Harp Adventures: A Prelude to Chicago

On the day before Easter this year my poor Elizabeth broke yet again. The soundboard, that we shipped her all the way to Chicago to have repaired, split. Again.

But this time was worse.

The split went farther down the board than before, and once again she was unplayable. My beloved, 95 year old harp was broken again.

I wondered if her original, 95 year old soundboard could ever be fixed and saved.

And I cried a lot. Again.

I didn’t want to say good bye, I didn’t want to lose her… She’s been with me through everything! She was my first pedal harp, and she saw my grandma get sick and pass away, my mom get sick and pass away, both my dog-dog and Mr. Man cat pass away, and she has been with me through school and orchestra and numerous lessons plus gigs! How could I ever say goodbye to her? She’s my baby…

So my dad spoke with the person who had dealt with repairing Elizabeth the first time and although he could try repairing her again, he couldn’t guarantee anything. The only thing he could guarantee was replacing the soundboard entirely, but there was no guarantee that she would ever sound as good as she used to… And she certainly wouldn’t look the same either! It was a 50/50 chance… she could be amazing! Or she could be completely awful. Who could tell?

Me re-adding tension to Elizabeth’s strings after she was shipped back to my Dad’s place from her repair in Chicago.

My dad and I decided we didn’t want to gamble with her, so we pushed to have the insurance total her out so I could just purchase a brand new harp. The thought of her being owned by the insurance company and possibly being turned into firewood was heart wrenching, but I had hope that I could talk them into letting me rebuy her from them, or at least her soundboard so I could always have her with me. If I could at least do the latter, then I could put it into a shadow box and make it a piece of art work to hang on the wall along with my new harp, lever harp, and upright piano.

Well, things managed to turn out pretty darn good surprisingly! My insurance totalled out Elizabeth, and when they cut the check, they deducted the amount they had put into her initial repairs AND let me keep Elizabeth!

Hip hip hooray!!

So… that brings me to where I am at this point in time – writing a blog post on my cell phone from my hotel in Chicago. Because I wanted to give you guys the back story to how I got to be out in Chicago, so far from home, picking out a…

BRAND NEW HARP!!!

Yep! I’m in the city where my amazing Elizabeth was made, all the way back in 1918. And on top of it all I’m here during her birthday month! She and her amazing soundboard turn 96 this month!

It’s sort of bittersweet because I know Elizabeth will never be the same again, but this is not the end of her story. I am going to see if I can get her fixed up one last time and retire her from being a gigging/college harp to a stay at home/practice harp. Moving her a lot is too risky for a lady her age after all ;)

<3 and harp strings,
Kate

P.S. Stay tuned for my posts from Chicago and what comes from my trip out here to Lyon and Healy! I have tons of pictures ready to share with you all, and more will be taken tomorrow when I get a tour of where Elizabeth was born, and finally pick out my second baby!

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