The Life I Want – Transition Part 1

Lara Casey challenges us to look ahead to when we’re 85, and to envision what sort of life we want to look back on; the move was about building a new life for myself, for making the rest of my life something to be glad of and grateful for. I decided I wanted to start from scratch; if I didn’t absolutely need it (kitchen ware) or love it (my antique bedframe), or have a strong investment in it (35+ boxes of books and music) it would not come with me. I sold, donated, or trashed far more than I brought.

My first morning in town, I went to buy appliances. I’d intended to wait a few days before looking for a piano, but there was that tiny interior nudge, and I Googled Pianos . . . and found a piano dealer not ten minutes from the appliance shop. Well, it would be a total waste of time and energy to make a separate trip, right? So I drove over . . . just to look, you understand. A Steinway concert grand stood in front of the showroom, a splendid instrument but far too rich for my budget. I introduced myself to the owner of the shop (since become a victim of the Covid shutdown — will we ever know the extent of the damage caused by the political response to this virus?) and told him I wanted a nice used studio piano. He had a couple, but as he led me to them, I was distracted by the sight of yellowed keys on a dark instrument at the very back of the showroom.

“Oooh! What’s this?” “This” was a petite grand piano, long neglected, now in process of being refurbished . . . a full tone flat, he warned me, but in tune with itself. Well, I don’t anticipate working with other instrumentalists, and when I do I have access to another instrument at my new church job, so . . . I sat down and touched the keys. . . and fell in love. A prior owner had stripped all the lovely protective varnish and with it the nomenclature plate — the tuner couldn’t even find one inside the guts where one is usually attached, so I have no idea who manufactured this lovely instrument. But I was in love, and I bought her on the spot.

A piano, one easy chair, a lawn chair and wicker settee did not meet the needs of a furnished home, and I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do to remedy that situation. In the meantime the covid shutdowns were announced.

On Facebook I found word of an upcoming estate sale. This sounded interesting — and I drove an hour SE to the home of a retired, downsizing teacher. . . where I found several art works I simply loved, and a couple of kitchen items. . . and a Queen Anne chair . . . and two new friends, the sisters who operate the estate sale business. Through them I furnished the new house — except for some bookshelves and a desk ordered through Ikea. I now have a home I dearly love and enjoy and am glad to have people come visit.

It’s not complete, yet. I still have to shift things around a bit and add the really personal “grace notes.” But every time I walk in the door and see “Fannie Mendelssohn” (the piano), and the rich red brocaded settee, and the room in its fullness, I feel a surge of joy.

I wasn’t able to work right away, which has been a hardship. This is a part of the country that even before the shutdown was in an economic depression due to state and federal regulations of the energy industry. With the shutdown, even those with disposable income were being very cautious, in case that money was needed for essentials. I went five months without a paycheck, and that paycheck is for the part-time church work. But gradually things are picking up with teaching piano (Fannie Mendelssohn is a wonderful piano to teach from!) and some supplemental playing at other places (funerals). I feel the tide has turned on that score and I’m going to be okay. I have to be very cautious for a couple more months, but I’m not worried.

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