Yes, I am now a piano owner. No, my mother did not do justice to the sheer volume of naughty those children applied to the piano keys. Every key on the keyboard was marked upon at least twice, some of them THREE TIMES. Different writing utensils, different ink colors. For your enjoyment I have attempted to render the graffiti (see above) with my (very) limited Paint skills (definitely not "skillz"), since I neglected to take a picture before I began the cleaning process.
I am pleased to report that generous amounts of rubbing alcohol, Aqua Net hairspray and a Magic Eraser, along with even more generous amounts of elbow grease, have wrought wonders! It's not perfect; you can still tell something was done to the keys, but you can't read the letters from six paces. (And why, I'm sure you are asking, did I happen to have Aqua Net hairspray in my house? Well, I bought it to use for a show a few years ago. Turns out Aqua Net NEVER goes bad. And, after seeing it dissolving that ink, I cannot fathom why I EVER allowed that stuff to touch my hair. Yowza.)
Saturday afternoon I took myself off to the music store to buy some piano music, since my mother was in such a hurry to take advantage of a limited time offer of a strong back and a pickup truck that she forgot to grab some for me from her plenteous supply before setting off. I thought I would pick up some sort of general compendium, nothing too hard, just to get the dexterity back in my fingers, and maybe get the sheet music to a couple of my favorite recital pieces from back in the day.
Now, I never thought of myself as a particularly gifted pianist. I was pretty good during those stretches when I actually applied myself, and basically just okay the rest of the time. But when I looked at the music I used to play I nearly fainted. It looked so HARD! There was so much black on the pages...so many NOTES! How am I supposed to play all those notes?! I can barely SEE them. I'd have to use my reading glasses, for pete's sake.
So I wussed out and purchased a big book of "easy piano classics." It's piano playing for dummies, basically. The basic feel of each piece is still there, but some of them have been...simplified, slightly. In my defense, let me state that I did NOT buy the easiest collection available. Just sort of...medium easy. And, while I'm being pathetic and middle-aged, let me just confess that the real appeal of this particular collection was that the notes are printed...boldly. They're LARGE, okay? And printed on a very white background. In other words, I don't need my glasses. And my 40-something self really likes that.
At any rate, I've played a little each day since. The piano needs very badly to be tuned, which it turns out one of my musician friends can do for me for FREE, so maybe after that I'll actually spend a little money and have some of its other quirks ironed out. It's playable as is, but would be much more enjoyable without the assorted clicks and clacks.
Which well may have been caused by whatever horrible child/children did the artwork on the keys. I've already heard, while playing, the distinct sound of coins inside, falling to the bottom. I opened the top and fished out a Nasonex coupon which expired in 2000. I can see an elastic ponytail holder and a bobby pin, but can't reach them. There are, indeed, various coins sitting down below. When George comes to tune the piano, I'll take a good look inside and see if I can remove some of the detritus.
There is no way these items could have been "accidentally" dropped inside. It had to have been on purpose. It takes quite a sharp tug to even get the top open. Did they think if they rendered the piano inoperable, they could quit taking lessons? Were they doing some sort of physics experiment--testing the effect of various objects on strings and hammers? It NEVER would have occurred to me to drop things inside our piano, no matter how badly I wanted to get out of practicing. Was I just a particularly well-behaved child?
Yeah, probably. Dork then, dork now.
But a dork who owns a piano! Woo hoo!
And yes, I realize my excitement over that fact just proves the case even more. Dork here! Guilty as charged.