Yesterday, I visited my parents' house in the village where I grew up. My parents are currently busy clearing the house because they are now living with my aged grandmother in a neighbouring town, and our old house has been uninhabited for a while. They found a tenant who is willing to rent the house, so all furniture left in the house has to go, and I was there to pick what I wanted to have for myself.
It was a strange feeling coming into a house that has always been a save haven for me, finding it half empty and bereft of fond memories. Though a teacher by profession, my father has always been a keen musician and a collector of guitars and ukuleles. The guitars occupied the staircase walls, and have so ever since we bought the house in 1983, and I commented on how strange it was to me seeing these walls empty. My father replied: »Well, all the guitars have been stolen.«
I didn't believe him, of course. My father is a fellow of infinite jest, and he always has another story up his sleeve, so it took quite a while for me to realize that he was, in fact, serious. One day, when he came into the house to gather some stuff, he found the guitars gone. Gone, as in gone, all of them. The ukes, which were in the living room, where untouched, as was everything else in the house, including computers and electronics. But of the guitars, ten in total, was no sign. He called the police, but they, too, coulnd't find anything.
A couple of days later, my father received a call from his next-door neighbour that there were burglars in the house and that he had already called the police. They had broken the cellar door and thus got into the house. This time, the culprits got away, but at least they left the stuff they had gathered for transport - the empty guitar cases they didn't take along the first time. But they got away, and there's no sight of the instruments.
Gone are five accoustic and five electric guitars, amongst the latter two my father had built himself and a vintage fender. Gone is my mother's guitar and her lute, which I was to have. My father's balalaika, two mandolins, my old tenor guitar, the guitar my father played when he was playing in a band in the 70's, recording three albums, and my grandfather's violin. Though the stuff was covered by an insurance, it's not a material value that's gone but something that cannot be replaced.
What bothers me the most is that this was not a case of strangers breaking into some random house. It was done by someone well prepared, who knew about the guitar collection - a local job. It's a small village where people know each other, and though it's grown from population 1,000 to 2,000 since the early 80's, the one who did it must have been someone whom we knew, and who knows us. My father has an idea, but no means of proving it. He checks Ebay daily for the instruments, which are not only pretty rare but something he could recognize blindfolded by touch.
Luckily, his three most precious guitars and his waldzither were in his new home, so at least he has some intruments left, as well as his ukes, but still, I'm in a case of shock right now. My romantiziced idea of the tranquil village where I grew up has been destroyed, and I feel bereft of more than just my old guitar.