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Photo by Peggy Sturdivant.
Piano, Annie and Penelope.

At Large In Ballard: Piece for four hands

By Peggy Sturdivant

I met Penelope on what was to be her due date but was instead her three-week birthday. I met her because of a piano, but that’s the end of the story, not the beginning.

For me it began by renting a piano for a party that was everything a person raised on too many musicals could have hoped for. Although the garden was strung with lights everyone crowded around the piano for hours, singing as a friend played. That Judy Garland moment ruined me for the next 18 years.

The small classified ad in the Ballard News read: Upright piano in Burien free to anyone willing to move. A week later there was a cut-away Chicago Cable company piano superimposing a right angle over the stair railing. It was the only wall space available.

The piano got a makeover from the magical tuner Hak Bo Lee. Little did I know his impromptu riffs while tuning would be the musical highlight of the piano’s entire stay but I started taking piano lessons, along with Emily. She stuck it out for two years and I made it to three. I wanted to be able to play spirituals. I have mastered just one.

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