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“Haddy” Haddorff is given a new home: The back story

My beloved singing nightingale that came into my life in May, 2011, has found a new, permanent nest.

About 4 years ago I stumbled upon “Haddy” while browsing a Fresno, California Craig’s Listing (by owner, used piano sales) It wasn’t that I needed another piano to join a growing family of Steinways but I was curious about an eye-catching console that had the exotic name, Haddorff. And since it resided around the corner, I simply arranged to see/play it just to purge myself of a growing obsession.

My Haddorff 1951 console, gorgeous inside and out

ESP or well-developed intuition bore out. I was led to a beautifully voiced and regulated piano that commanded my undivided attention. Gliding over its keys, blissfully enjoying its enviable resonance, I experienced a piano that begged to join my lovely brood of keyboard instruments. And though I possessed a modest living space, there was yet room for one more addition, especially since it had the look and feel of a piano perfectly crafted for younger students.

$700 dollars down, and this heaven-sent piano was mine.

With a preliminary tuning and inspection at its point of origin, the best laid plans were made for its relocation.

The mover, Ginaddy, who owned a piano store that had sadly gone belly up, accomplished the most incredible solo move I’d ever witnessed…on a dolly, with a breathtaking set of wheelies, he convened a rollicking journey IN THE STREET as cars stopped, and passersby gazed at his awesome escapade.

Once over the last bump before settling in, Haddy spent the next few years with me in Fresno, and the children flocked to her, avoiding the big Steinway grand, and sister upright. They gravitated to “Haddy” only, hardlly budging on the bench while Aiden cat snugly bonded to them through scorching Valley temps.

For me, Haddy was a great springboard for imparting an analysis of Bach Invention 1 in C Major– Its voice rang out at just the right volume and timbre.

With a sterling C.V. and growing reputation, Haddy, was surely destined to become a fixture in my Fresno repository of keyboards, though in time, my eventual relocation to Berkeley, CA, came with a necessary sizing down of pianos. In fact, my new digs in the East Bay could barely accommodate a Steinway upright and grand, let alone a Yamaha digital console. So where was Haddy to be put amidst a crush of pianos?

Unfortunately, Haddy had to find a new home, and I knew it must be with an owner who’d cradle and well-maintain her forever!

Within weeks of painstaking inquiries, I found the perfect partner for Haddy. She was Karen, a piano teacher colleague whom I had known over years through our local MTAC, and because needed a second piano in her Clovis home studio, the arrangement worked.

That said, Haddy enjoyed more than two years in the Central Valley, until an email arrived from its caretaker mentioning a dramatic change in circumstances that foreshadowed Haddy’s imminent orphanhood.

Could I take Haddy back and squeeze her into a corner? My pea-pod size apartment was becoming hazardous to walk through. I had already tripped on a sea of entangled wires and cables, careening into the wall, incurring a golf-size hematoma. And my grand pianos had no easy access, so I found myself crawling under them to get to the kitchen. For sure, Haddy would not have a secure and safe presence in my household.

In the nick of time, I thought of a former El Cerrito-based adult student, (Irma) who had given up piano lessons, but still had a hankering to play at her leisure. And at the time she quit, I had taken back my Baldwin Hamilton grand that I had loaned her.

Perhaps it was now time to fill the void with my singing nightingale piano if she acquiesced. (and she did!)

Over 24 testy hours, I located Hans Oviedo, whom I had known from my years in Fresno, and together we mobilized Haddy’s relocation the East Bay.

Oviedo, who earned himself a sterling reputation building up the local piano store, Valley Music Center, owned a tenacity I could admire, and now having the Steinway dealership in agriculture’s heartland, he had opened a window to the Bay area in the retail and moving services arena.

Quickly, I tapped into his allied moving services wrapping up the saga of Haddy’s wandering fate–securing her desired adoption.

Today Haddy, the singing nightingale, is nesting in her new El Cerrito home after a safe and snug journey.

