A Great True Story--No Harp Content

In a message dated 2/6/03 5:30:27 PM Pacific Standard Time, POPPINZ2 writes:

A True Story (worth reading)=20
At the prodding of my friends, I am writing this story.  My name is Mildred=20=
Hondorf. I am a former elementary school music teacher from Des Moines, Iowa=
. I've always supplemented my income by teaching piano lessons--something I'=
ve done for over 30 years.

 Over the years I found that children have many levels of musical ability. =20=
I've never had the pleasure of having a prot=E9g=E9e, though I have taught s=
ome talented students.  However I've also had my share of what I call "music=
ally challenged" pupils. One such student was Robby.  Robby was 11 years old=
 when his mother (a single mom) dropped him off for his first piano lesson.=20=
I prefer that students (especially boys!) begin at an earlier age, which I e=
xplained to Robby. But Robby   said that it had always been his mother's dre=
am to hear him play the piano.

So I took him as a student.  Well, Robby began with his piano lessons and fr=
om the beginning I thought it was a hopeless endeavor.  As much as Robby tri=
ed, he lacked the sense of tone and basic rhythm needed to excel.  But he du=
tifully reviewed his scales and some elementary pieces that I require all my=
 students to learn. Over the months he tried and tried while I listened and=20=
cringed and tried to encourage him.  At the end of each weekly lesson he wou=
ld always say, "My Mom's going to hear me play some day." But it seemed hope=
less. 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 came in.

Then one day Robby stopped coming to our lessons. I thought about calling hi=
m but assumed, because of his lack of ability, that he had decided to pursue=
 something else. I also was glad that he stopped coming.  He was a bad adver=
tisement for my teaching!

Several weeks later I mailed to the student's homes a flyer on the upcoming=20=
recital. To my surprise Robby (who received a flyer) asked me if he could be=
 in the recital. I told him that the recital was for current pupils and beca=
use he had dropped out he really did not qualify.  He said that his Mom had=20=
been sick and unable to take him to piano lessons, but he was still practici=
ng.  "Miss Hondorf...I've just got to play!" he insisted. =20

I don't know what led me to allow him to play in the recital.  Maybe it was=20=
his persistence or maybe it was something inside of me saying that it would=20=
be alright. The night for the recital came.  The high school gymnasium was p=
acked with parents, friends and relatives.  I put Robby up last in the progr=
am before I was to come up and thank all the students and play a finishing p=
iece. I thought that any damage he would do would come at the end of the pro=
gram and I could always salvage his poor performance through my "curtain clo=

Well the recital went off without a hitch. The students had been practicing=20=
and it showed.  Then Robby came up on stage.  His clothes were wrinkled and=20=
his hair looked like he'd run an egg-beater through it.  "Why didn't he dres=
s up like the other students?"  I thought.  "Why didn't his mother at least=20=
make him comb his hair for this special night?"

Robby pulled out the piano bench and he began. I was surprised when he annou=
nced that he had chosen Mozart's Concerto # 1 in C Major.  I was not prepare=
d for what I heard next. His fingers were light on the keys, they even dance=
d nimbly on the ivories. He went from pianissimo to fortissimo... from alleg=
ro to virtuoso. His suspended chords that Mozart demands were magnificent!

Never had I heard Mozart played so well by people his age. After six and a h=
alf minutes, he ended in a grand crescendo and everyone was on their feet in=
 wild applause.

Overcome and in tears I ran up on stage and put my arms around Robby in joy.=
  "I've never heard you play like that Robby!  How'd you do it?"

Through the microphone Robby explained: "Well Miss Hondorf...remember I told=
 you my mom was sick?  Well actually she had cancer and passed away this mor=
ning. And well...she was born deaf so tonight was the first time she ever he=
ard me play.  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 placed into foster care, I noticed=20=
that even their eyes were red and puffy and I thought to myself how much ric=
her my life had been for taking Robby as my pupil.

No, I've never had a prot=E9g=E9e but that night I became a prot=E9g=E9e...o=
f Robby's.  He was the teacher and I was the pupil. For it is he that taught=
 me the meaning of perseverance and love and believing in yourself and maybe=
 even taking a chance in someone and you don't know why.

This is especially meaningful to me since after serving in Desert Storm, Rob=
by was killed in the senseless bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Build=
ing in Oklahoma City in April of 1995, where he was reportedly playing the p=

And now, a footnote to the story. If you are thinking about forwarding this=20=
message, you are probably thinking about which people on your address list a=
ren't the "appropriate" ones to receive this type of message. The person who=
 sent this to you believes that we can all make a difference. We all have th=
ousands of opportunities a day to help realize God's plan. So many seemingly=
 trivial interactions between two people present us with a choice: Do we pas=
s along a spark of the Divine?  Or do we pass up that opportunity...you deci=

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