Denim in color with a fine coat of dust, and a faded Avery label at the top. The handwritten title on the hardcover notebook read: Will Notes – J A R Palin.
I opened the three-ring cover and found the brand “Hilroy”, size 8 1/2 x 5 1/5.The inside was a hounds tooth pattern, black and white. The yellowed edged paper with rounded corners framed my father-in-law’s handwriting. And what was the first item he wrote about willing to someone? The Piano.
I skimmed through, from beginning to end of this first special notation to find the date: April 8th, 1990, and the name of the person who was to receive the piano.
I scampered out to the shop where my husband was helping me take some staples out of a project and I showed him the treasure. Together we read through the notes, me aloud and he silently until I came upon a town or a word I couldn’t make out, then he would interject and we’d continue. The piano began its travels in 1911, from Oshawa, Ontario to Flaxcombe, Saskatchewan….and on the story goes. Something about rain and getting stored in a tent while a house was being built. Water damage then lending it to a piano teacher, and so on….
It was late when I plucked this little gem off the shelf. I had already found two mechanic manuals that I placed in our son’s room on his shelf next to his hat collection. I was sure he would appreciate the sentiment. Dad had probably given them to him a while ago and somehow they had gotten misplaced and forgotten. They boasted the year 1977. I couldn’t begin to imagine how the art of mechanics had changed since then.
But this little notebook, I had not seen before. Unfortunately there were not enough of Dad’s precious handwritten notes. Not that he didn’t leave lots of stories, and a family genealogy complete with pictures – he did. It’s just that once a person is gone, what is left never seems to be enough. The more stories you can find the clearer you may hear his voice?
The notes on the piano should be scanned and reprinted and preserved for her. On some vintage card stock perhaps. I picked up my first ever meter of music fabric the other day, it would serve as a great backdrop. The project would be nothing short of perfection if we could frame the actual handwritten notes, but they’re double-sided, and we can’t miss a single word of the story, the curve, the scrawl, the shape of who he was at the end of each stroke of his pen. A reprinted version will do, with the originals in an envelope on the back. It will be as if it was always meant to be, and the project may even find its place hanging above the actual piano in their home. What’s a piano without the history?
Thank you Dad for taking the time to write out so many little details about so many things that were important to you. They are important to us and we are grateful!