The Steinway and the Stairsby Loft Proprietress on 10/31/11
We've got a funny conversation going - we being my husband, my 90 year old Daddy, and me - on the dynamics of hauling our lovely 120+ yr old ebony Steinway parlor grand piano..up the looong stairwell to the loft. A stairwell that TURNS, I might add...you reach the FIRST landing, do a 90 degree turn, and head up to the upper landing which leads to the loft's heavy-duty entry door.
The piano, a treasured anniversary gift from my husband to me, is 6+ feet long and I forget how many feet wide, but it is going to be verrry interesting to see how on earth it will go up those stairs. The stairs are WIDE enough...it's that turn that has us wondering. Still we are determined, so we shall see just HOW this works out.
(Update: We've measured carefully -- it will fit!)
Daddy just laughs and laughs when he thinks of the piano going up those stairs to the loft's living room -- and considering his day-to-day caregiving responsibilities with my mother, who is ailing with alzheimers, I am glad to finds something to chuckle about. He keeps telling us we need to sell tickets, so folks can stand down on the sidewalk and watch the action. : ) Personally I doubt anyone really cares, BUT it will be an interesting move! However, we did just recently visit with a gentleman there, a friend who my Daddy had told about the upcoming 'piano move', who said he was going to bring his lawn chair and sit across the street and watch! You gotta love a small town : )
I remember seeing many a movie, typically set in a big city somewhere, where a giant crane is hauling a big black grand piano many stories high, up into someone's apartment atop a building in wherever-big-city-USA. I would watch with some amusement, as I always found the idea of high-rise apartment living an oddity, having lived my entire life in wide-open-spaces county, Texas or Oklahoma. Having room to roam has always been normal to me - the 'piano moving issues' which folks who live in the high-rise aprtments might have - never even crossed my mind. Until now.
Not that the loft is a high-rise -- not by a long-shot. Still...it will mean there is a living room on a second floor, and our homes have always been single-family homes on lots in a city or out on a ranch, with living room on the main floor. So this WILL be different!
Right now, our piano is sitting in our current Denton, Texas home's family room, overlooking our back yard. Now...our home is for sale, and we're relocating to two places - LITTLE LOFT ON THE PRAIRIE in Frederick, OK, to be near and help my folks - and to the new home in Texas, halfway between our two daughters and their families - the grandchildren! : D
GRAND AVENUE and the GRAND PIANO...
It DOES seems like alot of trouble...BUT...since the home in Texas will be more Mediterranean/saltillo tile/casual, I wanted the piano in the more historic, Victorian and formal LITTLE LOFT. In historic and precious Frederick, Oklahoma.
And here is the truth: aside from the fact that in order to be near my precious parents,
I'll soon be living at and spending most of my time on the corner of Grand Avenue and Main Street at Little Loft on the Prairie and that if I want to play my piano, it needs to be where I am...there's still another reason:
Little Loft's hometown, Frederick, Oklahoma...has a GRAND history.
A thriving city established at the beginning of the 1900's, it was a bee-hive of activity in business, social activities, the arts, agriculture, education and religious life.
There is SO much documented history and photography, showcasing our storied past, from 'Catch-em'Alive' Jack Abernathy and his famous sons Bud and Temple, to the visit by President Teddy Roosevelt, to the pomp and celebration surrounding the laying of the cornerstones of our many churches,
to the railroad executive whose favor granted to our town assured him that the town would be named after his son Frederick...and so much more.
I myself remember Frederick from the early 1950's on...I was almost 2 years old when my parents moved to this Mayberry-of-a-place in 1952, and I remember the HEIGHT of the business community, the activities, the HUGE Christmas parades
with float after float after float (my now-86-yr-old mother posing as the beautiful 30-something BRIDE on one of them). I remember sidewalk sales and Crazy Days and all kinds of town business promotions. I remember the multiple clothing stores, the numerous drug stores with literally nickel and dime soft drinks, the 5 and 10 cent stores, the department stores. (Daddy and Mother owned the town's independently owned fine Jewelry Store, so that my be why I remember so much about he business life of the town.)
And OH, I remember the arts, too.
