When we were growing up we always had a piano around. When we were very young, and my parents had first come to the United States, we didn't have the resources or space to have a piano, but my parents considered it important enough that they went out and procured a very old and very free piano from some sort of garage sale and then managed to get it back to our apartment. I think the story is that they had to borrow a truck from some kind stranger and then somehow lugged it up to our small apartment. My parents now describe it as old and decrepit, but I don't remember it that way. I remember it being a fixture in our home, I remember learning to play piano on it, and I remember it bonding my sisters and I and cementing our love of music.
During high school we didn't have a piano at home but we did live on a campus that had a chapel where I would go to play whenever I was so compelled, and we also attended a church where I was involved with the worship team, which meant access to a lovely piano.
In college, I continued playing and singing with a worship team, and I also discovered these rooms that the music department had available for music majors to go and practice piano, so I would go to play there at least once a week.
The years after college took me to Korea, throughout travels in Europe, New Jersey, and then back to Richmond. When I started law school here in Richmond, I lived in an apartment downtown that did not have a piano and I found my self sorely missing access being able to play. I purchased a keyboard that I played for a while, but eventually I ended up selling that keyboard. This was seven years ago and since then I have been hankering after another piano to call my own.
The places that we lived in after marriage wasn't conducive for a piano, and more importantly, they were temporary places. When we bought our first house, I started daydreaming about one, but there wasn't a proper place for one. Even still, I was constantly looking for pianos on Craigslist, and I frequently went to go look at them, but I didn't find one that hit my requirements of good condition, good sound and reasonable price. The hardest part being, of course trying to get a piano moved into our place, even if the piano was to be free, there was the moving and tuning costs, which were not inexpensive.
Then we moved into the house we are in now and I found a perfect place for one, and I ramped up my search. I played several a piano by going to meet the piano, but it never felt quite right. I even considered going the route of a keyboard, just to eliminate the hassle of moving a piano, but in my heart of hearts I wanted a piano. I wanted the soul connection of coaxing music from ivory keys and feeling the resounding sound in my bones. I came across an ad for a particular piano that I was sure I wasn't going to get because it was old and there was very little information about the piano, which is usually a bad sign. But it was close to my work and so during one of my lunch breaks I went to go and take a look. It was old and hadn't been used in a while and it wasn't in the best condition but as soon as I played it I felt a glee come over me. The end of this story is obvious from that photo above, but I got her! I actually went to go see a couple of other pianos after this one, but none I liked as much. She still needs a tuning and one of the keys needs repair, but I love her.
Not to be too dramatic, but there has always been a place in my heart that yearned for a piano. I would sometimes feel the ache underneath my fingertips, and I daydreamed about being able to play to my heart's content. And now that our two girls are filling the house with their joy and love of song and dance, I wanted them to grow up in a home with a piano, to punctuate family gatherings and make new traditions.
I'm still thinking of a perfect name for her, and it will come to me as she grows comfortable in our house and I get to know her, but for now, she's here, she's all mine - oh the peace and joy!