I met Rafael
Méndez - Roy Marks
playing trumpet at age seven. When I was about ten, Mr. Mendez and
his two sons came thru Southeast Kansas, and my trumpet teacher
took me to Coffeyville, Kansas (I believe thats where it was) to
hear him, and to meet him.
A year or two
later, my instructor felt I showed promise and encouraged my
parents to buy me a better instrument. We were a family of limited
income in the early 50s, but my mother saved until we had the
money for a purchase. The only problem was that I played
with my left hand, due to a birth defect of having no right hand.
The instructor and also the owner of the music store where I took
lessons wrote a letter to the Olds Music Company explaining my
situation, and asked if they could make a Mendez model trumpet
with a finger hook on the bell side
for me. They wrote back and offered to, instead, make a left
handed Mendez trumpet for me at no additional expense above the
regular cost. It took them time that was comparable to making over
120 regular trumpets to complete it. It is completely reversed,
with the bell on the right. I still have the trumpet today, and
the letter explaining how it was made.
Many years of great experiences thru college, inspired by Mr.
Mendez. I recall he was a very gracious man.