Wednesday, January 12, 2005 – The posting read:
“[freecycle] OFFER: 1880ish Pump Organ”
“Pump organ is in need of restoration.
We are in the Broadway/Kolb area. 207-xxxx.
Would appreciate removal ASAP. Thanks!”
I stopped reading and immediately replied.
“I would love to have this! I can pick it up as soon as you’d like. – John.”
(or something like that).
Thrilled, I couldn’t wait for a reply. I had to be the first.. I just had to be. I think I might have even called. After some negotiations on pick up time I was at their doorstep checking the address and a little giddy. With no idea of what I was going to get I just imagined the world, an antique in need of some dusting with gilded-gold siding and snow white ivory keys. They answered the door and we proceeded through the standard salutations of internet friends meeting for the first time. They had me pull around to the ally where they’d show me the goods. Two seconds later I was behind their house. They opened their gate and showed me to a small wooden leaning shed where they unlocked the door and swung it open.
Inside, just past some stacked wood I thought I saw the twinkle of a dying instrument. The meager murmurs of a music maker muted in the dark recesses of storage. Here I was, THE LIBERATOR! Hooray for me, the HERO! My host stood for a second, as if to evaluate, for the first time, the poor condition of his storage unit. Perhaps he was condemning himself for such unethical treatment of such a worthy instrument. Ashamed, he pointed and said, “so, here it is.” Ashamed, I replied back in my most made up aire of enthusiasm for the day, “Cool!” He had pointed right at the stack of wood I had previously thought superfluous, perhaps a part of an in progress bird house, perhaps the remains of an old bed, but certainly not a finely tuned instrument found in churches and estates. There is was, right in front of me, and I was doubtful of my ability to undertake and I was ashamed of it. As was the deal I agreed to take it, hiding my doubts beneath my reemerging enthusiasm for the beginnings of a new project, the beginnings of adventure.
We began to move it out of the shed and it’s structure slowly emerged. Now I began to see through the dirt and dust and past the weathering, into the soul of the art, this was once a wonderful working instrument and it had the will to be so again.
Once the bulk of the organ was out in the open then came the symptoms of much needed work. In the form of several bundles of parts, independent of the initial furniture, these apparently went somewhere, but where my host didn’t know. The adventure was growing in my head and the glory right along side it.
Now came the final trick – transport.
We squared it up and took a look. The rear hatch of my Volvo tapers in toward the top. It’s also smaller than the internal cubic space, so if we’re able to get it past the entry, we’re good all the way in. Sizing both up we took some time to orient and the heaved. The organ went up on end and then over backwards. We set it on the bumper and then up on the rear. It was going to be close. We pushed and the organ grabbed the rubber around the hatch opening at the corners. With a little rub of the fingers and a tweak of the wrist the frame ducked down, the opening yawned and the two became one. Bundled parts, a bulky framed non-working organ, and one antique organ song book and I guided the hatch to a gentle close, shook hands, promised good things, and saw my feet to their respective pedals. They were happy to have it gone and I was happy to have it. I think it worked out perfectly.
I later recalled my host telling me that he had picked it up as a project to work on but never got around to it. Now I was even more determined to start the rebuild. But as all such things must go, tear down before rebuild and meticulous records would be my only chance to find perfection and glory.