Mr. Linheart was my piano teacher.
I took piano lessons for 7 very long and agonizing years. I'm sure if I ran into Mr. Linheart today he would agree with me.
From those weekly lessons I learned a few things about Mr. Linheart .
I learned that Mr. Linheart liked a steady paycheck, was hard of hearing, and thought Liberace was the second coming of Christ.
From those weekly lessons I learned a few things about myself.
I learned that I was tone deaf, wasn't very disciplined, had a very short attention span, and most importantly, that stuffing my training bra with my sister's gym socks in a fit of desperation after not practicing one week doesn't work very well as a distraction on a Liberace Loving Man.
The sound of a metronome still sends me into a panic to this day.
I still have dreams about piano recitals gone wrong too. In fact I did play in one of Mr. Linheart's piano recitals. That man was crazy to put a kid who couldn't peck out a tune if her life depended on it in front of an audience. I'm pretty sure he had no choice. My sister also took piano lessons from him. She was very good. I think my parents presented us as a packaged deal. Mr. Linheart got a raw deal if you ask me.
At the recital I followed my sister after she received a standing ovation. I played something simple like "The Indian Dance", except halfway through I developed a case of stage fright and forgot the rest of the song so I switched to a little Circus Ditty my Dad used to play using only his knuckles.
Mr. Linheart had a heart attack on the spot and died.
Well, not really, but I bet he wanted to.
After the recital Mr. Linheart had a long talk with my parents about my piano lessons. I vaguely remember him telling my Mother something along the lines of, "The kid is hopeless, has no future in music, and she gives me a headache and raises my blood pressure every time I see her walk through the door." Or maybe it was more along the lines of, "I quit." Whatever the case was, I stopped taking piano lessons and Mr. Linheart stopped teaching piano altogether and moved across town and started a new business that had nothing to do with pianos.
One day many months later I came home from school to find a guitar propped up against the dust covered piano.
"What's that for?" I asked with concern.
My Mother sweetly responded, "Oh, that's for you. Your lessons start today."
I tried to explain that the Beatles weren't looking for a 5th member anytime soon, but she wouldn't hear any of it.
An hour later I was running across the street dragging my guitar case and a guitar that was bigger than me to the music store that had opened up in the new shopping center across the road. I opened the door and announced my arrival to the counter girl who buzzed the back room and told my teacher I had arrived for my lesson. Out of the back room came Mr. Linheart.
I smiled and plucked a string or two on my guitar and said, "Long time no see."
Mr. Linheart didn't look happy. He sighed and scrubbing his face with his hands said, " I have one question for you before we begin."
I strummed my little kid fingers across the strings and said, "Go ahead."
Mr. Linheart said, "Does your father happen to play any songs with his knuckles on that guitar?"
An open letter to my parents;
Dear Mom and Dad,
I owe you some money.
Your loving daughter, the one with two left hands.