Hello, again Rainne’s Ramblings visitors.
This beautiful story touched me in a very special way.
The reason why, maybe one day I’ll share in a post of my own.
For now, I direct you to the story below.
I’ll warn you in advance, it’s a two-tissue read.
Enjoy, and blessid be.
~Patty (Campbells World)
A Song For Adrienne
by John Justice
It was almost Christmas in 1973 when I was asked to tune a piano in a New York mental hospital. This immense facility was located on Governor’s Island in the East River. A bus took me out to the gate and a security guard led me to the main entrance. The captain took me up in the elevator. We walked down a long hallway and he stopped. “Mr. Justice. We’re about to enter a closed psychiatric ward. There are certain things we will ask you to do for your own protection as well as that of the patients. When you enter this facility, the guard will give you instructions. He’ll lead you to the Activities Room where the piano is located. We’re about to approach the entrance. Two guards must be present at all times; one outside and one inside the ward. In that way, we can be sure that none of our guests leaves without authorization.”
By this time, I was becoming concerned. What was it going to be like in there? If I went in, would I meet any of the patients?
The captain pressed a button and I could hear a loud chime coming from inside the facility. The inside guard spoke to us through an intercom. “is this the piano tuner, Sir?” The captain confirmed who I was, and the door was unlocked. The inside guard greeted me, and I took his arm. As we moved through the ward, I could hear strange noises coming from some of the doors we passed. Soon, I was brought into the Activities Room and the guard showed me the piano. “this is very important, Sir. Please open your tool kit, remove what you need and close the case. Then, put it under the piano at your feet. We’ll be watching you through a two-way glass partition to your left. If anything, odd happens, we’ll be here in seconds. But don’t worry. We allow certain patients to move freely through the facility. They are people who pose no harm to themselves or anyone else. Your tuning might draw them, and they will wander in and out. Hold onto your tools at all times, please. Okay Sir. That’s it. Do you need help taking off the front of the piano?” I thanked him and assured the guard that I didn’t need any assistance.
I opened the front of the big upright and tested the keys for possible problems. The instrument was old but in good condition. I collected the tools I would need and started to tune it.
As soon as I hit a few notes, someone came in. she spoke to me. “hello, I’m Adrienne. Are you playing the piano?” Then she surprised me. The lady began playing some kind of classical piece on a flute. I turned to her and explained that I was tuning the piano and I needed quiet to finish the job. She stopped playing, apologized and left the room.
A few minutes later, Adrienne came back and said exactly the same thing again as if we had never met before. She played what seemed like the same flute passage. Once again, I explained that I needed quiet to tune the instrument and she stopped playing.
When Adrienne returned the third time, I understood what was happening and repeated my explanation. She apologized and walked out.
I finished the piano and reassembled it. I sat down and played It Came upon a Midnight clear. Adrienne returned, sat down on a nearby couch and started to cry. That made me sad and my face must have shown my feelings. Adrienne got up, touched my shoulder and said, “Oh no! it’s alright! The music is so beautiful. That’s what made me cry.” She sat down again and I paused before continuing to play.
Something had reached this young woman in her troubled world. Music had taken her out of that odd cycle where she would repeat the same words and actions again and again.
As I continued to play, others joined us but none of them spoke to me. At one point, Adrienne rose, touched my shoulder and thanked me quietly. She left and I never heard her speak again. I wondered why she didn’t try to play her flute. I would have been happy to move to any key. I remembered that she had only played a small part of something I didn’t recognize. Maybe, she wouldn’t have been able to remember an entire tune.
As I left the ward and was escorted down to the bus stop, I thought about Adrienne. What had happened to her? Was she a musician at one time? Did something happen which shattered her existence and left her playing a part of a classical piece which was all she could remember? For a brief time, the music of Christmas brought that lost soul out of her misery. I was glad to give her that little gift of reality. For that brief interval, we shared something very special; the joy of music.
About John Justice: In His Own Words:
I was born in 1945, just at the end of World War II. I have been blind since the age of three. Shortly after my birth, my parents moved to a poultry farm in Southern New Jersey. I attended schools for the blind until I graduated eighth grade. I was then mainstreamed into a parochial high school in Wildwood. I graduated with honors in 1964.
I have been married to my wife, Linda, since 1981. We live in Hatboro, Pennsylvania. We don’t have any children. I have always found that being creative was a part of me. I have written many articles for publication and have published several songs. Writing is now, and will always be, my dream.
Books by John Justice:
The Paddy Stories: Book One
Blind Paddy Flynn, orphaned at age eight, travels by train from Philadelphia to California in 1947 to live with his childless aunt and uncle, Doreen and Bob Chandler. Part One tells of his mother’s death, his time in a children’s home, the good friends he makes there, and then his long and eventful journey to California.
In Part Two, by a wonderful twist of fate, Paddy and his closest friend from Philadelphia, Lucy Candelaria, are reunited in California. Their unusual and loving relationship and their special form of communication make up a major part of the story.
The large and well-drawn cast of characters includes the residents and staff of the children’s home, the friendly family Paddy stays overnight with in Chicago, the train staff, the several adults who accompany him on different legs of his journey, his kind and welcoming relatives and their wonderful dog, and various neighbors there in California. It’s clear that one neighbor family leads a very different life from the peaceful and prosperous one enjoyed by the Chandlers.
With his loving nature, courage, and can-do spirit, Paddy brings joy and inspiration to many others and even stands up to two memorable bullies, one at the children’s home and one in California. But how will he adjust to life at a school for the blind? Book One of The Paddy Stories ends with Paddy once again having to face an uncertain future.
To be continued in Book Two.
Love Letters in the Grand
The 30 stories in this collection are all true. I tuned pianos in New York and Philadelphia from 1965 until 1993. The work was rewarding in and of itself, and the characters I met in those years bring back happy memories even today. —John Justice
It’s Still Christmas
Once getting by financially, the Gleasons have become homeless and close to hopeless. But their faith in God and His mercy has never wavered. Now Christmas is close, and their lives are about to undergo a drastic change. The lifesaving aid they give to a stranger, an elderly Jewish widower, is soon repaid in ways they could never have imagined. Enjoy this touching story of mingled hearts, trust, and faiths.