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At the prodding of my friends, I am writing this story.
My name is Mildred 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. I've never had the pleasure of having a prodigy though I have 
taught some talented students. 

However I've also had my share of what I call musically 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. 
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 with his 
piano lessons and from the beginning I thought it was a hopeless 

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 
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'd always say, 
"My mom's going to hear me play someday." But 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 stopped in. Then one day Robby stopped coming 
to our lessons.


I thought about calling him 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 advertisement for my teaching! 

Several weeks later I mailed to the student's homes a flyer on the 
upcoming 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 because he had dropped out he really did not qualify. He said 
that his mother had been sick and unable to take him to piano lessons but 
he was still practicing. "Miss Hondorf . . . I've just got to play!" he 

I don't know what led me to allow him to play in the recital. Maybe it 
was his persistence or maybe it was something inside of me saying that it 
would be all right. The night for the recital came. The high school 
gymnasium was packed with parents, friends and relatives. I put Robby up 
last in the program before I was to come up and thank all the students and 
play a finishing piece. I thought that any damage he would 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 stage. His clothes were 
wrinkled and his hair looked like he'd run an eggbeater through it. "Why 
didn't he dress 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 he began. I was surprised when he 
announced that he had chosen Mozart's Concerto #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 suspended chords that Mozart demands were 
magnificent! Never had I heard Mozart played so well by people 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'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 morning.

 And well . . . she was born deaf so tonight was the first time she ever 
heard 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 that even their eyes were 
red and puffy and I thought to myself how much richer my life had been for 
taking Robby as my pupil.  

No, I've never had a prodigy but that night I became a prodigy. . . of 
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.


Robby was killed in the senseless bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah 
Federal Building in Oklahoma City in April of 1995.

Dede's Note:
This is the type of story that all need to read. It helps us to get our 
life in perspective and show compassion for others.... Tell all you know how 
you feel about them, Give a big hug. Tomorrow may be too late!
Send this story on to all you know for the glory of God! Thanks!
God Bless Each & Every One Of You & Much Love,   Dede





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