I’m not a department store person. Generally if I shop at all, I prefer to go on-line or to a thrift store. But when we go to Philadelphia, our routine involves a trip to Macy’s.
We must be there by noon, and we must stand by the central court eagle statue. Clerks are talking, shoppers are trying on shoes and looking at the price of wristwatches. A handful of people near the eagle are also waiting for the 12:00 organ recital. The organist opens the loft door, and we’re excited to see Peter Conte, the Official Grand Court Organist, whom we didn’t expect today.
The Wanamaker organ is the largest instrument in the world with 10,000 pipes. The largest pipe, over 32′ long, is wide enough to hold a pony. Built in 1904, this extraordinary organ is currently valued at $57 million.
Standing between women’s shoes and jewelry, I listen as my old classmate plays the lush string division. Later he’ll tell us, “I was just doodling around.” He’ll roll his eyes a little. “You should have told me you were here. I would have played some real music.”
I didn’t tell him that when he opened up the sound of the instrument, a tear came to my eye – so unexpected and strong it plopped onto the floor. As he began to play, I turned away and looked at 50% off earrings, not wanting my husband to see me blind-sided by beauty in a department store.