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The Ingles Family Piano!

Brigham Larson Pianos

Our family has lived in Pleasant Grove for the past 10 years. My husband's family owned a music store in Bountiful in the 1970s, so a love of music and musical instruments is part of our family story. We have an antique player piano from my husband's family as well as a baby grand piano that was passed down from my great grandparents. Both of us are musical and play a little piano. We also have three saxophones, two flutes, a didgeridoo, a berimbau, two African drums, two Hawaiian and one Tahitian ukulele, an acoustic guitar, a kalimba, and an assortment of harmonicas. We would love to turn our living room into a music room with a place to display all of our awesome instruments. Some of my fondest memories from my childhood are of my mom playing the piano and each member of the family coming in to be with her and sing hymns around the piano as she played, or of my dad playing the one song he still remembered from his childhood piano recital (Habanera from Carmen) and my sisters and I dancing around the room as he played. We built our home to be a gathering place for our family. When we moved in, it was just me, Nate, and our 2 year old, Sammy. We spent 4 years doing fertility treatments, which were all unsuccessful. We decided to do foster care, and eventually brought home a tiny baby girl from the hospital when she was 2 months old. She was diagnosed with cancer 4 months later and spent most of the first year of her life in the hospital. We were finally able to adopt her when she was 16 months old. When she was 5, we got a call telling us that she had a 5 week old baby sister who needed a place to stay. We adopted baby sister a year later. Our kids all have special needs and so we spend a lot of time working with them and their challenges. We enjoy some pretty epic dance parties around here.
Homer and Elizabeth Smith, were married on October 8, 1913 in Salt Lake City, Utah, and two weeks later, Homer left for his mission to the Hawaiian Islands. Seven years later, after Beth had joined Homer, and they had returned home and then back to Hawaii for a second mission, the Smiths returned to Utah, and to Homer’s profession as a salesman. He always wanted to sell something that would make women’s work easier, and he became the top salesman for the Maytag Company in the Western Region. Their seventh and last child (my grandmother), Shirley, was born in 1928, and in 1929, Homer and Beth built their dream home in Draper, and purchased a beautiful Howard baby grand piano. After the stock market crashed and peoples’ funds became more limited, Homer’s work became significantly more difficult. They eventually made the decision to move to Fair Oaks, CA in 1932, and the piano went with them. Homer eventually left Maytag and started Palm Acres, an egg ranch surrounded by acres of beautiful orchards and gardens. For nearly 60 years, the piano was the heart and the focal point of their home and of many family events. Grandson Alan Simons remembers, “The Simons family generally had to travel for the pilgrimages to Fair Oaks for Christmas, Independence Day, Family Reunions, and milestone birthdays. When I was six or seven, we drove from Friant, California to Fair Oaks, arriving late, after everyone had gone to sleep. The door was unlocked as usual, so we entered quietly. A pillow and blankets had been prepared for me under the piano. the freshly cut Christmas tree was all decorated with great big 25 watt lights, tinsel and the treasured ornaments that we all recognized. I drifted off to sleep with the smell of the Douglas Fir, the colored lights, the sparkling tinsel, and the realization that I was in a place that was for me a touchstone, always there and never changing.” Granddaughter Kathy Elledge (now a piano teacher) reflected, “I remember in the bench was an LDS Hawaiian hymn book and sheet music of The Holy City. I remember singing it for them as my husband played it on the piano. As I sang, ‘Jerusalem, Jerusalem...hosanna in the highest, hosanna to our King’ they loved it and said it was one of their very favorite songs.” Granddaughter Cheryl Allred remembers playing the piano for Grandpa Smith’s 75th birthday party. At his 80th birthday party, Homer said to his descendants, “In this life, we feel that we have been exceptionally blessed. There has never been a time when we haven’t had all the blessings we could take care of; food to eat, clothes to wear, house to live in, joy and happiness with our friends and loved ones, and complete satisfaction in knowing that there is the possibility of an eternal reward if we keep the commandments of our Heavenly Father. So as we strive for that goal, we are constantly praying every day that we won’t lose any of you on the way.” After Homer’s passing in 1985, Elizabeth moved in with her youngest daughter Shirley and son-in-law Jay. In 1990, they all moved from California to Provo, Utah. Tragically, while the piano was being moved to Utah, there was a leak in the moving truck, and the piano sustained water damage. The moving company refused to reimburse them for the damage. Elizabeth passed away later that year, and for the next twenty years, the piano sat, virtually unusable, in Jay and Shirley’s living room. As great granddaughter Sara Randall remembers, “that piano was the centerpiece of Grandma and Grandpa’s home to me. I spent a lot of time looking at all of the pictures that were displayed on top of it. That room is full of memories and the piano was always the focal point for me as a kid.” In 2014, after Shirley had passed, and Jay decided to sell their home, the piano was moved to my home in Pleasant Grove. As I have pondered about the beloved family heirloom that has been in my possession for a decade now, I have come to the conclusion that for me, the piano is so much more than just a piano. It is a symbol of the lives and legacy of my great grandparents, Homer and Elizabeth Smith. When I see the piano, I remember them, and feel of their love for me, and for all of our family. I know that the damage the piano sustained was severe, and that most parts of the piano will need to be completely replaced. As our family has faced challenges such as infertility, adoption, childhood cancer, children with special needs, and unemployment, the cost of restoring the piano has become increasingly out of reach. I have hoped and prayed that someday, somehow I would be able to find a way to honor the love and sacrifices made my both my grandparents and great grandparents by restoring this beautiful heirloom. My hope is that my children can continue that legacy and honor their ancestors for the next hundred years as they now learn to play the piano.

  • YEAR 1920-1930
  • MAKE From The Family Music Store to Trying Times: Restoring Grandparent's Heirloom Piano Stands as a Beacon of Hope!
  • SERIAL NUMBER 211487
  • FINISH Wood Finish
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