Margaret brings the softness and grace to what is Pianissimo.
Margaret Begum was a rather quiet young girl. She tended to keep to herself. As a child, she found more enjoyment in playing her piano than playing with other children.
She was the youngest of three. Her older sister Josephine, and her brother Walter, were both much more outgoing than she. They would play with other children. They loved receiving toys for Christmas, whereas Margaret was thrilled if she received new sheet music. The differences in personalities were something that carried through all of their lives.
She and her siblings grew up in modest conditions. Louisville was a good city to be raised in. Their house certainly did not compare to Agnes', but it was a good home nonetheless. Her mother, Lenora, was a teacher. Her father, Horace, was a carpenter. The children never wanted for anything. Hers was a good childhood.
Margaret followed in her mother's foot steps in becoming an educator. She greatly enjoyed working with young children. She loved helping them to learn how to read. She also gave piano lessons to students after school. She felt very enriched by her students' successes.
She taught at a smaller school for 3 years before moving on to the Primary School of Louisville. When she started at the Primary School, she met Agnes Walker.
Agnes was like her: quiet, and somewhat reclusive. She was much happier keeping to herself than to join in the gossip with the other teachers. Margaret found herself immediately drawn to Agnes, and the two hit it off right away.
A wonderful friendship blossomed immediately. It didn't take long, though, for Margaret to feel something more. She was experiencing emotions she never had before. She viewed Agnes as a beautiful, remarkable woman. She felt as though Agnes was a companion of sorts, and she wanted more. She wanted to spend every moment with Agnes. She eventually realized that she was deeply in love with her.
Margaret was afraid of her love. She had never experienced anything so potent. It wasn't right for women to love other women. She must have been crazy. She tried to deny it. She tried to fight it. She tried to suppress it. But she couldn't. There was only one thing she could do: confide in Agnes.
Margaret mustered up all the courage she had. She was utterly petrified. What would Agnes think? Was she about to ruin the best friendship she ever had? What was going to happen?
What ended up happening was the romance of a life time. Agnes loved Margaret as much as Margaret loved her. It was perfect.
Their relationship continued to bloom, and Margaret eventually moved in with Agnes.
For their first Christmas together, Agnes gave Margaret a brand new piano. That gift symbolized their love - and life. The piano took on a life of its own. It gave both Agnes and Margaret the beautiful gift of music. It gave them serenity as Margaret used the piano in Margaret's candle ritual to guide the souls of their loved ones to Heaven. It represented the depth and understanding of their love. It also represented the timelessness of their love, and the endlessness of their love as the piano stood the test of time. It was battered and abused, but it lived on in the house. That one gift meant so very much.
Though she was happy, Margaret's family - especially her siblings - looked down on her decision to stay "single." They could not understand why she wouldn't want to marry a man and start a family of her own. They couldn't understand the true nature of her relationship with Agnes, and they did not approve. Lenora and Horace were somewhat accepting of Margaret's unusual life, but neither Josephine nor Walter approved. They pulled away from her tremendously.
It was difficult being estranged from her family, especially at the times of her parents' deaths. Walter was cold, but respectful. Josephine was simply rude. She hardly spoke to her sister, and she deplored Agnes. Josephine passed very harsh judgment the day that Margaret moved in with Agnes. Josephine turned her back on her sister. At a time of deep grief, when they lost each of their parents, Margaret's grief was worsened by the distance between her and sister. Margaret tried to reach out, but Josephine and Walter remained aloof. Agnes was always there, though. She was the rock when Margaret needed her the most.
Like any good marriage, Agnes and Margaret went through life's highs and lows together. That is until October 11, 1949. Margaret had contracted TB. She fought valiantly. Agnes was by her side as much as she could be. Hospital rules limited her time with Margaret. Unfortunately, because of those rules, Margaret passed away in the hospital alone. Her family never came for her, and Agnes was not allowed to stay with her.
Margaret Begum is such a beautiful, gentle soul. It's impossible to to not love her. She makes Pianissimo the wonderful story that it is.
Favorite quote from Margaret: “My, you are magnificent!”