Thank you Hans, Karen, and Irma for the collective effort!


P.S. Miraculously, my pod is becoming a bit less treacherous under foot, with a few strategic keyboard shuffles. The space Haddy might have inhabited is now freed up for safe and easy access to the kitchen and bedroom.

piano room, spacier

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The Psychology of buying and selling a piano

I was hanging off the Gravitron at gym, as I shared inquiries about my FOR SALE Steinway with a personal trainer. Anonymously wrapped, my adventures seemed woven with psychological threads.Steinway upright reduced by 75 75 75 75

In the first place, BANNER ads with MODEL AND PRICE were easy to digest, even without a DIGEST to memorialize all the details surrounding my fine instrument. And if a visitor to any number of the marketplace websites I’d posted at, was literate in the English language, he or she would amply absorb information about the piano, all embedded in a well-fashioned HEADLINE and sub-text.

That is, if the inquirer was NOT making a glaring attempt to bargain down the advertised price tag, demeaning the instrument’s value, and by association its owner.

One mom, confessed that she had a very gifted youngster, perhaps 5, or so, who needed a piano, and thereby noted my ad. When I told her the Steinway was an “artist” type piano, she produced a string of Ebay links, asking me which instrument matched mine? It was clear that my piano matched one with the same model number, though this was the only discernible connection. My upright was about 20 years YOUNGER by date of manufacture, making it the NEWER piano. (did I say “NEWER” FOUR TIMES over?)

A $1000 console was added into the Ebay mix which probably threw mom for a loop. I had to explain that the small piano, was not in the league of a professional Steinway studio upright. (And I spoke from experience)

Interest waned. The call ended.

Still another inquiry came from a movie maker– Oscar nominated. (I always GOOGLE names for my personal protection in these sales undertakings. Should a caller be interested in SEEING/HEARING the piano on site, I would need to know who’s about to cross my Bezerkeley threshold)

This time the party’s email had a PERSONAL ring to it. “Here’s me, Elijah and Esther, seeing your piano. We’re interested in buying it. How much are you asking?”

How many reiterations of price were needed????

Or perhaps this was a documentary-in-progress?

…How to make a piano owner feel guilty for NOT SELLING a memento to dearly loved relatives with common roots in the Old Country.

The cultural connection to the inquirer produced an imagined script of Biblical proportion:

Moses intones from the mountain top: “Goest Thou to Donate your piano to the Shule and do a Mitzvah. Give your People an opportunity they have been deprived of for thousands of years.”

On cue, the piano-buying prospect directs me to the biggest prop on the movie lot–a ritual sin-soaking bath, with no release until after Yom Kippur.

It’s a mega-guilt-produced masterpiece with price refrains ad nausea three times over, and a choir of grieving family members sitting shiva.

Then the gripping denouement. The film-maker makes a cameo appearance, decrying her lack of interest in the piano, saying, “We’re just shopping around–the kids have had just a year of piano.”

(I feel unswerving remorse for advertising a fine piano when this poor, but richly creative woman has no pressing need for it. As punishment, I’m sent to hell)

It’s her wish fulfillment! My move down below will “free” up the piano for a “quick sale.”

One last ditch email arrives with the following forwarded message: “Here’s Shirley Kirsten’s ad about the piano. You should speak to her about it since you’re looking.”

No surprise. It turns out to be another bargain hunter in disguise. After I quote the price plastered all over the Internet, the woman, who initiated a piano blog, registers “zero” engagement with the instrument. (“We’re considering a 61-one key, electronic self-starter.”)

Finally, against this psycho-pathological buyer/seller backdrop, I still remain optimistic that the right person will purchase my Steinway. He/she will love and cherish this musical treasure until death do they part.

Post-Script: The film-maker is not predisposed to this Happy Ending unless she gets the piano “for nothin,'” (bupkes) (Not an option)