A Weighty Piano Tale

Yesterday I wrote about releasing emotional baggage along with white elephants. But sometimes, a metaphorical overnight bag lurks in the lost emotional luggage office after the elephant was moved on.

Once upon a time long long ago my grandmother bought a piano.  My mother learned to play it, and when I was young, I played it when I was visiting.  After my grandparents died the piano traveled across half the country to our house. Later, after we kids were grown and gone, and my parents began to think about moving to a smaller house, my mother asked me to take the piano. I was a professional musician in those days, so the plan made sense.

In those days I lived in an apartment building with an elevator, and a piano salesroom in the next building. What a great setup!  When the piano drew nigh I contracted their movers to shift that piano up to my apartment.


The elevator proved too small; the stairs were impossible to negotiate, so the piano ended up in storage above the showroom for a couple of years.

By great good fortune, just as they decided they wouldn’t store pianos anymore, I moved to a townhouse, so into my new home it came.  It followed me through two more local moves.  I played it every now and then for several years.

Then, as I mentioned in yesterday’s post, the time came for me to move on.  I knew for certain that I did not want to move that piano anymore.

I called my mother.

“Mother,” I said, “The music program where I’ve been teaching would be overjoyed to accept our piano for their special division which offers music lessons to inner-city children who otherwise would never have the opportunity to learn to play. They are willing to come move it. Our piano will be a godsend for the program. May I give it to them?”

(As God is my witness) she agreed.

So, with light heart, open hands and a clear conscience, I gave our piano to a new home to delight a new generation of musicians.

Years and years later, my aging mother complained that I’d given away her family piano. I asked whether she remembered our conversation.  The wind shifted with an, “Oh never you mind,” and that was that.   The matter lay quietly between us never again to be mentioned.

Sometimes a piano can get really, really heavy.

(The featured photo is of my cat atop my current and thoroughly covered piano.)

Author: American Declutterer

I've had three careers, moved among thirteen states, and cleared four houses after loved ones moved on. Sometimes you just have to look at all the stuff and laugh. Then get back to discarding.

3 thoughts on “A Weighty Piano Tale”

  1. I’m surprised your mother let you give HER piano away- she probably regretted it and years later was still thinking about it. Things that we as parents think are important our children may not.


    1. You are so right! And of course it works both ways…. Most ex-children (and that is all of us) have regrets about something precious their parents trashed without warning. But, Pam! That is exactly why I called her in the first place. I knew she had an emotional investment in that piano. I would have been happy to return it to her.
      One of the great barriers to decluttering is Other People’s ties to the stuff we have stuffed into our houses.


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