The pianist's mother was a concert cellist and she played till she was eighty five, and practised in our home rather than her apartment since she was driving her fellow apartment dwellers crazy with her unending scales.!
I was working one day in the operating room with a colleague doing a long case and he was going on at the time, endlessly it seemed, about a side occupation he did in addition to his general practice. He was a classical music lover and scholar and had an interest in brokering string instruments. He was enthusiastic about a Stradivarius he had acquired the rights to and had traveled to Olympic city, " Where the money is, " he said, " to show it to a client. " I half listened to him as he rattled on gaily about his forays in the precious instrument trade, while I kept track of the surgical matter of his patient in my hands.
Then he said out of the blue, "I have a bid on a Vaillaume cello as well. They are rare but there is a client of mine in the market for one if I can find it. "Oh ya ," I said, half listening, "we have one of those in a closet at home." There was silence. He knew I was a barbarian and couldn't tell the difference between a cello and a kettledrum. At least that's what he probably thought.
" No," he said
" Yes, " I said, " It's probably in a closet somewhere in the house."
Well, there was no way that he wasn't going to see it that night. He said nothing more and assiduously paid attention to what we were doing to his patient over the balance of the case. Then I couldn't hold him back. He bounded up the stairs of the home at ten pm and said in profound disbelief to the pianist, " You don't have a Vaillaume cello in your closet, do you?"
"Yes" she said, " My mother bought it in Paris when she played there in 1928."
My colleague examined it carefully and then looked at me as if I was a newly hatched giant of the music industry. I felt like a poseur after all that talk , but I wasn't going to let him know that I was just a surgical mug who knew what was in a closet , somewhere in the house.