Wan, Wanamaker, the Organ


The view from the Children’s, 3rd floor

The entry for “wan” in the  New Oxford American Dictionary is followed by “Wanamaker”.

Wanamaker, John (1838-1922) U.S. businessman.  A pioneering department store merchant, he co-founded a men’s clothing store in Philadelphia in 1861.  After his partner’s death, he made it into a department store 1877 and opened another in New York City 1896.  The success of his stores was based on advertising.  He also served as U.S. postmaster general 1889-93.

This is followed by the entry for “wand”.

Katya was in New York for her sister’s wedding.   She called me from there to plan a short trip to visit me in Philadelphia.  “I want to see the organ!” she said.  “What???” “The largest operational organ in the world is in Philadelphia!  I want to see it!”

(Katya studies organ.  A year and an autumn later, I sat by her side on the top floor of a church in St. Petersburg, as she practiced for an exam.  She showed me the stops and the pedals.)

I called David: what is she talking about?  Why, the Wanamaker building, of course, right by the City Hall.

The whole building is not only now a Macy’s  store, but also the organ.  There are concerts there every day except Sunday, at noon and in the evening.

Katya, Yoshi, and I went to a noon concert.  The music already filled the building as we walked in.   We went to the second floor at first, because the console was on the second floor, and listened from the women’s lingerie department.  Then we went up to the children’s, 3rd floor, so we could see the organist better. When the music stopped, we ran back to the second floor and Katya talked to the organist about the pedals and stops.

The word “store” is mentioned 4 times in the article following “wan” in the New Oxford American Dictionary.  The word “organ” – not once.

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