This is a Piano with a Real History!
Let me tell you of the history of this piano, if you have but a moment to read further.
Here on the twenty-seventh anniversary of the moment when this piano came into my possession, I realize now it may be time to let it move onto a new home.
Twenty-seven years ago on November 11, 1992, (11-11), a tragedy attacked me, the severity of which I had barely experienced before or even fractionally since. My young wife Hilly, pregnant with our second child, driving to the doctor for a last moment check, only a single day before the scheduled Cesarean birth, was struck by a large truck, a car accident, her life and the already loved nearly new-born child’s in her womb where instantly snuffed from this existence. I later heard the man weepingly say; “He never saw the red light.”
What does this have to do with a piano?
The surviving spouse, myself, “You do what you need to do.” I was a practicing physical therapist, I had patients, but more importantly I had a surviving two and half year old daughter I needed to go on for. If I had my choice I would left, gone somewhere, anywhere, nowhere, maybe checked out, for my young wife was then the love of my life. She was the woman I gave up home, school, and even land for, traveling to Europe, falling in love, only to later bring her back to the States to build a life together, for this end!
But I still had a daughter, so I went on.
Two or three days after her death, I found myself working on a new patient, a pleasant man, one I hardly remember, much like the majority of that time period which is still clouded, fog-like clouds people seem to experience when they have tragically lost a Loved One.
The man, I had never seen before, seemed to know about the tragedy, that too seemed strange since I would speak nothing of it, but with a soft heart and even more sensitive voice he asked me how I was holding up, seeming to direct the thoughts to how my young daughter was doing as well? Then, I’m not sure how, it came onto the topic, the man seemed to instinctively know that I had either already started my young daughter on piano lessons, played the piano myself, or that I was planning on it.
Either way, he said immediately; “I own a piano store over in the center of town. You come in there and if you want one, any one, I will give it to you at the same price I paid.”
“Any one you want, you pick. It will be my gift to you, new sounds, new beginnings, for you and your daughter in your home.”
I went the next day and the man himself didn’t happen to be there. When I told the sales manager what he had said, the manager reported that the man had already shared with him I might be coming in and specifically told him that I was to be shown everything they had, hopefully to find something I like. He reiterated; “He told me to give you whichever piano you wanted at our cost.”
So we looked through the showroom, which was filled with all kinds of beautiful new and even a few used pianos, all looked new and expensive. Names I knew, some I never heard of, all beautiful, grandiose, and all very expensive. I told the sales manager, while I appreciated the offer, I was just starting out and was really only looking for nice piano for our home, my budget was way under these on display. Then he offered to show me a few more older used ones they had in the back.
He was very kind and helpful, asking what exactly I might be looking for? I said; “I’m not really sure, I like the more wood looking, maybe older style, but I still would like a Grand Piano, maybe Baby Grand, I don’t know?”
He then directed me way back to rear of the building stating he thought he had just the thing? “A piano just came in that we purchased at an estate auction just this last weekend. It’s still in the shipping box, all I know is it’s old, it works, and I believe it is a Mahogany Grand piano. I believe the cost is in your budget.”
He took the top off the crate and I look in, it looked perfect. “If you want this one, we will just unpack it, make sure it works, maybe clean it up for you and then deliver it to your home. You can have it for the same price we paid?”
“Thank you, it’s perfect, I will take it, and please thank the owner for me.”
Later that day I got a call from the man, my patient. “I want to make sure before we send that piano out to you that you really want it? We had no idea what was in that crate until we unboxed it.”
“Is it ok?” I asked.
“It’s better than ok, that piano is a 1925 Steinway and in perfect condition. It is yours, but if you would rather have a new one, I would gladly trade it for any of the pianos in my store including any of the new Steinways I have for the price you paid for that one?”
“If you are reconsidering, I totally understand, but I really like the idea it’s an old one.” I said, still trying to comprehend everything he was saying to me.
“No, I’m not reconsidering at all, the piano is yours, I know it was meant to be yours, New beginnings! I just wanted you to realize the value so when you insure it, you will set it high enough. A New Steinway of that model is at least $65-80,000, and this one is original and from an era when the quality and materials of the pianos makes it extremely desirable.”
“Not to mention I have come to find out, we purchased it from an estate that brought it out to Arizona directly from the factory, and it has never been anywhere else.”
“It was supposed to come to you, enjoy,” he said with the most pleasant and well-wishing voice, I thanked the man as he hung up. A few days later the piano showed up.
They set it up, tune it, as a matter of fact, the tuner was himself a concert pianist who tunes pianos for extra money, he said; “This is the best sounding Grand Piano I have ever played on, it was an honor to play on such an instrument,” as he played a few beautiful short pieces for me.
It was absolutely spectacular, exactly as it stands today.
I never saw the piano store Owner again, he never came back for another visit. I would pass his store a few times usually at lunch break, occasionally even stopping in, but he was never there when I would. A few years later I noticed the shop had closed, or was sold, either way it was gone.
Many years later, after many years of fog and wandering in wilderness, I have finally came to the realization that store owner that came into my office that day must have been an angel. The piano, was a gift from God.
“A Gift for New Sounds, New Beginnings?”
Now here I am twenty-seven years later, on the anniversary of that event, suddenly thinking of this piano and the miraculous way it came into my home. I have finally found a New Love, the Restoration, God in His infinite mercy has restored what was taken all those years ago. My new wife and I find ourselves on again with “New Beginnings,” new paths, promptings to go where God would take us on this journey, and with the labors of our hearts and hands.
We are stepping out of our normal medical caregivers path of only treating peoples bodies, and venturing down one of environmental health for the purpose of healing people in their Mind, Bodies and most importantly Spirits.
I could feel God telling me; “The Piano can go to someone else now, someone who might carry its beautiful sound into another story. Maybe somebody who would like to join you on your path of helping others.”
The money we will use to further facilitate the opening of our new business Global Environmental Mindfulness (GEM) Industries, a Health and Wellness minded environmental company. But really it will be used to help others, allow us to continue our writing and build a company that puts God at the head of any of its concerns. If God wants this gift to go to someone else at this junction of the path my wife and I are on, then these individual might wish to contribute to that path with support their own gifts will provide.
By Peter Colla
“Lord thank you for the infinite gifts you have given me, and thank you for the honor to share those gifts with others as well.”