Sunday, July 18, 2010

collecting dust, or cleaning house?

This post is in addition to my daily 365 Days of Blessings Project post from earlier today. I just had something on my chest, I decided to work out on the keyboard, and for some reason my blog was still open, so . . . it got worked out here.

Have you ever had to throw away something that almost felt like a keepsake, but was really way too large to keep?

Your first beater car that took you on your first road trip adventures?

An old comfy chair or couch that was so broken that sitting in it had become perilous?

A Wurlitzer Organ with burnt out wiring, but still beautifully finished? Full of memories, both good and bad?

We are doing a little cleaning out today, and I find myself looking over an old Wurlitzer that I started playing at the age of 9. My grandmother played it. My parents played it. We took organ classes together at a Prosser Piano and Organ store. The finished dark wood still holds a glimmer of polish. The keys are like old friends, and old enemies mixed together. The pedals are just where I remember them . . . I don't have to look like I remember looking the first year I played.

I had several organ teachers, but there was a particular one that took me under her wing, showed me how wonderfully the instrument could be played, and gave me reasons to learn. Encouraging me with her faith, her love of Narnia books, and her playful music choices, I started to want not only to play, but to be just like her. She was an amazingly beautiful woman, and an excellent organist. I've only heard two organists who could play better. But then, I don't listen to much organ music anymore. Or play.

Even before the wiring burnt out, that Wurlitzer organ had been collecting dust.

On a burning hot summer day, with a perfect blue sky that seemed never-ending, I learned nearly 25 years ago that my seemingly perfect organ teacher, a woman of faith and a new mother, had killed herself in the midst of post-partum depression.

I told my mom and dad I would never play again.
But they kept the Wurlitzer anyway. They continued to play, and my grandmother did too.

For a while, I wouldn't even enter the room where the organ sat.

So, how in the world, 25 years later, have I ended up with this Wurlitzer in my house? A dust-collecting keepsake that had it's final play before total burn out under the fingertips of my mother-in-law, who at that time was happily playing Christmas music (7 months ago)?

It's hard to say exactly how it happened except somehow, somewhere during that time when my daughters were very young, my mom sat them down on the organ bench next to her, and taught them to bang on the three keyboards, flip the switches, and make the kind of joyful noise that only kids can make.

Then the organ moved into our basement where it was played on by kids, Grandparents, and even . . . on a rare occassion, me. I don't play well, but there are a few beginner's songs I still remember. And now, even though it's been dead for seven months, I'm having a hard time getting rid of the thing.

So many memories, and how can I use them?

I think somehow that I need to clean house, stop collecting dust, and put the memories, as well as the junk, in order. I guess that means throwing out the actual, physical Wurlitzer organ that is beyond use, and keeping the memories, hoping to use them someday for something, some piece of writing maybe, several lessons learned over time.

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