up and made into furniture, yet retains a part of whatever measure of 'awareness' it may have had when it was growing in a forest or field somewhere?  Too far-fetched?  Perhaps, but who can say for sure?

Anyway, where am I going with this you may be wondering.  Years after the fact, I learned that our old piano had been passed onto the church situated across the road from our former abode.  The fellow who told me was one of the boys who had helped remove the piano from our house.  It transpired that he was a friend of a friend, and what's more, coincidentally lived next door to another of our previous homes, though not when we'd lived there.  (Which is neither here nor there, but it's an interesting example of how 'fate' unfolds.)

The woman who now lived in our former residence would undoubtedly have been in that church on occasion, even if only for a jumble sale or a coffee morning.  Given my over-active imagination, I found myself wondering if she might ever have passed her/our old piano without recognising it, and whether it had called out to her in its inaudible voice, not understanding why someone it knew was now ignoring it.  "Hello, it's me - don't you remember me?  I lived with you once and then you went away one day and left me behind.  What did I do wrong?  Did I offend you by being out of tune perhaps?  Why won't you acknowledge me?"

Same goes for myself.  Although no longer living in the area, I was back in that church many a time over the years.  As was my mother in fact, as she attended its Sunday services every week.  I restricted myself to jumble sales and Christmas and Summer fayres, but I surely must have passed the piano, or even stood close to (or against) it on one of my many visits over a period of nearly 20 years.  Did that poor piano also call out to me (or my mother), unable to comprehend why we turned a deaf ear to its cries?

The church was demolished around '91 or '92 (due to structural flaws) and a new (and different) building was erected in its place.  I took numerous photos, both inside and out, before the old church (which had only been completed in 1965 or '66) was erased from the face of the planet, and our old piano - if it hadn't been replaced or dispensed with by that time - is surely in one of those pics.  It was a large church, with two or three pianos in different halls, but I think I got photos of all of them.  Trouble is, they're in a box in the loft at the moment, so I can't check - or illustrate this post with a piccie.  I'll add one later when I find them.

In the meantime, I've used a stock photo of a piano, which will have to do the job for now.  I guess it's always possible that the piano yet survives in the new church building, and now that the thought has occurred to me, I'll make a point of visiting one day to see if it is.  If it's there, I'll be sure to say hello to it, and run my fingers over its keys, just for old times' sake.  If it isn't, I'll gaze upon it's image in one of my photos and bid it goodbye.  After all, it's a friend from the past, and doesn't deserve to be forgotten.

Whatever its fate, hopefully it had a happy life being played for the enjoyment of hospital patients and church groups.  Had we kept it, it's entirely probable that it would never have got to fulfill the purpose for which it was created, and merely been a surface on which to place framed photos or vases.  It was made to make music, and I like to think  that's what it got to do.  (And hopefully yet does.)

Feel free to tell me that I need 're-tuning'.

******

Update:  Below are three photos of two pianos (I think - could be the same one in two different halls).  I took them in the church sometime in the early 1990s, and I'm hoping that one is the piano we had temporary custody of at the beginning of the '70s.  There's no reason why one of them shouldn't be 'ours', so I prefer to believe that one of them is.



 

8 comments:

moonmando said...

You haven't been taking your medication again Kid,have you!
You old anthropomorphistic fool you..... ;)

Kid said...

How can I when my hands are tied behind my back with these long-sleeved pajamas, Moony? Had to type that bloody post with my nose.

paul Mcscotty said...

Errr wow!

I was going to say how do you even manage to get up in the morning, but then I realised that I kind of do something similar when I leave my car (parked for the day or at the shops, football etc) regardless of the station I am listening to at the time (be it Radio Scotland for the football or Clyde 1 to moan at how bad modern music is etc) I always re tune the station to “Smooth” radio as I think my car prefers to listen to that (yeah weird I know) saying that as soon as my car causes issues I either sell it for scrap or trade it in with not a thought of its "feelings"

I saw a documentary of plants where it reported on the fact they make a warning noise (sounds better than screaming) and the send out a sent warning to other plants - gawds even plants seem to be more caring of their own kind than humans are a times

Kid said...

Well, let's just say it's a warning scream, PM, then we're both right. And you're an inhumane b*st*rd, casting off your cars like that. Hang your head in shame. Dunno why, but I've been like this since I was a kid, and I find it next to impossible to part with anything nowadays. At least, that's my excuse for not parting with money when my pals say "It's your round."

Colin Jones said...

I'm reminded of that Diana Ross song "My Old Piano". If you'd learned to play it, Kid, then you could have kept it to this day. Perhaps if you meet the piano again it will cry out "Oh why didn't you learn to play me you b*stard". As for plants - Prince Charles speaks to them but do they speak to him ? Perhaps they'll give him advice when he's king :D

Kid said...

It takes years to learn how to play a piano, CJ - I never had the chance. At least in a hospital and church it would've (hopefully) been played quite regularly. Prince Charles talks to plants - and Clint Eastwood talks to the trees. See? We're all nutters.

John Pitt said...

Ah, the old joanna, my Grandad had one, so when I got the chance to also own one of my own for a fiver, from a family over the road, I didn't let that chance pass by! When I got married it came with me, I kept it in the dining room, but when we moved to our present residence, the downstairs consists of a kitchenette, hall and living room and the missus wouldn't have it in either of the rooms, so it stayed in the hall, jutting out at an angle from underneath the stairs. In the end, she nagged ( I mean pestered ) me to get rid of it and I ended up selling it for that very same fiver to the Community Centre around the corner, where I believe it possibly remains to this very day, to the best of my knowledge?
What is it with wives? - They always want husbands to sell their beloved stuff!
My advice to any blokes that are reading this is, "Don't let them bully you into it! Stand up to the buggers! Be a man and just say, 'NO!' "
( Wish I'd had the guts to! Sigh.... )

Kid said...

Makes you wonder why they marry guys the way they are, JP, and then try and change them into someone else. Crazy or what? That's like buying an apple and then trying to turn it into an orange (or vice-versa). Go 'round to the Community Centre and take a photo of it if it's still there - just for old times' sake.

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