August 29, 2016

Square Piano?

      Please see our piano pictured here. It is not just any piano. This is a square piano. Well, it's not really square, it's rectangular, but that's what they call this gem and, if I'm honest, we only own one key.  That's not exactly right either.  And so the story goes, many years ago, when we initially joined our local Amelia Island Museum of History, one of the first projects we participated in was that of restoring this square grand piano for the Victorian Room there. Each key was $100, as I recall.  Since middle C was already snagged by someone else, we chose one we would remember from all the others by its placement and that was low A, the first white key on the left side of the keyboard. Because this was a fund raiser and since we donated the money, you can understand we don't really "own" the piano or the key, but we still love her very much.

     I will never forget the
summer Sunday afternoon we spent at the museum in that Victorian Room.  With a candelabra as the only light, a gentleman in tie and tails played while a lovely women in period costume and wig sang music from vintage sheet music. As a matter of fact, this scene returned before my mind's eye and was part of my mental image when I wrote of Maestro Paolo Alontti in Amelia Island's Velvet Undertow.

     Over time, as the exhibits in the museum were changed, we lost track of the piano.  When I asked someone on the museum board about it, they told me it currently sits in the lobby of the local Citizens State Bank in Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island, Florida. That's downtown Centre Street across from St. Peter's Episcopal Church with the red tin roof.  So if you're in the area, stop in to see it. 
Music Stand
     If you want to learn about these antique square pianos, visit the YouTube links below.  You can hear what a similar piano sounds like in Part 2 of The History of Square Pianos, beginning about 5 minutes into it.  Enjoy!
Piano Lyre and Foot Pedals
Decorative Feet

Brief History of the Square Piano Part 1 - narrated by Thomas Strange of Easley, South Carolina

Brief History of the Square Piano Part 2  - also narrated by Mr. Strange

P.S. In my research, I found this exact-looking square grand piano dating from 1865 to 1873 either sold or selling for $30,000.

This piano is currently housed in the lobby of:
Citizens State Bank
715 Centre St, Fernandina Beach, FL 32034
 (904) 261-8233

August 27, 2016

Clichés - Horrors!

     I'm going to let you in on a little secret.  Yes,    I'm going to let the cat out of the bag.  Let's face it. Clichés are the bane of every author's existence.  We avoid them like the plague or try.  But why?  If truth be told, they are often  right as rain.  Still, writers beware.  Don't fall asleep at the switch or, by popular demand, you will reach the end of your road, sooner rather than later.  - Jane Marie

August 18, 2016

Fairy Tale Quotation

Amelia Island Perfection
"Fairy tales are more than true, not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten."
                                           - Neil Gaiman

P.S. Remember, Jane Marie believes in happy endings. "May all your dreams arrive on time ..." - Jane Marie Malcolm

August 15, 2016

Failure Highway

Some folk say I need to be smarter.
I have tried all I know how to do. 
The path to success is challenging.
The easy roads are few.

To fail is certainly needed.
Yes, it certainly takes its toll.
For Failure is the name of the highway,
That will take you to your goal.

Fear not the failures in life, you see,
They are the path to success.
No creature on Earth has done better.
None has avoided the stress.

So when you encounter failure,
Do not dismay or groan.
It's only another required step.
Treat it as a welcome step-stone.
                                    by Chuck Hall

I read this poem by my friend Chuck Hall and asked him if I could put it on the blog.  The message in it is so encouraging and says it all.

Chuck is a website designer and owner of and one heck of a banjo player.

August 5, 2016

Goodbye Lie Diaries-Aunt Noreen VS Mrs. Ickles

Fernandina on Amelia Island, Florida 
Late 1800s   
Amelia Island's Velvet Undertow is part of The Victorian Goodbye Lie Series
Aunt Noreen writes:

Dear Readers of Jane Marie's stories,
This is your favorite and very well-known Aunt Noreen, once again coming to you by the magic of what Jane Marie Malcolm calls electronics.  Today, I thought I might mention a little something about my dearest acquaintance, Mrs. Ickles.  You have occasionally seen her name in Jane Marie's Goodbye Lie trilogy, although not nearly as often as you have mine. We both live in Fernandina, the seaside city on Amelia Island and are very proud Fernandiners (pronounced Fern-an-deen-rs). Mrs. Ickles and I participate in many of the same activities, including the Orchid Society and St. Michael's Linger-Longer small prayer group, where we study scripture.

In the interest of getting to know the personalities of the people in the books better, I thought it would be useful to tell you something about Mrs. Ickles.  I'm writing this now, before she makes her own entry in these Diaries and distorts matters. So, there we were, in small group.  This time it was in Mrs. Ickles' home. We had each finished a serving of her somewhat soggy lemon pound cake and melted lemon ice cream. Mrs. Ickles isn't known for her baking or cooking, as am I. It was her turn to recite the required memorized scripture aloud.  She was unable!  She could only recall one line out of three!  Shame, I say.  Being her friend, I thought it best to point out why she had become so unconcerned with regard to her Bible verses.  "If you didn't spend so many hours setting such a beautiful table, you would have time to memorize your verses." I thought this was grand advice, given in a kindly manner.  Complimenting her table removed any sting she might have felt at my observation of her lack of effort on doing what she should.  I expected praise from the others gathered. To my utter surprise, no one said anything.  In fact, they all rose, thanked Mrs. Ickles for being a lovely hostess and left, rudely leaving me behind to help clean up the tea cups and plates. Mrs. Ickles was quiet, too, I'm sure contemplating how she could remedy her short comings.  She is blessed to have someone like me, who cares enough to instruct her as to what is right and proper.