Growing up in a small town in Southern New Jersey

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The piano tuner

My father was very particular about our piano.  He had it tuned frequently.  By that I mean at least once a year.  And perhaps that's what one is supposed to do when they have a piano, I don't know.  At any rate, at least once a year the piano tuner came to our home.

His name was Lynn Atkins.  He was blind.  Yes, that's correct, blind!  His wife would drive him to our home, dad would meet him at the curb, and lead him into the living room, and set him on the piano bench.  The man was amazing.  He could take that piano apart.  He could repair broken strings.  He replaced felts.  And he could tune the piano.  I suppose that because he was blind his hearing was highly tuned and that made him a good piano tuner.  Daddy liked him. 

Back to the piano tuner.  He had a pitchfork (set at A) and he could begin going up and down the keys until the piano was tuned to perfection.

I think my father must have had an ear because he could tell if there was a problem with the piano and would call Mr. Atkins if he thought there was a problem. 

Mr. Atkins was a very nice man who talked with us kids a lot.  He never seemed to mind us running in and out and around him while he worked. 

He didn't live in Runnemede. I think he lived in Haddon Heights, or was it Barrington? Doesn't matter. I do remember that he and his wife came to church infrequently. Daddy was always telling him about Jesus. Mr. Atkins didn't think he needed the Lord because he lived a moral, upright life. Wasn't that enough? Of course, it wasn't.

Isn't is funny that I remember this man and his name?  Why?  What brings this to mind?  Today I'm getting this same  piano tuned for the first time in years.  Some repair work is needed, of course, and Mr. Blank (Bill) is beginning the tuning, and I hear the ping, ping, ping as he adjusts the strings.  I wonder why it is that piano tuners hit a note three times when they are tuning it?  Maybe I'll ask.


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