I remember we had SO MANY piano teachers, (mine was Miss Laura Hall), and every Spring those teachers joined forces to present us students in what we called 'THE FESTIVAL". I can't even remember HOW many spinet pianos were hauled in and placed down on the old wooden floor of the FHS gymnasium, as all of us well-tutored pitno students, who had practiced together for MONTHS and months on our duets, sat side-by-side with our duet partners at each piano. We performed IN UNISON, a duet at each piano, with probably eighteen or more pianos.
I CAN STILL HEAR IT.
And how we dressed up for it! We wore tulle and satin and lace and..and...it was just SO very, very special. I didn't realize that other towns didn't do that...I mean, I lived in Frederick, Oklahoma...and we did things WELL. We had GRAND style. We had Arts. Community. Business. Church. Sports. School. And most of all...Family and Friends.
And we still DO -- thanks to the fabulous people who have stayed here, raised families here, supported and been a part of this community their entire lives - AND to those who've moved back to 'Mayberry' out of love, to retire and invest their time and talents and energy into Frederick.
I am coming back to Frederick, along with my husband Paul,
(Here is his FHS Senior Class picture!)
...Paul...whose love, hard work, tireless energy and generosity has made it possible for us to reclaim and renovate this old building as a family home for the two of us...because I believe in Frederick.
I can see and feel something special, a presence, an aura of hope...the small-town 'magic.' Because even though, as is the case with so many small towns, it has struggled with declining population in the last couple of decades, it STILL has that 'glow' about it, to me. It is magical...it is home.
It radiates memories...and hope for its future.
Because sometimes...the FUTURE of a place relies strongly on remembering and capitalizing on it's rich HISTORY.
The architecture..of .these 100-plus year old buildings that line GRAND AVENUE...speak to me.
They say...come invest in me - you can afford me so much more than you can afford one like me in the city!
They say...invest in me, and you'll be rewarded with a town that makes leaps and bounds towards a healthier life!
They say...just LOOK at the joy, culture, art, history and entertainment that has been provided already by the foresight and hard work of Mrs. Dana Greer and the Frederick Arts and Humanities Council in the purchase and restoration of the historic RAMONA THEATRE, as well as theTillman County Historical Society in their vision and energy and hard work to create the PIONEER HERITAGE TOWNSITE & MUSEUM!
They say...invest in me, and you could be rewarded with a town full of arts and artists and galleries and gifts (as is the case with K C's on Main Street in Frederick!) and MORE.
It already has so MUCH of that...and I firmly believe it will have MORE. Having restored and renovated a historic landmark Queen Anne victorian home in Denton, TX's Oak-Hickory Historic District, our love of historic architecture now is focused on restoring and renovation our beautiful old family treasure, the HUGHES BUILDING, as our own family residence - the LOFT of our dreams!
Frederick has SO many quality, historic buildings.
So what BETTER place for my stately 120 year old Steinway grand...than GRAND AVENUE? in Frederick, Oklahoma?
Birthplace of... "THE FESTIVAL"? : )
Home and launching pad of talented and dedicated educators, businessmen/women, bankers, attorneys, physicians, coaches, professors, preachers, cattlemen, ranchers, rodeo champs, artists, successful entrepeneurs, founders of national companies, beauty queens, songwriters, singers...and the list could go ON and ON...
Because Frederick...is GRAND.
Don't let a little wear-and-tear-of-time fool you. It is GRAND. It once was, it still is, and OH it WILL BE even MORESO in the future. If you look at our downtown's time-worn historic structures with their handsome, quality-never-to-be-seen-again, historic architectural bones with possibilities out the wazoo...and you simply see dirty old builings...then might I suggest new EYES.
Like the character Lieutenant Dan in my favorite movie EVER - FORREST GUMP - got 'new laigs'... new EYES are the ticket!
Because it's true:
"THE REAL VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY CONSISTS NOT IN SEEKING NEW LANDSCAPES, BUT IN HAVING NEW EYES". - Marcel Proust
The GRANDNESS is still emanating from these lovely old buildings and cobbled brick streets in Frederick, Oklahoma...do you FEEL it? Can you SEE it?
And my cherished antique Steinway Grand...belongs on GRAND.