A Mommy Blog About Raising Men, Not Boys.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Places You'll Go: Day Three

Once upon a time a married couple with a very young daughter bought their first house. They bought a fixer-upper that needed a LOT of fixing-uping. That was okay as the man built houses for a living, and his brother owned a brick mason company and between them they had both the tools and the talent for turning any house into a lovely place. The home they bought was pretty large, possibly too large for a couple with one child and no more to come, but still they got it cheap because it was in such disrepair.
In their large detached two car garage were many pianos. It seemed to be storage for a couple dozen pianos made at the Starr-Gennett piano factory. Many were water damaged, or had other damage and were hauled away. One though was kept and cleaned up. A lovely upright of deep mahogany, with real ebony and ivory keys.
When I was about 3 or 4, the man - whom I called Grandpa because he was mine, told me that if I learned to play it I could have it.
It's one of those pieces that a person hauls around with them. I once broke into my grandmas house when her house was being auctioned off by some evil lawyers (which is a story for a different time) and with some friends made off with as much as I could in the way of family keepsakes - foremost being my piano. I've dragged it across the country from state to state.
I don't think I've had it tuned in 20 years.
The factory burned down, they stopped making pianos and focused on recording for a time - first as Starr-Gennett then as Gennett records. What's left now are just the shells of the buildings that manufactured one of the great "material possession" loves of my life, my piano.
After Aunt Debbie's funeral we drove over there and I wandered through the graveyard of this great place, wishing I had seen it sooner but glad I got the chance to finally walk around at this place.
It's lovely, they've made it a park.
There is a greenway people run on and bike on, and apparently they rent the building out for events. We met a lady who told us they held her prom there. I kind of like the idea of that, the music lives on in the shell of the building now.
Some of my favorite things around the little park at the factory were the many murals.There are murals all over Richmond and I have to kind of love a little town who embraces color and art in this way.

It was a fun walk down memory lane, to a place I had never been. I guess that's how you know you're home.