Saturday, October 2, 2010

A Piano in Portland

I took piano lessons throughout my entire childhood and teenage years (starting when I was 6 years old until I graduated high school at 18).  There were definitely times when I wanted to quite and escape the daily hour of practicing, weekend competitions and yearly recitals, but for the vast majority of the time I loved playing the piano (at least that's what I recall looking back on those years).  I have always lived in a house with a piano (for years we even had 2 pianos at the house - imagine the chaos of 2 little girls practicing piano at the same time) so I was always able to just walk downstairs, sit on the bench and play to my heart's desire.  I have really missed having easy access to a piano here in Portland.  There is an electric piano in the chapel at work (which I play every third Tuesday of the month at chapel service), but an electric piano just doesn't have the same feel or sound of a regular piano.

So for the past few weeks, I have been searching online for a free or inexpensive piano.  Alan and his roommates want to have a "music room" in there house and I was put in charge of finding the piano.  After hours of searching, I finally came across a posting that said "Upright Piano free for the taking. At the corner of 32nd and Hoyt, in front of the garage."  So I made that location the end goal of my run yesterday, and in the middle of a 13 mile run, I found the piano sitting in front of the garage and covered with a tarp.  I took a  quick break, played some scales on the keys to hear the tone, decided it was a pretty good deal (since it was free and all), and ran home to call Alan.  He and his 3 roommates and I piled into Scott's little truck, drove to the Laurelhurst neighborhood and picked up the piano.  It was quite a feat getting this piano into the back of the truck - we even had to recruit a random guy walking down the street to help.  But we (actually the boys - I tried to stay out of the way) got it in the truck bed, strapped it down and Scott drove the mile and a half extra slow and carefully while Alan and Chad pounded chords (or really just random notes) all the way home.  Just imagine you're walking down Burnside (the busiest street in the heart of Portland) and a little white truck with a huge oak piano passes by spreading piano music and laughter as it goes... it was quite hilarious.

The guys somehow managed to get the piano into their house without damaging their hardwood floors, their backs, or the instrument (well maybe a few scratches here or there).  I have to say it's not the best piano I've ever seen or heard: several ivory pieces of the keys have broken off and need to be glued back on, a few keys stick unless you pound them about 10 times, and once we got it to the house I realized that there are no pedals on the piano (we are currently using a screwdriver for a pedal until I find the right replacement pedals).  Oh well, it was free and it plays so we'll take it!

I brought a few of my favorite piano books up here with me and played through them for a good while last night.  Then I taught Alan the piano basics and he practiced in on of my old Christmas song books - he caught on pretty well and I wouldn't be suprised if he's practicing the piano right now.  I'm pretty excited to have easy access to a piano up here now - finally!

making a game plan for moving the piano

the previous piano owner, the random guy who stopped to help, and the boys lifting the piano into the truck

strapping it in for the ride home

thankful the piano didn't fall out - strategizing how to get the piano in the house

Scott taking a break to tickle the ivories with the piano half way out of the truck

it was tricky getting it through the door

the free piano - isn't she a beaut'?!

To Mrs. Lindsey
I truly believe the reason I love piano so much is because you were such a great teacher - seriously! You have been such a wonderful influence on my life ever since I was 6 years old and if I still lived in Waco I would want to start taking piano lessons from you again!  So many people say that they really regret quiting piano lessons when they were young.  Thank you for always encouraging me to continue playing and for teaching me all that I know!

2 ½ year old Mary learning to read music and play the piano young!


  1. Well done.. loved reading that. It will be interesting for people to know, too, that many of these old uprights offer super quality in contrast to many new consoles you're likely to find on the showroom floors. With a little TLC from a qualified piano technician, you can surprise yourself with what a dynamic instrument you can wind up owning for very little money.

  2. This is so great! You MUST add to your blog the part about how you remedied the "no pedals" dilemma. That's the best part!

  3. Mary, Duane and I got such a big kick out of this post! How great that you found the piano and fun that is! Thank you for your precious personal comments to me. That made me cry......but it was a good kind of tears of joy! Duane's mom passed away this weekend and we have been shedding tears of sorrow, so tears of joy were a welcomed relief!
    I love you mucho!!!