Wednesday, November 12, 2014

How stories are born

Writing is an interesting job. I get suggestions about potential stories all the time. "My Uncle Bob has this dog that wrestles chickens, and I think it would make a great story." Or "My grandmother is a line dancer, and picks up bikers at the local roadhouse." OK, I'm kidding about these, but you get the picture. A lot of leads, lead nowhere.

But every now and then a story comes along that gently nudges at you and says, "This could be interesting."

Last Christmas, we played for the staff at Bevill State College. It was a fun gig, and the reception was incredible.

While there, our friend Jonathan, who teaches at Bevill asked, "Have you looked at that piano?" It was an old piano in the corner that looked like a survivor of one too many frat parties. Names were carved into every surface.

When I looked at it, the names weren't of college students, but of WWII soldiers. 

I finally got around to researching the story and what I found was amazing to me.

I mentioned this story last week, and I finished it up. I pitched the idea to The New York Times, and other publications, but apparently what the editors read was, "MY Uncle Bob has this dog........." because I got no response.

The American Legion did send me back and email that asked me to post the story on their blog. They said that editors of the International American Legion Magazine took articles that resonated on the blog and printed them in the magazine.

So, I posted the story and it appeared today at OLD PIANO.  If you have a moment, I would be grateful if you'd have a look and if you like it, make a comment or share it if you're so inclined.


  1. Very cool story and a lovely way to preserve the soldiers names.

  2. Rick, I'm so glad you stumbled upon this great piece of history. It males a beautiful and a nostalgic storey. It'a amazing that the owner of the piano embraced the idea that soldiers should all sign the piano as a memorial of WW2.
    You did a great job of bringing it to light just in time for Veteran's Day.


  3. It makes, not male... JB

  4. Congrats. That's awesome! I'll go check it out. And I loved this line: "A lot of leads, lead nowhere." So true.

  5. I was unable to leave a comment there, but this is a wonderful story!

  6. Anonymous1:09 PM

    It's hard to comment with tears in your eyes!!

  7. VEry moving article. Much history and feelings here. Love the idea of the piano holding all that history and heart.

  8. Wow! that looks like a very neat old piano! I enjoyed the story! What a wonderful way to remember the soldiers!

  9. That's great, Rick. I tweeted the link to the article and the link to your blog. To put the icing on the cake, I shared it on Google+. I hope it receives lots of attention.


  10. Wonderful article, Rick! I can't wait to show it to my DH - he's a musician, as well as a WWII history buff .... no doubt, he'd love to see this piano in person on our next trip to Alabama.
    PS - Hope you don't mind, I've just shared the article on my FB page.

  11. Yep, ideas can turn up anywhere. Can't wait to follow link and read the article. But your comment about "the names were of college student" has me scratching my head. What names? Where??? Pls clalrify.


Please consider sharing

Email Signup Form

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required