Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A Pee-ano Arrives

If you follow Paul on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook you saw that we got a piano this weekend. 

This piano belonged to my dad's mother, June Hanna-Willson. That seems like such a strange thing to say. Most people would say it was their grandmother's, but this wasn't my grandmother's. My dad's mother June died in 1969 in a hospital in my hometown in Texas; my dad was only 7 years old. She died after a battle with breast cancer and while, technically, yes, she was my grandmother I never knew her. My grandfather loved her very much. She loved her boys, three sons and a husband, my dad the baby, very much. And while all of her boys loved her, I've been told they did not love their piano lessons nor their piano teacher Mrs. Johnson. June's parents, mom and pop Hanna, gave this piano to her in 1947 as a Christmas present when she was 16 years old. It was a brand new piano, and the Hanna family was not very wealthy; this was a big present. My granddad was already dating June at the time and remembers when she got the piano. This was and is a very special piano. My grandfather remarried years after she died, to a lady I knew my whole life as my grandmother, Ruth, and I loved her very much. She and my grandfather kept this piano as their family morphed and changed and moved. This real life Brady Bunch family grew up playing this piano, and then they all had children and we all grew up banging on the keys, chipping the edges of the ivory and putting scratches all over its surface in the formal living room of their house.

This Story and Clark piano was manufactured in 1947 in Grand Haven, Michigan. For those of you that don't know, Paul was born and raised in Holland, Michigan only 22 miles south of Grand Haven. I smile to think that my little family in Brownwood, Texas purchased a piano from a city only 22 miles away from where my future husband was to be born.

My grandmother Ruth passed away in 2008 and with her passing came a lot of heartache for my grandfather. He had lost two spouses in his lifetime and it was difficult. Just a few months ago, he moved to Abilene, Texas to be near what he calls, "a special friend". He and Betty are very sweet and are going to enjoy hanging out and being friends together in their remaining years.

But with his moving, all the memories of my grandparents' house moved with him. They're tearing down the hospital in Wichita Falls where my dad was born, where his mom died, where my brother was born. My parents are moving to Dallas. Everything is changing. And I look at this piano and I see June, and my dad and his brothers. I see Ruth and her daughters becoming a part of our family. I see my granddad and his formal living room. I see my cousins and the sleepovers we had at their house. I think about my dad bringing my mom home to meet his parents for the first time. Her looking over the house, seeing the piano and all the pieces that made up their home. I walk into our bonus room where the piano sits now and smell it, I smell the house where we had family get togethers. I smell that life. And I think about Addison and the cute way she says "peee-ano" and I think about her giggles when she presses the keys and the fit she threw last night when I wouldn't quit playing it. I think about what she will remember.

And I am so thankful that my granddad allowed me to have this memory and that all the other 14 or so adult individuals in my family allowed me to as well. I am thankful my parents were willing to haul it to Oklahoma City. I want to play again and when things slow down, that's exactly what I intend to do.

Until then, the whole piece needs a good wipe down with old english, a reupholstered bench, some art and a light. I'm glad it's here. I already feel like we have a home.


  1. Your post just gave me goosebumps. All of your memories came rushing back to my mind. It's such a special piece, and I know it's in good hands. :)