On my dad's side, my grandparents John and Gertie Krentz also had a piano in the living room at their farm in North Dakota. Although this photo is a little blurry, I can make out sheet music for Mockin' Bird Hill and something by Hank Snow.
I asked my cousin Mary, who grew up near my grandparents, what she remembered about that piano. "I used to play around on that piano on a Sunday afternoon," she said. "I remember they had How Much is That Doggie in the Window? and The Tennessee Waltz."
Then she went on to tell me, "They had an old record player. One of the songs on that was about a box that people opened and then tried to throw away. You never learned what was in the box, that I remember. Can't remember the name of it, but would sure recognize it if I heard it or heard the name. Maybe it was called The Thing. I used to play it over and over. Probably drove everybody nuts as it was right inside the double doorway of the dining area."
Being the first-born grandchild, she probably got away with quite a bit. I think so anyway, because as it turns out, she's right about the title of the song, and I leave it to you, dear reader, to decide how many playings it would take to drive the whole family right over the edge into the abyss!