When I was a little girl, every summer, my mom would pack us into our old Country Squire station wagon and take us on a road trip to visit my grandparents. They lived in the most glorious old home and even though it was 1975 on the outside, the inside had been frozen in time somewhere around 1945. Even as a child, I knew the house was something special. It had a large front porch, ornate wooden carvings, velvet drapes in the living room, a grand staircase, maids' quarters, fireplaces in the bedrooms, pull chain toilets, secret passageways, a true butler's pantry and an old fashioned player piano in the den.
It was a magical instrument.
Somedays my brother and I would bang on the keys, other days we would pop in a piano roll, pump the pedals and pretend we were virtuosos. My grandparents would sit in the little chairs watching us and just smile.
When they passed and the house sold, the piano was up for grabs. It was a large, heavy item that required space and it was very expensive to move.
No one wanted it, but it held a lot of memories for my mom, a professional singer, and so she took it. Back at my house, now a teenager, I learned to play a little bit from my then friend (now husband), but I still loved those piano rolls.
If people really weren't paying attention, I was a very believable pianist.
I inconspicuously popped a roll in, closed up the doors and pedaled away.
A few convincing hand movements and I was a superstar.
It was a great party trick.
When my mom sold her house, the piano moved to my sister's home, where her kids learned how to play and her husband became the piano roll trickster.
He was actually much better at it than I was.
Much more theatrical.
We would all stand around that upright and sing along to Billy Joel, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and Somewhere Over The Rainbow during the holidays and family celebrations.
More sweet memories...
When my sister became an empty nester, she passed the piano on to us. My kids have learned to play and have actually written songs on it. Plus it looks fabulous in my 1920's living room.
It has been used by every generation in my family and provided great joy, but sometime over the years, the player function stopped working.
We were told it would happen eventually. It's a 1928 Burl Walnut Cable Nelson upright. The fact that it has worked for so long is a feat. Apparently, the billows dry out and the mechanisms freeze up. I could replace it with an automatic motor, but I don't know, that just wouldn't be the same.
I hate to mess with an antique.
Besides, the piano still works just fine.
Now I am left with boxes of vintage piano rolls and I honestly have no idea what to do with them.
I have seen some people craft with them, but unless I am going to be making several quilts, I still have too many. Plus, I think I would feel guilty cutting up the really old ones.
I could probably chop up some of the newer ones.
There are some bad 80's songs in those boxes.
But the classics? Nope. I just don't have it in me.
I have been told to sell them, but I am not an antique dealer. I have no idea what to charge or where I would list them.
Someone suggested that I do a blog giveaway for a few of them ~ and I could ~ but I wasn't sure anyone would be interested.
Frankly, I'm not sure what to do with them.
And that is my vintage player piano roll dilemma.
So, I have decided to ask!
If you were in possession of these piano rolls and you no longer had a player piano....
...what would you do with them?
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I'm not musical at all, so I have no related posts, but I am crafty. Check out these ideas!