Sunday, April 18, 2010

52 Blessings—Mentors


Every now and then I’ll sit down to play the piano for a congregation and my head does a little flip and loudly whispers, “How do you know how to do this? What if your fingers won’t obey your eyes? What if you suddenly forget what to do next, then what will you do?” And then I breathe. And count. And play. This week I had such a moment and realized one of my blessings is my old piano teacher Rachel C.

I began piano lessons when I was in third grade. Each week we drove to town for the lessons and it meant I missed a couple hours of school. I hated missing school mostly because my lessons were usually during art, music, or p.e.. It was a good thing my piano teacher Rachel C. was so kind and happy and that we often stopped for a hamburger or I’d have really been miserable. My teacher, Rachel C., always put on fresh, bright pink or dark red lipstick right before my lesson. She wore bright pants and usually had a colorful strand of beads around her neck, too. She wore white bobby socks with high heels. She kept at least two freshly sharpened pencils on the piano keys. She laughed easily and often had a little smudge of lipstick on her nice white teeth. She had thick black hair. She had a vivacious personality that enthused me and I grew to love her. Her husband had big, dark, bushy eyebrows which made him look fearsome. I was always relieved when our ride home came before Jack got home from work.

Rachel C. taught me to count. After seven years of lessons I may not have been able to play complex pieces, but it wasn’t because I couldn’t count out the value of the notes. She focused on the hymns so that I could be our ward pianist and then later when our church got an organ, she gave me organ lessons. I still think of Rachel C. fondly. From the way she laughed and met life’s challenges to the way she insisted that I count, she was a good mentor and a blessing that still blesses me. I appreciate Rachel C. more than she would ever know.

What’s the name of one of your mentors?

10 comments:

Cali said...

I remember Rachel C teaching me piano. She looked the exact same except her hair was white... I had no idea it was black... kind of funny to picture it black now.

I remember that while she was teaching Abe piano, I would try and walk REALLY slowly and quietly past them (assuming they wouldn't notice me) and sneak into the back of her house to just look. I just wanted to know what her house looked like, what kind of quilts they kept on their beds. If they made their beds. What her bathroom looked like.

I about die, now, knowing that she knew darn well what I was doing and definitely SAW me sneak by.

Thanks for the fun reminisce mom. I sure love you. I also love that you learned the piano and organ so you could serve others.

Deanna/Mimi said...

How very blessed you were to be able to take piano lessons...another one of your gifts. I wanted to so badly but my single mother did not have the money nor did we have a piano. My fingers ached to play. I ended up taking baton lessons...learning to march and twirl two batons at once..it only cost 25 cents a lesson!!! When my youngest of six started first grade I was saddened at the "empty nest" but then perked up and realized that I could take singing lessons and piano lessons now. Went to the phone and signed right up for both. Dreams do come true even if they are much later in life.

michelle said...

I too am grateful for my piano teachers. Being able to play as an accompanist, just for my own enjoyment, and now teaching lessons out of my home are hugely useful skills!

Neighbor Jane Payne said...

Oh Cali, how funny. Now I'm a bit mortified. I never sneaked past the piano (not because I didn't want to), but you did. Oh ho. A reflection on your parenting I suppose.

Jill said...

Your teacher sounds like such a character!

My mind went blank when you asked about mentors, I'm going to have to think about this because no one came to mind...how sad is that?

Marie said...

Of COURSE you can play the piano! Are there any talents that missed you?

Tyler - Danielle - Emree said...

That is so fun that she could have taught both you and your kids. I always lied to my piano teacher, Mary Marrell, I would tell I had practiced so that i could get a treat. I really never practiced.

Jenny said...

That is something I wish I would have learned as a child because man, it's hard to learn as an adult. My children are just learning the piano and I LOVE to hear them practice and play!

Becky said...

I never had piano lessons but I teach piano now so it's fun to wonder what my piano students would say about me! :) (P.S. I *always* know whether they practiced or not--no matter what they say).

The first mentor that comes to mind is my 9th grade Honors English Teacher, Mr. Kemmer...he was a stock broker who taught English for fun and he really boosted my confidence.

Barb said...

I choose my children's extracurricular teachers (piano, or sports coaches or whatever) largely based on the personal influence these people will have. Far more than the skill they're supposed to be sharing.