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My 1920s Upright Piano

20120405-082223.jpgWhen I was a girl, I loved to play piano. In elementary school my parents bought a used piano for me to practice on. Found in a newspaper ad at a reasonable price of $250 and kept in someone’s finished basement in Great Falls Montana, I absolutely fell in love with it. I mean, come on. It had been refinished in the 70s in AVOCADO GREEN before I was even BORN. At the time, I recall Mom telling Dad we would strip it and refinish it.

I love older things. They don’t have to be worth much in the views of antique experts to appeal to me – if it’s unique, old, and quirky, I’m bound to at least consider adoring it. Check out a photo of my 64 Streamline here.

We had it professionally tuned for years, and it has moved with us. We learned a bit about it. It was made in 1920. Solid mahogany is underneath the avocado. It can be completely taken apart, piece by heavy piece. L. Ricca & Son in New York provided the warranty. The previous owner said it was originally used as a saloon piano in Montana.


My piano teacher was an amazing lady named Leslie. She was very tall, slender in her Lycra leggings and bright tops and colorful heels, with terrifically long nails always painted in fantastic designs. She was so sweet and kind and fun. No piano teacher could hold a candle to her. She came to the house once a week, and I learned to really play on my piano. I played Bach, Beethoven, Christmas music, and Richard Marx, Bryan Adams, Janet Jackson, and more late 80s/early 90s music. I practiced for competitions and performances. It helped me to win a few trophies in elementary and middle school – before my social life intervened and I deemed myself “too busy” to take lessons.

When I got married, it came with me. When my children were born, it used to distract them from whatever they were crying for while they sat on my lap. Later it was pounded on by toddler hands. Then some years passed and the keyboard stayed closed; only recently has it been rediscovered. It gets played from time to time now. At parties, a wedding we hosted here last December, and whenever my kids want me to teach them something on it.

It has never been refinished – by me, I mean. The green is part of its personality. Part of its identity.

I absolutely adore my piano.

11 responses »

  1. Love this and love the color of your piano! How cool!

    I took lessons for over 12 years growing up and still sneak into the piano rooms at my college once in awhile 🙂 My old piano, which is so near and dear to my heart, is stuck at my parents house, though they’ve promised to give it to me this spring…fingers crossed that happens!

  2. Beautiful! I love the avacado green. It gives it so much personality!

    I have played since I was young too, but life gets in the way so often. You have inspired me to open mine back up and play a few tunes tonight. Do a little music therapy for myself instead of just for my client’s for once.

  3. Jonesingafter40

    Lovely story and lovely piano! Growing up I always wanted to learn to play, never did, but a couple of years ago we bought a piano from someone at church and my daughter is learning. There is just something wonderful about having a piano in the house. 🙂

  4. Love this, and feel much the same way. I had an old piano just like this growing up. It was my great grandmother’s, and was from the early 1900s, I think. My mom learned to play on it as a girl. Then I did. It was probably moved about 6 times, and always took a huge team of very skillful and patient family members and friends! I was too sentimentally attached to it, so when my grandmother died, I pleaded with my mom to take the piano back and keep it in her home until I had a home of my own. Once I had a home of my own, I had no room for the massive upright in all its ornate mahogany loveliness. My mom JUST sold it. This post resurrects fond memories!

    • I’m happy to bring back some memories for you.
      My mom reminded me today that it took up to four men to move it even though it was on casters – they are so heavy!
      Thanks for stopping by!:)

  5. hodgepodge4thesoul

    Great post! The piano is so lovely.

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