Our Home Piano

The piano lived in the sitting room which like many front rooms was used for entertaining guests. On a Sunday night in the winter we would have our evening meal there. As the fire had been lit to air out the room, we made toasted sandwiches with leftover meat and veg. These were delicious and I often wonder what happened to the round iron sandwich maker. Mum would play the piano after we’d eaten and we’d sing from one of the many books of assorted songs. We all had our favourites.

Of course, I had to practice my music in the front room. I quickly learned the pieces by heart and would prop a book on the music stand and read while I played. One day I nearly leapt off the stool when my mother crept up behind me. I found out later she could see me from the mirror in the hall and had to be more careful after that discovery. I practiced thirty minutes a day to reach Sister Olga’s standards and Mum made sure I did.

We did a lot of singing around the piano.In the 1950;s, a large family from the Netherlands came to live in our small town. The boys liked singing and foten came to our place for a sing song on Saturday nights. Mum used to practice her pieces for her singing group.

The piano had to move into the living room when it was extended to include my parents’ bedroom and their bed moved into the front room. It had to move to another town when Mum and Dad sold the house. I liked to play it on my trips home. Of course, I was pretty rusty as I had not piano of my own. I went back to New Zealand when my father was dying and he asked me to play for him. I played many wrong notes and sometimes banged my hands on the keys in frustration. Dad asked me to continue so I did, very conscious of my ineptitude but aware of the fact he needed to hear the old songs and hymns again.

I on’t know what happened to the piano when Mum sold the house. I assume she found a new home for it as there was no room in her new place. I miss having a piano even though my playing deteriorated over the years. Sister Olga would have said that was due to lack of practice. and she would have been quite right.