Mrs. Holman was my piano teacher from when I was five until I turned fourteen. Every Saturday morning Dad took me to The Royal Conservatory of Music for my piano lessons. Sometimes I would feel guilty because I had not practiced as much as I was supposed to. But Mrs. Holman would scold me in a gentle and encouraging way. It’s an oxymoron. How can one scold another in a gentle and encouraging way? I don’t know, but she did.
For my mother, just getting a passing grade was good enough. For Mrs. Holman, just getting a passing grade was not good enough. She would encourage me to strive and strive and strive for excellence, and then strive some more. If the examiner gave me 87 percent for a piano audition, Mrs. Holman would make me practice and do the audition again until I received a 95 percent or better. She always encouraged her students to strive for better than perfect.
Over the years I often thought about Mrs. Holman. I wondered whether she was still alive. Today, while reading her husband’s death notice, I found out that Mrs. Holman died July 10, 2011. I started to cry.
Thank you, Mrs. Holman, thank you. Thank you for encouraging me to be the best I can be, and then some.