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My Neighbor, Anne Meux and her pianos
By Shirley Kirsten
Coming from New York City to Fresno in 1979, I would not have anticipated landing next door to Anne Meux, the generous donor to so many Fresno cultural institutions and former inhabitant of the famously preserved Meux home in downtown Fresno. We both resided on San Ramon, just a stone's throw from Fig Garden Village before the banks broke ground and ate up the space consumed by a vacant lot that somehow kept through traffic to a minimum on our street. I remember signing a petition that circulated among house dwellers, that demanded a halt to the further commercialization of the neighborhood, which for us extended over to Palm, but the effort failed and the rest is history.
Anne Meux, pretty much kept to herself through all the fuss, and rarely appeared in her front yard.Unlike New Yorkers who hung out on stoops, and went to block parties, Northwest Fresnans sealed themselves up in the house and didn't dare be seen on the front lawn.
That's why it was unusual for Anne and me to have met more personally under any circumstances except for the time we had a run in. The occasion was my having observed her dog, "Pluto" doing his business in one of my front lawn flower beds. Anne claimed Pluto would never have lowered himself to such impropriety but I had the photographic proof that indicated otherwise. In the end, Anne cleaned up the mess, swallowed her pride, and went off into seclusion for another bunch of years.
I don't know how one day I mustered the courage to knock on her door to thank her for a basket of Halloween treats she had surreptitiously dropped on our doorstep. It would lead me to uncover a treasure trove of pianos that had hardly been played, and were draped with nick knacks. The story of how I entered this mausoleum style sanctuary and drew life out of its time worn instruments is the grist of this memorable encounter with Anne Meux. More is found at: