Organ Transplant ? ?

Not absolutely certain, after all this time, but I think the road I’m thinking of was called Gloucester Road, an unmade turning off Leinster Road. When the Development Corporation had finished evicting (compulsorily purchasing) all the residents and the properties were in the beginning stages of demolition, we, as kids would explore them. We would look to see if we could find anything of value, use or interest, that we could plunder to take home with us.

On one such occasion, we went into the remains of one house, that I believe, a family of Salvation Army members must have occupied. I made this assumption based on the articles they had left behind. In this house we discovered an organ, one that had two big pedals to operate the bellows and as my Dad played the piano, I decided to rescue it. Myself and a friend struggled (we were about 12/13) to get this out of the debris and load it onto my soapbox cart. Whew, was it heavy! This we finally managed to do, although it was rather precariously perched and now had to be transported along Gloucester and Leinster Roads, both unmade, ruts and bumps everywhere. Me pulling it by the string on the cart, my friend pushing and trying to hold it steady as we went. Not easy!

We eventually arrived at my house, where the welcome I had hoped for didn’t quite materialise. But my gift to my Dad was grudgingly allowed into the hallway of our house, where it spent many years. As Dad had been a victim of polio as a boy, it had left him with a weak right leg, and as such he didn’t have the strength to pedal it for very long. To overcome this, Mum sat on a chair next to him, she pedalled, he played. As I said, the organ lived in our hall for a good number of years, until it eventually succumbed to the woodworm that I had fetched home with it. Many hours of pleasure were had out of an instrument that was destined for destruction before its time. 

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  • Whilst I mentioned that my Dad played the piano, I didn’t exactly say just how much he played. We had three pianos in our house (yes 3) plus the salvaged organ. One in the living room and two in the “front room” and the organ in the hall.

    As a child, for a time, I thought front meant unused, as that’s just what our “front room” was – unused, except for Dad’s piano sessions. Dad had his own piano, then when his father passed away, Dad inherited that one and when my uncle passed away yet another inheritance was added to the collection. As if that was not enough, when it was discovered just how much pleasure was being had from the rescued organ, Mum bought Dad an electric keyboard. This occupied the last remaining space in our hall.

    Dad tried to teach me to play the piano – it didn’t work. Not only was I, regrettably, mostly disinterested but my short fat sausage like fingers didn’t make it easy and as most of my school reports document, I didn’t like hard work and would have a tendency to give up. Which I did. 

    By Donald Joy (01/11/2015)
  • Reading Donald Joy’s article “Organ Transplant” and his father inheriting pianos brought back memories of my inheriting the family piano when I was about 13 years old.  I couldn’t play the instrument but this was corrected (to a degree) by lessons with a Mrs Prudence who lived in St Nicholas Lane.  Does anyone else remember having lessons with this lady?  She also had a son who was an accordion player.

    By georgina Nottage (nee Ellingford) (01/11/2015)
  • Great story – I really enjoyed it.

    By Nina Humphrey(née Burton) (31/10/2015)

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