piano follies (About Me)

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Slowly but surely, I am putting together a series of memoirs. There is no particular order that these stories will appear on Booksie.. They will, of course, be in a proper order format at time of completion.

Submitted: March 08, 2017

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Submitted: March 08, 2017



by Lionel Walfish

 I met Bob Metcalfe, when he moved into the apartment building that I had been living in on Drummond Street, in Montreal, Quebec.
It was in the early 1970's.

Bob was a great guy; an athlete, a scholar, with a very important position with a prestigious Canadian oil company. He also made the best Osso Buco' I have ever tasted.He was thirty years old.

In our initial conversation, which took place on the roof-top garden of our apartment building, he told me that he had recently moved into the building and had seen my apartment and admired it's décor.

"What??!!" I said in a surprised voice, tinged with a bit of anger. (Nobody gets into my apartment without my permission.) He saw the expression on my face and explained.

It seemed that Bob was concerned that the living room of his prospective apartment might not accommodate his large grand piano. 

The concierge had been to my apartment several times (deliveries, etc.) and was aware of the Chickering baby grand piano in my living room. (A gift from my parents, when I started studying piano seriously at age 12.)
The concierge had taken Bob into my apartment to assure him that his piano would fit comfortably as the dimensions of our units were identical.

My second meeting with Bob occurred when we passed each other in the lobby three weeks later. He was visibly upset. He told me that two days after his piano was delivered, he had returned from work in the early evening, to find a formal looking envelope with gold tinted edges had been slipped under his door. He took an envelope out of his briefcase, and handing it to me said. "Here, read this".
I slipped the letter out of the envelope carefully, and began to read it.

It was from the woman who lived next door to him, on the eleventh floor.

Dear neighbour,

I saw the movers grappling with your very large grand piano on Tuesday.

I do hope that the sound that it emits will not become an annoyance to the other tenants who reside above you, beneath you, and beside you, (as do I.)

Claire Green

What could I say?

When I next saw Bob Metcalfe, a week later (we were entering the elevator), he told me that he had not even opened the mahogany keyboard cover and wondered if he ever would. 

As it happened, Claire Green would move out of the building a few months later, and in fact, out of the country.

Claire Green was no ordinary disgruntled neighbour. She was a Canadian heiress, who had married a Mr. Hughie Green, known for his presence on British Television. "DOUBLE YOUR MONEY, OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS, etc...

Claire had married Hughie in 1942. Their marriage had ended in divorce.

Bob had heard from others on his floor that the the phone-call that precipiated Claire's hasty departure had been unexpected. It had come from Claire's daughter who was vacationing at the time in the Canary Islands. 
"Mother, get yourself down here immediately. Start packing your luggage, and book a flight for tomorrow. You won't believe who is here, unmarried and ALONE!" 
From that day on, Bob opened the cover to his grand piano keyboard and we loved listening to him. What a talent he was!
Not long after we heard that Claire Green married David Langton, who played Lord Bellamy in the British series 'Upstairs Downstairs.' 

© Copyright 2018 Lionel Walfish. All rights reserved.

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