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Tuesday, August 26, 2014


Last weekend, we took a trip to Corpus Christi to pick up an old piano for our home.  Well, it’s actually more than just some old piano.  It’s a 1903 W.W. Kimball Upright piano and is possibly the most traveled piano around these here parts, ya see.  It’s a family thang too.  It was my Uncle Erol’s mom’s piano and started its journey in Cripple Creek, Colorado.  Traveling a few thousand miles from the mountains to the coast and now to the country, it has found a new home in Texas, ya’ll.

We asked to borrow the vintage piano for our 7-year-old daughter.  She really enjoys making it come to life as she “tickles the ivories.”  As the piano sounds echo through our halls, I reminisce about how many people have made music on that same set of keys over the last 111 years.  Incredible.  (To all of my germaphobe friends, don’t even go there…)

Not being a piano player myself (or a music-playing gal of any instrument really – does a baby xylophone count?  I rocked that as a kid…), I was curious about our new addition and wanted to get some piano history.  I’ll go ahead and share it with you in case you’re ever on a game show and need the low-down:

“Perhaps the most famous of all piano manufacturers in history was the W.W. Kimball Piano Company of Chicago.  William Wallace Kimball founded what was to become one of the largest piano companies in the world in 1857.  Kimball was an amazing entrepreneur and sales genius, and was able to promote his pianos on a nationwide basis that was very much ahead of its time.”  (It’s almost impossible to imagine trying to market without the internet, huh?!)

“By the turn-of-the-century, Kimball was manufacturing around 20,000 pianos annually!  In 1959, Kimball was sold to The Jasper American Corporation under the name of Kimball International.  Kimball pianos were discontinued in 1996.”

So…now you know the scoop.

Anyway, in doing some of my research, it was interesting to read some of the old Kimball piano advertisements as well.  One of them read:  “The test of a piano is the wearing quality, and what we mean by ‘wearing quality’ is a piano that will retain its rich, sweet tone that it should have when it is new.  You fully understand that many so-called pianos do not have good tones to begin with because the makers do not strive for tone perfection.  They look largely to please the eye rather than the ear.”   (Hmmm…)

I love that my daughter has taken such an interest in playing the piano and I eagerly look forward to watching her grow as a musician in the years to come.  When I see her small fingers dance along the keys, I do think about the gift and unique opportunity of making our own music.

We’ve found a temporary home for this piano…until the next family member would like to love on it down the road.  We’re also here on earth in our temporary home.  I wonder what music we’ll make while we’re here?  Will we use “sweet tones” in our words?  Will we instill the “classics” of good character and high morals in our children?  Will we focus on the things that truly matter instead of just “largely pleasing the eye?”  Will we slow down a “beat” or two and spend quality time with those we love before the song is over?

My Aunt Edie said that so much love has been poured into this antique piano.  When we pour love into something, it can indeed make beautiful music.  As my children take on day two of school, I am missing them with a tear or two or ten...okay twenty.  But, I know they are finding and making their own special music along the way and for this, I feel gratefully blessed. 

On a final “note,” my prayers go out to all of the littles in school this year and to their parents and teachers!  Can’t wait to hear your masterpiece…make it a classic!

Have a wonderful week, Sunshines!

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