Thursday, March 20, 2008
Each week I bring Team Testosterone downtown for Mr. T's guitar lesson. His lessons are upstairs in a century-plus-old building that once housed a hotel. Each studio is an old hotel room, the bathroom has a gigantic claw-foot bathtub and a small sink with two faucets that thrill Mr. B and Mr. G to no end. The building has that peculiar musty smell of old buildings constructed mostly of wood. The crown molding, the double-paned windows, the doors with keyholes to peep through make it a lovely place to visit.
Four doors down the hall from Mr. T's lessons a piano teacher gives lessons. She's at least sixty-eight years old and she wears cardigan sweaters and practical shoes. She's always kind to my children, smiling at them and talking with them between her students (unlike the vocal/guitar teacher in the next room over who is a raging bitch to anyone under the age of twenty--she is also overweight and single, which, I suspect, contribute to her angry attitude towards my children each week). Occasionally we have the pleasure of hearing the piano teacher play while she waits for a student to arrive.
Each week we cross paths with one particular piano student--a gentleman of a, ehrm, certain age. He is tall and thin and wears button down shirts and khaki pants. In the winter he wears a muffler wrapped around his neck. His gray beard is impeccably groomed and his wire-rimmed glasses shine. He carries a satchel--a leather satchel with straps and buckles--to his lesson. All winter he has been playing Gershwin. The notes dance through the hallway and down the stairs of the old building, At the end of his lesson he returns his sheet music to his satchel and graciously thanks the sweet piano teacher. I've seen him walking along the sidewalk a few blocks away, so I suspect he lives in one of the beautifully restored homes near City Park.
I am charmed by this gentleman. I wonder what possessed him to take up piano lessons at this stage in life. How long has he been playing? Did he play as a child? I imagine the satisfaction he feels each night when he plays Gershwin on a piano at his house. (An old house with gleaming wood floors and floor to ceiling bookshelves along one wall.) A dream denied until now, perhaps? In any event, he inspires me.