My grandparents and I share a lyrical bond via a polished, black upright piano. This beautiful instrument is so much more than just a piano, it is a placeholder for childhood memories, those that include my grandparents and me. My grandfather bought the piano for my grandmother in a music store in a coastal town in California. It was an anniversary gift, and it was an answer to one of the bucket list items of my grandmother’s – to learn to play the piano.
She was in her late sixties when they purchased it and brought it home. At first my grandmother was the only one who could touch it….but soon after I started lessons, and quickly had the privilege of touching its beautiful white keys. Once I started, I was hooked. I spent most of my youth sitting on the bench beside her as we took turns playing the songs we had learned that week, both of us sharing the same piano teacher. My grandmother got me started taking lessons and she was always excited to hear what piece of music I currently was trying out. Meanwhile, my grandfather would sit in his wheelchair at the kitchen table and say, "Justice, play some of that John Tesh stuff again!" Yes... I played John Tesh quite often, no shame, anything for my grandfather.
Growing up gay in a small town was tough and many of my days were spent running to their house after school, just to lose myself in front of “the piano.” The awkwardness of being a teenager seemed to vanish as my fingers ran along the keys. It was my escape and I felt entirely safe to be myself while I was there, on that bench, an audience of two, expressing myself through my fingers dancing across the keys.
As I got older, my grandfather got less and less able to leave the house and his accident kept him close to home and the kitchen table. To help keep his unhappiness at the lack of mobility at bay, my grandmother would invite me over to play the piano for him. I would sit there for hours and play. We were both battling our own issues and the piano brought us together in that struggle.
My grandfather was also an amazing cook. I am not...
My grandfather is sadly gone; he passed while I was away at school. At 81 years old, eight years later, my grandmother still works a part time job to make ends meet. She still has “the piano.” The piano is a tangible thing that reminds me of both of them together in their home, the laughter, the music, the gift of “the piano.” I am sure that this might sound silly from an outside perspective, but memories attach themselves to what they will and “the piano” means the world to me. I always hoped that someday she would leave it to me as I was the only grandchild who truly shared her love of tickling the keys.
Unfortunately, times as they are, she has started selling some of her possessions and “the piano” is one of those items marked to sell, an item that holds such strong memories for me. I help her when I can, but as a standup comedian and truly struggling artist, my monetary worth is rather unimpressive. A poor artist? What are the odds!?
For years she considered selling “the piano,” but I was able to convince her not to or the sentimental value proved to be too strong a motivation to keep it. Sadly, the time has come where she is ready to part with this beautiful black music maker. She’s downsized her possessions and the money she might bring in from selling the piano to a collector would benefit her life greatly. That's where you can hopefully help!
My mom is obsessed with putting captions on everything...
I've never been one to ask strangers for money, but I cannot bear the idea of losing her piano to someone else or the thought of my grandmother having to watch it wheeled out of the house to a stranger. It's the one thing that reminds me of summers with my grandfather and piano lessons with my grandmother. If we can raise enough money to pay for the cost of what she would make by selling it, I can move the piano from her home to my home while keeping the cherished piano in the family. It's a win-win outcome for everyone, her, the extra income it would bring in, and me, having a piece of my beloved grandparents in my own home.
After purchasing the piano from my grandmother, the cost to have it shipped and brought up into my apartment, there will be enough to have it tuned.
Your generous donation will go to –
$4,000 will be spent on purchasing the piano from my grandmother. There will be a cost to have a piano company carefully pack the piano, move it the distance between our two homes, deliver it upstairs to my apartment, and set it up. After, the piano will be tuned in its new home. Anything left, I’ll invite my grandmother to dinner and we can sit and reminisce and play “the piano” together, like old times. I know this will bring a smile to her as she sees her beloved gift is in the home of her first born grandson, being played, and the music continues on. Someday, my old children will sit next to me and we can continue the traditions of playing “the piano.”
Thank you for considering this GoFundMe, donating or even just looking at it and reading a bit about my family memories. I appreciate each and every one for taking the time to learn a little about what “the piano” means to me and my grandmother.
My grandfather and grandmother, plus a beardless me in the middle!
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