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EARLY IN THE summer of 1941, Mici rented out our first house, moved us to New York, and reestablished us in an apartment on Morningside Drive. For about three months after the move, I dedicated every Sunday to looking for a piano. In many respects, I am a terrible husband. I have no ideas about decorating, clothes, or food, I have never entered a store or tailor shop willingly, I cannot drive a nail into a wall (straight or crooked), and I am baffled when the plumbing (or any other system or gadget) does not work. In short, I am worthless both as a fixer and as a purchaser—except in regard to a piano. There I am enthusiastically my own favorite expert.
During that summer, I played on hundreds of second-hand grand pianos and fell in love with several that were too expensive. Eventually, I found just what I wanted: a small concert grand (little more than seven feet long) with a sweet voice and excellent key action. It was at least seventy years old, and its original pillar-like round legs, which Mici would not have tolerated in her home, had been replaced with more graceful angular ones. Because it had a cracked sounding board, it was priced within our budget—$400. It remains the only possession that I truly appreciate. 1____________________