Feel Good Story
I got this as an email to forward on but really liked the story and though I would share it.
At the prodding of my friends I am writing this story. My name is Mildred Honor and I am a
former elementary school music teacher from 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 "musically challenged" 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 endeavour. 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 tolearn.
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
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
that he had stopped coming - he was a bad advertisement for my teaching!
Several weeks later I mailed a flyer on the upcoming recital to the students' 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 his insistence or maybe something inside of me saying that it would be all 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 the students 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, the students 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 eggbeater
through it.. "Why wasn't he dressed up like the other students?" 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 CO 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 suspended chords 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 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 have never heard you play like 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 .... she was 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 placed into 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 taking Robby 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 and believing in yourself, and
maybe even taking a chance on someone and you didn't know why.
Robby was killed years later in the senseless bombing of the Alfred P. Murray Federal Building
in Oklahoma City in April, 1995. And now, a footnote to the story.
If you are thinking about forwarding this message, you are probably wondering which people on your
address list aren'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! So many seemingly trivial interactions between two
people present us with a choice - Do we act with compassion or do we pass up that opportunity and
leave the world a bit colder in the process?
Rocky - 3 year old Black GSD
3 Skin Kids