Ask Jo: My Pump Organ

Every so often I share questions and comments from blog reader.  Today I am answering a question from  Linda, “ON YOUR BLOG THIS MORNING I NOTICED YOU HAVE A PUMP ORGAN IN BACKGROUND. WHAT KIND OF TOP DOES IT HAVE ON IT? I HAVE ONE THAT HAS BEEN IN FAMILY FOR SEVERAL YEARS. I DON’T EVER REMEMBER A TOP BUT THERE IS A LITTLE DISCOLOR AND THINK THERE MAY HAVE BEEN ONE YEARS AGO. I WENT ON CHRISTMAS HOME TOUR 6 OR 7 YEARS AGO AND THEY HAD ONE WITH A DOME LOOKING TOP. FIRST ONE I HAVE SEEN WITH TOP  ON IT”

Linda had see this picture.

SMM

Yes..that is a pump organ in the back and that pump organ has a story.

It is my Grandma Johnson’s.

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Right now it is due for a good dose of lemon oil.  Anyway…My grandma had long been dead by time I came around.  Grandpa had sold the farm to my Dad remarried and moved to town.  Even Grandpa had died before I was born.  I never got a sense of Grandpa and Grandma Johnson’s house and have no idea of how they decorated or what they had for furniture.  I’m really sorry I missed them.

Anyway, even though this organ was Grandma’s I had no idea of it’s existence.  My aunt Esther got it at some point.

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From there, her son John got it.  John and his wife Katha got it from her.  They decided they didn’t want it anymore and knew their boys weren’t interested in it so they gave it to my sister Judy.

I first learned of the organ when it came to Judy’s house.  I was told it was my Grandma Johnson’s and it was purchased for her use.  There’s a story about getting it from a bar in Parkersburg, Iowa or something like that.

PumpOrgan-3

When we were cleaning out my Dad’s house after he passed away my sister was so sad.  My Mom and Dad had a Hammond organ.  Mom played.  Judy took lessons on it and liked to play too.  Me…not really.  Anyway Judy wished we wouldn’t have to give the organ away to Goodwill.  She wanted it.  None of the rest of us wanted it.  Judy lamented that if only she didn’t have the old pump organ, she would have room for Mom and Dad’s Hammond organ.

Well I quickly jumped in and said I could take the pump organ and she could have the Hammond…and so the deal was struck.

PumpOrgan-4

I have the pump organ that was our grandparents and Judy has the Hammond that was our parents.  It worked out rather well.

The organ as you see doesn’t have a top piece like some do.  I’d love to find one and add it.  There are plugs in the back on the top that indicate that a top with shelving could be added.  I watch on auctions, flea markets and antique places for a top but so far, none have come my way.  If I never find one, that’s okay too.  I’m just happy to have a little slice of my grandparents.  Sometimes when a person doesn’t have memory of someone, an article is what they can settle with.

Sadly, it doesn’t get played unless some curious 8-14 year old is here and dabbles.

I am really happy that the organ has come to rest at my home.  I do hope that one of the kids will be the care taker of it once I am gone and they too can hold a little something that was once my grandma’s.

4 thoughts on “Ask Jo: My Pump Organ

  1. Robert

    Interesting account on your pump organ – as I was reading it, was wondering if it still worked and you played. Looks like it is in fairly good condition. It is nice to get a small (??) piece of ones past as a remembers of them. When my parents died, I got an old 3 glass door library that was supposedly saved from grandma and grandpa’s house fire back in 1920’s. Two sections house what nots and the third is my collection of recipe books. I was surprised that my youngest daughter has claimed it when we are gone. (It was also something that my siblings and wife really didn’t want, but glad I got now.) Thanks for posting about the pump organ. Robert, from northern central Iowa.

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  2. Claudia

    It was very interesting to read about your pump organ. It looks very similar to the pump organ I have- that was my grandmothers. I have almost decided that I should sell it….because my daughter doesn’t want it…..and I need to downsize. I have always loved that organ…it is going to be a very hard decision.

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