I think I’ve told a version of this story before, but it bears repeating. When we went house hunting twenty years ago I walked into the entryway of this old home, stepped into the living room, touched the wall, and said, “This one. This is the one.” I believe the Mister was somewhat bemused by my certainty as the place was a neglected wreck (flocked ceiling, water stained walls, rotting window sills, wall-to-ugh-wall shag carpeting) but the bones were beautiful.
The first night we spent here was a chilly one, so we lit a fire in the hearth, and watched the flames dance and were both overwhelmed with a feeling of well-being, bordering on euphoria. We felt like children home safe, with our parents upstairs sleeping in bed.
Later I found out from the grand-daughter of the original owners that the house had been built especially for a family of musicians. The mother was a classically trained pianist, the father was a cellist. They died within six months of each other, way too young. Their adult son married and moved into a home of his own, and their daughter, who had an all girl band that had an hourly broadcast once a week on CBS radio, stayed on in the house until she married a newspaper reporter, right after WWII, and moved away. She lived to be nearly 100 years old. But when she young in the 1930s, tired of practicing, and in a adolescent funk, her mother would whirl around the first floor collecting every scrap of discarded paper and make a “five minute fire” in the living room, and her daughter’s mean reds would disappear.
Did I mention the piano? I’ve never been any good, didn’t practice when I should have as a kid, stopped playing entirely when I was a teenager. When I moved into this house, though, I felt compelled to start playing again. And now I do — much better than ever before — finding the melodies in the keys instinctively, fluidly, like someone was guiding my hands.
Thank you, sweet spirits, and happy Halloween to all!