The Rapidian

Remembering Noah

More than a poignant story to recall, "He Plays a Harp" invites us to remember young Noah Miesch, even if we never met.

Where to find the book:

At your local Schuler Books

Online at Amazon


Author Talk and Book Signing event at Schuler Books:

May 28

7:00 p.m.

/Cover Art by Noah's dad, Mike Miesch

I never met Noah Miesch, but I remember him. Thanks to a mother willing to share both the joy and the pain of her son’s life and death, many grateful readers will welcome Noah into their memories as well.

"He Plays a Harp," a new memoir by local author Roberta King is, as she introduces it, a love story. Cherished son of Roberta King and her husband Mike Miesch, the essays in this book present a boys’ life both ordinary and remarkable; and a child’s death both devastating and love affirming. Noah was born prematurely with cerebral palsy and he died at 17. But there is so much more to Noah’s story.

In "He Plays a Harp," King deals deftly with subjects as seemingly disparate as both trips to the library and “do not resuscitate” orders. It tickles the funny bone and tugs at heartstrings at the right times. I laughed out loud at Noah’s antics and shed real tears as the end drew near.

But at some point as I read, the essays about Noah became more than a poignant story. At about the middle of the second section - where King presents some very strong evidence that sarcastic humor is indeed an inherited trait - I felt a shift. I moved from someone who will fondly recall the story of Noah to one who actually remembers Noah.

Through detailed storytelling, sharp wit and fearless transparency, King invites us to welcome Noah as our own. It certainly doesn’t hurt that the stories are peppered with familiar west Michigan references (Walgreens, Spectrum Health and Lake Michigan, for example), but it is more than that. King’s memoir is raw and real and beautiful, and I was drawn in so deeply that Noah became my family too.

For a few years, the community has had access to King’s engaging essays through The Rapidian, where she was an original founding member and frequent contributor. We had been given glimpses of her life as mom to this special child. "He Plays a Harp" is a welcome and logical next step.

I recently retold Noah’s first and favorite joke to a group of cancer warriors. As the belly laughs died down, I told them where the joke came from: not from a book, but from a special boy named Noah that I have come to know. This is how closely I have come to connect with him through King's words.

Job well done, Roberta King. You have honored your son by sharing him so intimately with all of us. We can all be surrogate mothers to Noah now, because we remember him, too.

"He Plays a Harp" is published by Principia Media and will be released on Mother’s Day.

The Rapidian, a program of the 501(c)3 nonprofit Community Media Center, relies on the community’s support to help cover the cost of training reporters and publishing content.

We need your help.

If each of our readers and content creators who values this community platform help support its creation and maintenance, The Rapidian can continue to educate and facilitate a conversation around issues for years to come.

Please support The Rapidian and make a contribution today.

Comments, like all content, are held to The Rapidian standards of civility and open identity as outlined in our Terms of Use and Values Statement. We reserve the right to remove any content that does not hold to these standards.