This is a true story and it will give you the chills.
This is a beautiful and touching story of love and
perseverance. Well worth the read. At the prodding of my friends I am writing this
story. My name is Mildred Honor and I am a former elementary school
music teacherfrom Des Moines , Iowa .
I have always supplemented my income by teaching
piano lessons - something I have done for over 30 years. During those years I found that children have many
levels of musical ability, and even though I have never had the
pleasure of having a prodigy, I have taught some very talented
students. However, I have also had my share of what I call '
Musicallychallenged' pupils - one such pupil being Robby..
Robby was 11 years old when his mother (a single mom)
dropped him off for his first piano lesson. I prefer that students
(especially boys) begin at an earlier age, which I explained to
Robby. But Robby said that it had always been his mother's dream to
hear him play the piano, so I took him as a student. Well, Robby began his piano lessons and from the beginning I
thought it was a hopeless endeavor. As much as Robby tried,
he lacked the sense of tone and basic rhythm needed to excel.
But he dutifully reviewed his scales and some elementary piano pieces
that I require all my students to learn. Over the months he tried
and tried while I listened and cringed and tried to encourage him. At the end of each weekly lesson he would always say 'My mom's
going to hear me play someday'. But to me, it seemed hopeless,
he just did not have any inborn ability. I only knew his mother from a distance as she dropped Robby off
or waited in her aged car to pick him up. She always waved
and smiled, but never dropped in.
Then one day Robby stopped coming for his lessons. I thought about
calling him, but assumed that because of his lack of ability he had
decided to pursue something else. I was also glad thathe had stopped
coming - he was a bad advertisement for my teaching!
Several weeks later I mailed a flyer recital to thestudents' homes.
To my surprise, Robby (who had received a flyer) asked me if he
could be in the recital. I told him that the recital was for current
pupils and that because he had dropped out, he really did not qualify. He told me that his mother had been sick and unable to take him to his
piano lessons, but that he had been practicing. 'Please Miss Honor,
I've just got to play' he insisted. I don't know what led me to allow
him to play in the recital - perhaps it was hisinsistence or maybe
something inside of me saying that it would beall right. The night of the recital came and the high school gymnasium was packed
with parents, relatives and friends. I put Robby last in the program,
just before I was to come up and thank all thestudents and play a
finishing piece. I thought that any damage he might do would come
at the end of the program and I could always salvage his poor
performance through my 'curtain closer'.
Well, the recital went off without a hitch, thestudents had been
practicing and it showed. Then Robby came up on the stage. His
clothes were wrinkled and his hair looked as though he had
run an egg beater through it. 'Why wasn't he dressed up like the
otherstudents?' I thought. 'Why didn't his mother at least make him
comb his hair for this special night?'
Robby pulled out the piano bench, and I was surprised when he
announced that he had chosen to play Mozart's Concerto No..21
in C Major. I was not prepared for what I heard next. His fingers
were light on the keys, they even danced nimbly on the ivories. He
went from pianissimo to fortissimo, from allegro to virtuoso; his
suspendedchords that Mozart demands were magnificent! Never had I heard Mozart played so well by anyone his
age. After six and a half minutes he ended in a grandcrescendo, and
everyone was on their feet in wild applause! Overcome
and in tears, I ran up onstage and put my armsaround Robby in joy.
'I have never heard you playlike that Robby, how did you do it?’
Through the microphone Robby explained: 'Well,Miss Honor ....
remember I told you that my mom was sick? Well, she actually had
cancer and passed away this morning. And well ...... shewas born
deaf, so tonight was the first time she had ever heard me
play,and I wanted to make it special.' There wasn't a dry eye in the house that evening. As the people from
Social Services led Robby from the stage to be placedin to
foster care, I noticed that even their eyes were red and puffy.
I thought to myself then how much richer my life had been for
takingRobby as my pupil. No, I have never had a prodigy, but that night I became a prodigy
........ of Robby. He was the teacher and I was the pupil, for he
had taught me the meaning of perseverance and love andbelieving in
yourself, and may be even taking a chance on someone and you didn't
know why. Robby was killed years later in the senseless bombingof the Alfred P.
Murray Federal Building in Oklahoma City in April,1995.