I Knew My Sister Had Grown Up When-

A tale of a haunted piano and a little girl

Hi! This is part of my “What You Wanted Me To Write” series where readers tell me what to write about. No topic is too hard! Today’s suggestion? Lonely Pianos. Read the rest of the topics here.

This article is dedicated to Abigail and to all Pianos, big and small.


My little sister, as I have already described at length, receives privileges I did not know existed at her age.

From ear piercings to mechanical pencils, all the little treats my childhood heart longed after but was denied are given to her-around the same time I received them myself.

Take dollhouses for example.

When I was young, I did not have a dollhouse at first.

What I did have was a toy catalog that I would peruse, lingering long over the page devoted to the doll houses and the tiny people and furniture inside. I imagined what it would be like to open the refrigerator, to run my hand along the stairs, to have a doll house of my own.

Then, one sunny day when I was six, the doll house arrived.

My happiness has preserved memories of that Day of all Days.

I remember a truck pulling up in front of our house and a package coming out from it. Afterwards, we set it up.

I was a bit dismayed to find that the furniture came in only one color. (My mom later told me we had to paint the furniture for it to be different colors).

But, despite this minor error in communication, my doll house was my creative stage for the next five years of my life. I acted shows in it, hung criminals from its roof, and, being me, I wrote on it in crayon a couple times.

By the time my little sister was born, many of the doll house’s original cast had moved on to bigger roles: the small box TV had not made the move with us to New Mexico; the five-step ladder was waging war among my brother’s bag of soldiers; and, farther up, half the roof must have seen a hurricane because it was no longer with us.

But even at the elderly age of ten years old, the dollhouse was still loved and cherished. My little sister enthusiastically began to place her toys in it once she could walk, until-

Enter the Barbie Monstrosity.

To fully understand the contrast between my doll house and the Barbie Wreckage, one might want to picture a simple latte (one with the foamy heart) placed next to a Venti Unicorn Frappucino with double whip from Starbucks.

My humble four-room and half-roofed wooden house could not compare to the mansion of pink, purple, and yellow that my sister began to play with.

It was a slum of Calcutta trying to vie with the Governor’s Palace. It was Lazarus and Abraham, the slime and the diamond, my sister’s room and mine.

So my little doll house sinked into obscurity. It is now the place where my sister will send the miscreant Barbies for some “shaping up” or “discipline”.

My dollhouse has become a Concentration Camp.

But where was I going with this?

To Karma.

Because, after enjoying a few years in my sister’s graces, the Golden Age of the Barbie Mansion is seeing its sun setting.

My sister turned ten this year. She still plays with dolls and furniture once in a while but books, movies, and drawing take more of her attention. Also that task which is duller than my old doll house: “homework”.

They sit together now, my doll house and hers.

Perhaps mine, now over thirteen years old, is sharing with that Caramelized Pink Mistake the best way to become forgotten.

They sit there and, sometimes, when there is nobody in the house, the piano plays.

The Barbie house has a piano on its second floor.

It is a piano that has not felt the touch of a doll’s hands in a long time, since my sister stopped placing them on the piano.

It plays now.

The song of loneliness, the song of being forgotten, the song of time gone by.

Like what you read? Give The Art Of Being Young a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.