da capo: from the beginning


what do you do when an idea latches onto you?
you listen.
what do you do when you need a piano to take apart?
you ask.
it’s as simple as that.

i spend so much energy being embarrassed by myself.
apologizing for myself.
shushing myself.
shielding myself.
protecting myself.

but, i ask you: what good is a crazy idea
if it’s not harebrained through and through?
so i did it:
i asked on facebook if anybody had an old piano
they were looking to get rid of.
and within 3 hours,
a long-time friend i seldom see
answered back that she had one i could have
if i’d just pick it up.
and she lives less than 10 miles from me.


we picked the piano up on a
fine sunday afternoon,
and i can’t tell you how quietly
excited i was.
i’ve been craving an adventure,
you see,
an adventure that fit my
pocketbook and my geography.

this was big.

in the 3 weeks that passed between
when i first saw the piano
and when my husband
could go with me to pick it up,
i fantasized

i imagined getting the piano into the shop
where i’d take pictures, lots and lots of pictures,
and keep a journal within arm’s reach,
ready to capture whatever
insights bubbled their way to the top.

what i looked forward to most of all was
taking the lid off.
i’d remove it
with great reverence and tenderness
then peer down inside
to see what secrets
were hidden there.

i’ve long wanted to know how the pedals
on a piano work.
to know how one sustains the sound
and another dampens, softens, quietens the sound.
before long,
i’d have my answer.

yes, yes.
symbolism and metaphors
were already ripe for the harvesting.

i’d take the lid off
then work my way
through to the pedals,
taking it apart from the top
to the bottom,
from the inside out.


my husband backed the truck
up to the shop double doors,
getting as close as possible.
it’s a spinet piano,
not nearly as heavy as a baby grand
or that old upright player piano we once owned,
but still too heavy for me to be of much help.

i offered to call my brother,
but husband said no, no need.
he’s an engineer, you see.
he knows all about leverage
and things like that.

he got one end off the truck,
sat it down,
then asked as he walked out of the shop,
“you’re going to take it apart, right?”
and with that,
drove the truck out from under the piano.

the front cover fell off.
some small decorative, accent pieces
flew off.
the pedal mechanism
separated completely.

“that was easier than I thought it was gonna’ be,” he said,
delighted with his accomplishment and ingenuity.

i excused myself to come upstairs
where i would remind myself that
literally, he was right:
i was just going to take it apart.

when i went back down to have a look,
with hopes of seeing that it wasn’t really
as bad as i’d first thought,
he proudly told me about how he’d just
taken off the lid
and beckoned me to have a look down
“isn’t that an amazing sight?” he purred.


he’s still the one.
oh yes, he is so
still the one.

just so you know.






  1. mrsmediocrity

    Oh my gosh, I'm sorry but that just made me laugh out loud. Sorry to see your dream come crashing down but such a perfect funny story, so much the man's way…but I guess, if your dream still needs to come true, you could always try again, but next time, ask some girls to help you move it…oh dear…

  2. whollyjeanne

    “crashing????” mrs. mediocrity, ahem. maybe not the best choice of words here;)

    alas, he's so sweet to help and support me in this crazy notion, but once again we see the different brains at work. him: engineer, linear, shortest distance between 2 dots is always preferred. me: symbolism, metaphor, process. sigh.

  3. alligator_kate

    This makes me growl… but I have my own One with very different ideas about how to do things, so I understand…

    Those are beautiful pictures. Truly an amazing sight.

  4. olive & hope

    I am so happy that you are so supported in your big dream (by your husband and us), and I love that he is still the one 🙂 Oh and those photos! I really can't wait to see what comes of this. You my friend…make me smile.

  5. Lollygagger

    Well isn't this the perfect example of how things rarely go as planned. But sometimes there's a lot of beauty in that as well. So excited for your adventure!

  6. itslikesobad2

    I can't wait to see where this project goes…. I had some friends moving out of town recently who needed to give away their piano. I spent some time eyeing it, but I didn't get the urge to dsconstruct it. This is _your_ journey!

    – Kira

  7. whollyjeanne

    you make me laugh, kate.

  8. whollyjeanne

    it's an expedition, all right.

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