Lauren and Mikaela--identical twins living on opposite coasts--blog about the story of life and their adventures in faith.


Shop Around the Corner

Lauren and I reached the seven-foot tall ebony-colored door and tugged at it to no avail until Mama came and rescued us, opening the door and letting us inside. Our world changed.

Outside, dozens of cars raced by, honking, revving, sputtering, and clattering. Inside, however, as the heavy wooden door swung shut behind us, sweet strains of violin music came from a back room, along with the twanging of strings resistant to tuning and the occasional striking of a tuning fork to hear the perfect 440 A. Smells of wood, leather, and varnish faintly perfumed the air. And the sights! Oh—the sights! Tall, panes of glass filled the front wall and looked out onto Portland, allowing great shafts of sunlight to filter inside, illuminating rosin dust floating in the air. Violins and violas lined every single wall, hanging unceremoniously from their scrolls near the ceiling. Beneath them sat gigantic replicas—cellos, squatting on the floor and looking fat and sassy. The rows upon rows of polished wood and gorgeous curves awed my six year-old mind.
Look! A tiny violin no bigger than a Christmas tree ornament!
Look! A pink music stand!
Look! A violin taken apart so I can see inside!
LOOK! A violin made entirely out of shiny, silver metal!

And as someone helped us into a small side room and brought us two or three or four or five tiny violins made for someone just my size, I watched in awe as my soon-to-be violin teacher coaxed beautiful music out of the instruments. We found the perfect violin, with the perfect bow, the perfect case, the perfect shoulder rest, and the perfect rosin for the perfect price. We got to meet with and talk to the man whose name was on the sign out front: “Schuback Violin Shop.” I could have busted a button walking out of that shop with my miniature case firmly grasped in my chubby hand—and I was hooked. Oh, was I hooked.

Through the years, every time I got taller, we had two places to go—the doctor and Schuback—but Schuback was a lot more fun! Now I knew what those gigantic violins were. I knew what the random wooden parts strewn throughout the room were. And I knew what a good violin sounded like. I could carefully discern between tone differences, picking out my favorite—but when all else failed, Mr. Schuback was there to consult with.

When I was thirteen, though, the fun had to end. I had reached the full size, and would not be getting a new violin for awhile—if ever. That day, tugging on the wooden door, and walking in with all the confidence of a wanna-be professional, took a long time. Just like when I was six, nothing but the “perfect” one passed muster. And I walked out of there with my violin—my perfect violin, that has been with me through thick and thin for six years.

Schuback moved his shop after that, but we haven’t lost touch. There’s three other budding string musicians beneath me, you see. And just last week, we walked into his new shop in search of the perfect full size violin for Susanna and the perfect ¾ size cello for Micah. This time, I was the violin teacher testing instruments out for my student. And we found just what we were looking for.


  1. O, the ecstasy and excitement felt when shopping for the "next size up"! :D (Unless, of course, you're already in love with the violin you have... :p) Hope Susanna and Micah are enjoying their new instruments!

  2. What a fun post! I remember, after renting a violin for several years, going to Schuback's to buy my very own. It was a special day! I was a bit intimdated by the whole experience, but came away with a beautiful instrument.
    I was sad to hear when the old shop closed, but am happy to hear another one is open. Maybe I will visit someday, just because. : )


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