The piano keys

Tall weeping willows bordering the leading driveway to this monstrous house called the Swiss Chateau. A mystery in itself, rich folks from out of town own it and keep it closed until the summer months. During the closing period, the guardian keeps an eye on the property. The neighborhood kids…, including myself, love the challenge to outwit the guardian with his dog, Brandy. A well-deserved name from an owner most of the time all brandied up.

The basement small window with broken glass, leaving enough space for our small bodies to slide in the basement. The gate to a splurge of adventure in a fantasy created by us the kids. The plundering of closets to dress our small bodies in grown-up garbs. Tuxedos, extravagant long dresses, hats, gloves, chinchillas, boas, long female gloves reaching way over the elbows. All in all, a paradise of disguisement opportunities to the enjoyment of our gang of mischief scoundrels.

Unfolding in front of my eyes, with all my school buddies as the actors of a Fellini’s production created without any specific organization. A white grand piano dominates the living room the size of a ballroom, allows me to become the pianist of the party. 

I start to play, the piano from memories of my piano lessons with Mme Lemoine  “Claire de Lune,” from Debussy’s repertoire.  My fingers more or less hitting the piano keyboard trying to follow the music sheet. When I miss a key…, the right key without my help would continue to follow the core of the music––I stand up, and run out of the room, to the dismay of my friends.

Asked what the heck was wrong with me. My answer of a ghost of sort, playing the piano along with me, to the laughs of the gang. Not until Max the oldest of our group sat at the piano and experienced the same, did my story became officiated with all the scoundrels.

When I told the story to my father who turned white. He told of the owners’ wife, Amelia who loved to play the piano every morning. Amelia died of a seizure during her sleep one night in the king’s bed with baldachins of their master bedroom. She is believed to roam around the mansion ever since.



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