Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Knabe Adoption

I sold my piano yesterday. The piano I was willed at 10 years of age when my paternal grandmother died. Last night, I went and picked up the official cashier’s check from the woman who now officially owns my Knabe baby grand. I assume it’s what giving up a child for adoption must feel like; it’s the closest I’ve ever come, at least. I was a little wigged out to see it sitting in someone else’s living room, but I believe it’s in good (and wealthy) hands.

Its new home is one of your quintessential three-car garage type homes (because two drivers, a stay-at-home-mom included, apparently NEED three automobiles). An old home that still has its character, its grand wrought-iron winding staircase in a breathtaking foyer, with elements of the nouveau riche, just begging for stainless steel appliances and a BMW in the driveway.

The room my piano is now in is a beautiful one, to say the least. It’s almost as if it was made for a grand piano; it’s big and grand itself, and the acoustics are perfect. The new owner spoke of plans to heighten the ceiling by "a story or two"...she also spoke of her 8-year old son starting lessons in a few months; I was four when I started, and near his age when I myself got the piano, so it was like a ritualistic passing of the torch. He better be playing Rachmaninoff in a year to do it justice. I'm just sayin.

She must’ve sensed my underlying sadness (that I thought I was hiding very well, actually), as she looked at me and said, "I know this is hard for you; I’ll send you pictures when we re-do the room to have three-story vaulted ceiling put in. Maybe I'll send you some at Christmas every year..." Then, she hugged me.

Yep. My baby has been adopted.

On my way home, I thought about where it would be in twenty years. If her little boy would get married, ultimately screwed in an icky divorce, and have to sell it himself to pay off some lingering credit card bills. Huh. Who knows...he’ll end up his generation’s Liberace, fabulously gay, talented, rich and famous, and I will point to his image on the Tonight Show and say, "He learned to play on my piano."

It could happen.

So, the end of an era is gone. Kind of like when Cheers went off the air. You knew it was going to happen, but it still sucks when it does. Someday, I’ll have another piano, but for now, I did what I had to do. And, I know my grandmother would understand why I did it. After all, she is the figurehead who taught me to handle things with grace, and if you can’t make ends meet, at least match your shoes, purse, and hat to form an ensemble. That'll help you at least FAKE the grace part, anyway.

Oh, and I have bronchitis. Welcome to the Midwest.