Once I had debunked the myth of educator Gerald Lee as having convinced Clara to suppress Amy’s prodigy musical gifts in her youngest years, it dawned on me also that Clara had clearly supported, nurtured and shared many of Amy’s talents with friends and family. Clara and Clara’s mother sang with Amy, allowed Amy to harmonize with them, played the piano for her (often playing the particular pieces that Amy requested even). And there were other stories of Clara having supported her child’s talents – like how she allowed Amy, with her perfect pitch, to serve as the tuning fork for local salon concerts that they attended together. The only music interest I had actually read about Clara suppressing – when Amy was between the age of 2 and 6 - was that she would not allow her daughter to learn to play the piano.

I also kept returning to the fact that it did not make sense for mother Clara to be opposed to the nurturing of Amy’s interest in learning to play the piano, based on sexist teachings of the time, when she herself was an accomplished and practicing pianist. Could it have been that Clara was not yet ready to move over and give the pianist’s seat to her toddler daughter when Clara was playing house salon concerts herself, when that was her personal territory, hobby, avocation? Could there have been a touch of envy when pianist Clara bore a musical prodigy?

Later, when Amy wanted to study internationally and perform professionally, rather than the more acceptable lady-like path of local house concert performances, I can see the mores of the day that regulated the proper sphere for women as having influenced mother Clara’s child/teen-rearing decisions. Those were spheres in which pianist Clara had not dared to tread herself. But her refusal to let Amy touch the piano when the child begged for it at the ages of two, three and four, seemed to imply some deeper, personal motive. (go to p4)