Friday, September 9
I've meant, for a long time, to write you, to thank you again (and again and again) for the major influence you've had on my life. It feels simultaneously just yesterday and eons ago, and I don't know how time can play such tricks. If I sit still for a moment and let myself go back, I can almost instantly feel 17 again--- partly lost, partly proud, partly cocky, partly naive. So many pieces making up one very unformed young lady.
I came to Hickman with so many insecurities, but so many hopes and untested talents. I knew I needed music like I needed air, so our paths were destined to cross. I am so lucky you were the one to be my mentor. I am so grateful you were so passionate about your work. I am so grateful that I happened to be in Jamie's class, and therefore had that extra layer to my relationship with you--- to be a friend of your son, to be more than just another random student. And I am so grateful that even apart from Jamie, you let me be someone more than just that random student. You let me come to you with so many of my teenage worries, insecurities, fears, and breathless hopes. You pushed me hard towards excellence, not just in my singing and acting (the dancing was hopeless!) but in the areas of leadership and integrity.
When I reflect on my high school years, your face... your name... your singing voice.... your laugh.... your stern but loving counsel.... They are all woven into the rest of my memories with my friends, my peers, my experiences. You were so critically important to my journey to adulthood.
So thank you. Thank you, Marty, for believing in me. For not rolling your eyes at the many many many times I came to your office to cry. For seeing more in my voice than I could have seen myself. For inspiring me every single day. You gave me so many things during my time at Hickman, and I was so proud to make you proud.
Today, as I think about you and your sweet family--- your grandbabies, your dear wife, your sons.... I am so happy you've had such a marvelous life. I am so grateful I've gotten to peek a bit at your current events via Facebook. I'm so thankful for the music you gave me. For everything you gave all of us.
Thank you for you.
Emily, class of '95
I wrote this to Mr. Hook back in December 2015 when news came to me of his battle with brain cancer. There were a few other parts, mostly hopeful ones about him feeling better, maybe even getting better. But today, September 2016, I received the latest news that our beloved Mr. Marty Hook had finally succumbed to the cancer and had passed away.
I sent this letter via Facebook Messenger back when I wrote it. Looking at it now, I think, maybe, he never saw it. (You know how Facebook Messenger gives a little circle icon of the recipient's profile photo when they've received the message? That never happened to this letter.) It makes my heart ache all the more that my last words of love to him maybe never reached him. And maybe this is far too personal to post on a blog of all places.... But.... I guess it's my hope that somehow, in some way, these words will wing their way to my beloved teacher and mentor wherever he is now... that he'll somehow know... just KNOW how much he meant to me. In fact, how much he meant to THOUSANDS of students just like me.
Fly high, fly free, Marty. Sing your guts out with the angels. I'll meet you there someday and ask if I can join your choir once again. Much love from all of us left behind.
Posted by Emily S. at 7:37 PM