The beginning of a new era
It was the end of 1972. I was 18 and I had just decided that majoring in Commercial Art and accumulating a bigger student loan debt than I already had, wasn’t for me. I got a job as a roofer with my friend Rocky and we were working on the then new Hunts Point Market in the South Bronx. December quickly turned into January 1973 and working outside in the wind, cold and snow had me begging my Dad to get me a job at Steinway & Sons. He had been reluctant to do so earlier as this is where he spent his whole working life and wanted something better than that for his son. At this point, any job was better than no job and he knew I was never setting foot on those windy rooftops again.
The job he got me: Lumber Marker. I to this day am not sure it was his way of attempting to discourage me. Basically the job consisted of greeting the stacks of lumber that had been sitting in the outside yard for 5 years. These piles of wood were left outside to age so that they would split, crack, bend and warp. After inspecting each piece for defects and marking them up with a crayon; denoting specific widths and lengths. This was done as a way to avoid having the pieces of wood that would not be fit to withstand the ability to be used as part of a Steinway. It was dirty and hard on the hands, but it was warm and I learned a lot about wood. That was my job for the first year and a half at the Steinway factory.