Thursday, September 17, 2015

Character of the Week: Corinne from Pianissimo

Corinne Richards: dutiful army housewife, isolated loner, former pianist, home owner, and now piano restorer.

Corinne thought she had finally "made it." She, and her husband Darryl, had just purchased their house. He was due to retire from the army, and they could finally start living the life they had always hoped for.

Life had different plans for her.

Instead, Darryl is shipped off for one last tour. That blow sends Corinne spiraling into isolation and depression. Prior to this, she connected with other military wives. This time...she just gave up.

It's important to look at her history in order to fully understand what brought her to the house in Louisville.

Corinne grew up in Indiana. Hers was a typical mid-Western upbringing. Her parents owned a modest home.

Corinne and her brothers played sports. Their mother also encouraged all of them to play the piano. The lessons didn't stick with the boys very well. Corinne, though, had a natural talent for it.

She was a senior in high school when she was faced with a most difficult decision: piano or soccer? She was being scouted for a possible soccer scholarship, so sports won. Only three games into the season, and she injured her knee, dashing her dreams. To make matters worse, her parents sold the piano after she made her decision, and thus she was left with nothing.

She and Darryl met at Indiana State. He was working towards a degree in electronics engineering, she was in the General Studies program. It was love at first sight. Their courtship lasted through all four years at the college.

At that time, Darryl wanted to get some hands-on training, so he enlisted in the army. Desperate not to lose him, Corinne begged and pleaded with him to get married. So they did. In a small ceremony performed by a Justice of the Peace, Corinne became Mrs. Richards, and was able to travel with Darryl to different posts.

Years of moving and tours came and went. When Darryl FINALLY decided not to re-enlist, Corinne couldn't have been happier. She was finally getting her husband all to herself. She could finally have a "normal" life like she had growing up. So they bought a house and got ready to settle down. Then Darryl gets shipped off one last time...

What they didn't know when they bought the old farm house was that it was rich in history. It belonged to one of the most prominent Louisville families. It had stories, it had pictures, it had a piano, it had ghosts!

The spirits of the Walker family made themselves quite known to Corinne, even though she had no desire to meet them. What begins as a frightening, and terrifying occurrence becomes a wonderful lesson in history and humanity for Corinne.

She discovers the old, dilapidated piano. She discovers the old photos, letters, and journals. And through it all, she discovers herself.

Corinne is not a likely heroine. She's a rather "average" gal. She has no dreams of making it big. She just wants a normal family life. What she discovers is that family is what you make of it. Her ability to open her eyes and open her mind makes her one of my favorites, and possible even one of the greatest heroines in literature.

Favorite quote from Corinne: "Time to get back to regular life."

Happy reading!

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