Sentiment naturally clings to any possession cherished by one we love. Something spiritual seems to invest material things, especially after the death of those near to us. We used to know of an old, old man, who kept a little rag doll in his trunk — a rag doll moistened now and then with tears, for over eighty years — “ever since little Ellen passed on.”
In many a home today there is a revered piano — revered because it was mother’s piano. It has become a monument of sentiment. Sentiment is one of the finest of all human traits. The individual without sentiment is usually not a very desirable member of society. Many of the strong men we have known — men who have had a reputation for being “hard-boiled” — have merely been exhibiting an armor which they have donned over their human sentimentalism.
Sentiment, however, is often misplaced. “Mother’s Piano” is properly a symbol for mother’s love for music. In one family, where the mother was a great music lover, the instrument was arbitrarily closed by father for two years after the passing of mother – “out of respect.” This was a very queer way of showing respect for mother’s love for music. Meanwhile the children of that home went without the music lessons and practice that mother was so anxious that they should have.
How much more properly and reverently could that father have paid tribute to his wife’s memory, if he had but taken up and carried on her instinctive wisdom in caring for her “babies,” by devoting as large a sum as possible to the higher perpetuation of her ideals. Even if this meant discarding the old piano and buying a finer and newer instrument, it would have been a far nobler symbol of a real sentimental regard for the dear lady who had brought so much joy and beauty to the home through music. Instead, he put a small fortune into a mausoleum in the cemetery which he visits twice a year, A mausoleum may be a fine way of remembering the dead. Isn’t it a far more reverent and beautiful duty to remember the living with a living instrument representing the ideals of one who has passed?’
There are many disgracefully old and dilapidated pianos in homes in all parts of the country, kept there by a false sentiment. Let a new piano indicate your real sentiment. How proud mother would be to see that piano in daily, happy, productive use! ~ The Etude, February 1935