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Question of the Day
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - The piano had no use.
Someone hauled the beat-up piano into a big trash bin parked at a nursing home in Germantown, then took off.
The woman had no memory.
Sometimes, her son had to remind her to change her clothes or turn off the gas stove after cooking.
But when the piano came into the life of the 79-year-old mother, magic happened, not only for her, but for all the seniors at the NewCourtland LIFE Center in North Philadelphia.
The story begins two years ago with R. Max Kent. He works as an assistant vice president for NewCourtland Inc., a nonprofit developer of nursing homes and daytime senior centers. His job is finding money for projects and keeping on top of new developments.
It was during renovation work at the nonprofit’s Germantown Home that he found the spinet, made a half-century ago by the Winter Piano Co.
“Overnight, this piano materialized,” Kent said.
Instead of sending it to the dump, he took the small piano home. “I thought, ‘What the heck,’ and threw it in the back of my truck,” he said.
Kent does not restore pianos. He plays the trumpet and is musical enough to “find middle C with my ear,” he said.
But he is a tinkerer. He spent 21 years in the Army, taking care of tanks and other armored vehicles. “I have the right gene for taking things apart and putting them together,” he said.
In his spare time, he went to work on the piano, going online for tips. He replaced broken wood and warped panels. He changed brass wheels. He repaired hammers and reattached strings. He used toothpaste to polish keys.
Four months later, the piano was tuned and ready, but with nowhere to go.
“What am I going to do now with this piano?” Kent wondered.
He kept it in his garage in Downingtown.
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