Monday, October 27, 2008

From Disgust to Grace!

If you have ever read this book..

...or seen this will find this post very interesting!

For those who have not - this is the true story of Joan Robinson Hill...and her murder!

Joan was the only adopted child of Mr. and Mrs. Ash Robinson and Ash adored his little girl. The Robinson family made their money in the oil business and it was not long before they were considered socialites on Southern Texas.
Joan adored riding and showing her American Saddlebred horses and Ash made sure she had the best - including the most famous - Beloved Belinda, a gray mare. Actually, Joan made fashion history when she showed this mare in a light gray suit with matching colored accessories! I was told she looked breathtaking.

As Joan grew up, went to college she met and married a plastic surgeon named John Hill. They moved into a beautiful home. John was a pianist and this large home had a music conservatory room large enough to accommodate his huge specially made Bosendorfer Grand Piano which was almost 10 feet long and 6 feet wide! Soon they had a son that Joan insisted on naming after her Father.

When Joan was in her mid thirties she started to feel ill. With her husband attending to her treatment, she only became more and more sick with no real diagnosis, which made Ash extremely suspicious. John was known for his philandering relationships with other women. Joan's untimely death came in 1969, when she was only 38 years old. ..Dr. Hill was tried for his wife's murder and was defended by the infamous lawyer Richard "Racehorse" Haynes. A mistrial was declared and John Hill was never convicted....however he was murdered in what many believe was a revenge killing ordered by Ash Robinson, Joan's Father.


In 1977, after Dr. Hill's murder, much of his estate was put up for sale, including this piano. It was not sold at that time and instead put into a local museum. Again this piano was offered for sale in 1992. My Father was the one and only person who looked at it. One moment at the keyboard and he purchased it on the spot! This piano brought sweet music and many years of enjoyment to my family. It also consumed about 50% of my parents living room!

..After my Mother's death, I noticed my Father had stopped playing the piano. I understood. I had no desire to ride either, which was my passion. I suppose it was just a part of morning. After a year though, I started to ride. Dad decided to sell his grand piano. He had another upright, but his decision saddened me. A part of me hoped that no one would be interested in the piano, but I was wrong. Offers came in within the month the announcement was made that it was for sale. I tried to talk him out of it with no success...and finally the day came, the call where he informed me that this beautiful instrument had indeed sold. My heart sunk and I was quiet..until he informed me that one of my brothers bought the piano and it was going to be donated to his church! St. Stephens Presbyterian Church in Fort Worth, TX. received an incredible praise offering...a piano whose history was dark, but whose future is oh so bright!

Yesterday, a dedication concert was presented and an amazing pianist, John Owings played the most beautiful concert on the piano I have ever heard. He used the entire keyboard, playing selections of Mozart, Beethoven, Debussy and Chopin. Bravo! Our family's piano will forever be a part of giving glory to God!


Amy said...

Does this mean Joan was a member of your family? Was that your family's piano? What a story!!!

Thanks for sharing!

Julie said...

Joan and I are not related..but interesting things linked us..
1. We both rode American Saddlebred Horses.
2. We are both adopted.
3. I found out after I started to ride with my first saddle seat riding instructor that she also instructed Joan for a time.
4. I went to an all girls high school that was right across the parking lot from the all boys high school her son Ash Jr. went to. I never got to know him though.

CIELO said...

Wow Julie... what a touching and inspiring story this is.... thank YOU for sharing this lovely and somewhat sad, but majestic story which at the end continues praising God.... just amazing....

I'm glad you were able to visit today; I don't know what's wrong with my blog/computer that was frozen up yours... I too experience sort of the same "delay" when opening my own blog, but don't know what is making it...

Have a great day and rest of the week


Amy at Bunny Rose Cottage said...

WOW Julie! I have seen this movie!!! What an icnredible story! I am so happy the piano is where it is. Just unbelievable!! Thank you so much for sharing with us!


vivian said...

you always tell the most interesting stories. how awesome that the piano is going to be part of church services that will offer worship to God and blessings to so many!!
I used to play piano a little bit.. I took lessons for a bunch of years! but I havent touched one in a very long time and was never very good at reading music!

Anonymous said...

That was a great story. I needed a good read.

Susan said...

That was a wonderful new home for that majestic piano!

Anonymous said...

Hi I came over via Kat, what a story, I remember hearing about Dr. Hill.

Glad your piamo found a good home.

Nice to meet you.

Kathy :)

bj said...

Oh, Julie...this is the most amazing story. I am so sorry Joan was killed...her hubby got his reward, I'm sure.
How wonderful that your dad enjoyed it so much and even more wonderful that your brother saw fit to buy it for his church....
Thank you for a delightful and interesting post.

Ginger said...

Hi Julie:
What a great story that is. Sad that your dad stopped playing the piano after your mom died though.
I'm glad it has a happy ending with your brother donating it to the church. What a beautiful piano it is.

Cote de Texas said...

wow!!!!!!!!!! What a story!!! How great is that? I love the ending!

but where did you go to school - in Houston? let me know!!! email me ok?