The building was old — in a good way. It was grand. It took my breath away.
This whole building was vacant. My father had been hired to design and oversee a parking structure under it. The digs were provided at no charge.
On this day I arrived he had to go do a thing.
My job was to meet the piano delivery guys. Their job was to get the shiny full-grand piano up to the top floor.
They came in scratching their heads, sans instrument.
“We’re gonna have to bring it up the stairs.” Duh. Were they expecting a larger elevator?
I stared at them, waiting for the point. The staircase was plenty wide.
“We need more guys.” Ah.
“I’m sorry. I’m visiting. I don’t have any guys.”
They laughed at me. I guess they weren’t asking for guys. They said they’d come back tomorrow.
When my father came back he looked around and made a little between-the-brows squeeze.
I remembered my mom said that when they lived in that fourth-floor walkup at Harvard, he carried a piano up in pieces, using paper bags.
So I said to him, “They’re coming back tomorrow. They wanted to buy some paper bags to bring it up in.”
“Hey I did that once!” This is my favorite part of this story. He thought that comment was a coincidence.
His bride made a between-the-brow squeeze. Oh goody! I was going to hear the story first-hand. I’ve known this story about 15 years longer than I’ve known him.
We settled in around the table and heard it told.
My father had visited a shop around the corner from his Irving Street apartment, and gave the owner some amount for an old piano.
He had neither vehicle, nor dolly, nor money for a mover, but he had a screwdriver and a lunch bag.
He dissassembled the whole thing and walked back and forth to the fourth-floor walkup, first with the bag full of keys, then hammers, then strings. He carried the frame in parts too.
My mom opened the door to find pieces strewn all over the floor, and her husband standing over them with a squeeze between his brow, trying to figure out how to put it all together.
He did, replacing ripped pads and chipped pieces in the bargain.
He moved that whole piano all by himself, but the professionals? They needed more guys.