Posted by: Debbie Abrams Kaplan | November 15, 2016

The Piano

I got a little weepy today when the piano movers came to the house. It was pouring down rain, not really a good day for a piano delivery. Yes, they were delivering a new piano we purchased last week. It was a a rather sudden purchase, though one we knew we wanted to make for some time. Our old piano, which got us through our son’s first six years of lessons, was not enough anymore. The keys would stick and there was only so much our tuner could do for this 1935 relic. After pouring money into maintenance and fixes, we learned the tuner had done as much as he could do and we should think about an upgrade.


So when our son saw a piano store sale ad in the coupon mailer that came to the house, he said “when can we go?” The place was an hour away, but directly on the route we were taking for vacation later that week. We decided to just stop by and look. I hadn’t researched pianos. I had no idea what they cost. And I’m not an impulsive shopper.

I purchased our first piano after reading a posting on a local email group in May, 2010. Someone in town was selling things off for a homeowner. The baby grand was was $200. I asked if I could come over to see it and bring a piano tuner to check it out. We went, and the piano sounded awful. He said it was salvageable, and it would probably cost $700 for multiple tunings and additional work to get it functional again, but it would be a good starter piano.

It looked pretty nice for a 1935 piano that had some scratches on the wood. But where we’d place it, you wouldn’t really see all the scratches. Once it was tuned up, the tuner thought it would be worth probably $2,000. I offered to buy it and the woman said I had to bid on it on eBay. Who buys a piano on eBay? Well, a guy who planned to move the piano to Mexico, that’s who. I lost out on the piano until he backed out, and then I bought it for $100 and had to pay $250 for a moving company to transport it 2 miles to our house (I learned all about how to move a piano after checking out “how to move a baby grand piano” on YouTube – and realized we really needed to hire someone).


not its good side

I’m the only one who is sentimental about the piano, though even I’ll say that we needed a new one.

At the piano store, Zack fell in love with a black, shiny upright piano. Admittedly it sounded better than anything else in our price range, including the used baby grands that I liked so much more. But he was so excited and it really did sound nice. We handed over the credit card and marveled during vacation that we just bought a new piano.


The movers drove up in the rain this morning, sliding it down a slippery ramp, over a brick walkway and onto wood floors that were just cleaned yesterday. The upright was the easy one, it turns out. When we bought this piano, we asked the piano company to take our old piano. I figured I’d give it away when it came time, but I knew that giving away a piano is difficult. After all, moving the thing is expensive and/or difficult if you do it yourself. So if the piano company would pay for the movers, all the better. One of the delivery guys called the store to ask what to do with it. “It’s a Whitney,” he said into the phone. He got off and said “we’re taking it to the cemetery.”

That made me sad.


It took the guys awhile (and a cup of Peet’s coffee each) to strap up the piano, remove the legs and get it on the stretcher (which then went on the rollers). Then to get it down the front steps of the house (fortunately only 2). Then they carted away the bench, which is rickety and not attractive, but it held music. Our new bench does not.


There’s a lot more room now in our living room, and the shiny black piano doesn’t fit in aesthetically as well as the brown wood piano did before. We also need to rehang our ketubah. But the piano sounds great, and Zack was so excited to come home and play it.


  1. Love the piano–and the ketubah!

  2. In an elegant act of misdirection, my Dad tried to camouflage a pending.surprise BD party for my Mom by sneaking a piano into our living room. (Just imagine grown men sneaking a grand piano into our living room as Mom slept in on her birthday upstairs. Add to that the giggles me and my sisters had as this was happening.)

    Now you have to understand the bedrooms are upstairs in my parents’ house and there is a curved staircase to get down to the lower level. The piano lived (and still does) under the curved staircase. So my Mom wakes up stumbles downstairs, turns right into the living room and completely misses the piano.

    Now what? So my Dad goes into the living room in mock anger and screams, “Dammit Sherri, (my Mom), lol what the cat did to the wallpaper!”

    She comes running in and finally discovers the piano she had totally missed before.

    A classic story in Lipman lore…

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