Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Music Teacher

My brother grilled some hamburgers last Sunday for our weekly family dinner. I brought Mom, which wasn't easy. She had not gotten dressed to go out and expected me to help her.

If and when the time comes that there is no way for Mom to get dressed without our help, I will do it. But she is paying big money to stay in this assisted living facility where dressing the tenants is among the things the employees are paid for. Mom said that they were short-handed that day.

A couple of the employees here don't do their jobs very well and I have made it my mission in life to be a pain in the ass until they either shape up or get fired. So, knowing that at least one of these two was on duty, I marched down to the assisted living office. Sure enough, one employee was loading the medication cart while another just stood there chatting with her. I asked if one of the could help my mother get dressed.

In these places, you don't always get what you pay for unless you demand it.

So Mom got dressed, got her pills for the day, and off we went.

We dined al fresco in cooler weather than we had expected. We asked Mom if she wanted to go inside, but she said no. The steps into my Brother's house are challenging for her, so I think she assessed the time it would take and the time she would spend in there and decided it wasn't worth it. So as it got dark, we wrapped Mom in a blanket and brought out a portable DVD player to show her our collected performances, both as The canaries and as solo artists.

My mother, by the way, had once planned to study opera. Then WWII intervened and she left college to stay with her mother. Grandpa had enlisted in the navy (he also served in WWI).

Her voice matured while she was very young. In junior high school she already possessed a mature soprano voice. My siblings and I inherited this trait, except my brother and I went baritone, of course. At thirteen, I looked younger but sounded older.

During her own pre-teen years, Mom performed in recitals and became known locally for her voice. Not quite a child star, but advanced.

So on the way home she, inspired by hearing her grandson singing (the kid's fearless and self-taught), she reminisced about a thing that happened between her and her junior high school music teacher.

The teacher had handed out grades for the semester. She sat with a smile on her face as she watched my Mom open her report card.

Mom's jaw dropped as she saw the "B" the teacher had given her. The teacher then walked up to her and said "What cost you your "A" was the fact that you did not invite me to your recital last week."

Angry, Mom left the classroom.

When Mom got home, she was greeted by her mother and the same music teacher, who had come by to apologize for her actions and said that she had changed the grade to an "A."

As Mom told this story, I could hear the same anger she must have felt at the time bubbling up from inside her.

1 comment:

Jim said...

I suppose that your mom's reaction to your teacher's flippant B probably took her by surprise and motivated her to change the grade to an A.

I know that my kids take their grades pretty seriously, and would have been upset by the use of such a criterion.

Or maybe I'm totally off base...