The Players

I’ve scheduled my first lesson for one week from today.  In between now and then I get to go violin shopping, and I’m looking forward to being in a music store again.  I remember going often as a child, first while accompanying my younger sister on quests for piano stuff, then for my own violin stuff.  What I remember most about the place was the baby grand player piano the store always had running in the basement.

We had a babysitter growing up during the summers.  She took us swimming and on myriad errands, all in her ancient VW Beetle.   We often ended up back at her house, a big old dusty four square of the type common in Wichita’s older neighborhoods.  Second only to the giant trampoline in the backyard as a diversion for us kids were the many player pianos the house contained.

Our babysitter would load up a scroll or a disc (depending on the model) and the piano would play some old sentimental tune, the kind almost everyone can sing along to: Soundtrack Americana.  Of course we sang our hearts out.  There were a couple of Nickelodeons as well, those players that kick it up a notch with drums and other instruments built right into the console, cranking out a mechanical symphony, or, more likely, a march.

The players were there because her dad repaired the anachronisms for a living.  It was the perfect house for it – the whole place seemed mired in the past.  Unlike the old players, which tended to display their workings proudly, that house kept a lot of secrets – secrets only ever alluded to in whispers, even when we did eventually learn about them, many years later, as adults.

Thanks for reading.


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