Miss Rosy entered the music room a warm breezy gush of spring. There were one or two younger teachers, but none before broke through the invisible institutional barricade separating our imaginations from the adults. The others seemed to comfortably embody their role in the façade.
She wore cotton blouses of orange or red with green print twines and sprouting tiny flowers. The sleeves and shoulders were puffy and the front had a hint of V at the neck. The blouses rode down low to the pockets of her blue jeans.
Rocky Mountain High, Leaving on a Jetplane, Grandma’s Feather Bed. A couple songs actually played on the AM radio. She played guitar and smiled. She said everyone can sing along. She didn’t worry too much if we read music or learned other than basic scales. She felt we needed to be interested in order to learn.
She was the only teacher who smiled at all of us, as if she was glad to see all of us. She found no joy in a student making mistakes. She praised effort, although there were more talented students who received more individual attention and had more prominent parts in the recital. She took us with the musical gifts we were given or not.
During that first year she became Mrs. Lilytch. After school Christmas break the following year, she began to show. Geldstar wanted her gone fast, at least for the remainder of the school year. There was no union and no family leave at that time, plus she didn’t really want to leave us and sit at home. She knitted, but didn’t need to knit baby clothes. Preparing for a baby coming didn’t mean she couldn’t teach.
Geldstar had to learn to live with it regardless. Too many young parents sympathized when most of us went home and told them. I don’t think she meant for it to happen that way, but Geldstar decided it was such as an experiment.
Geldstar wasn’t wholly adverse to the changing times. He made a bit of money investing in a company which manufactured the water bed bladders for pretty much every brand available over the next few years, as these entered the marketplace.
After spring break, Mrs. Lilytch didn’t return. The substitute was drab and so were we, but she didn’t care. We mouthed through the old song book and looked out the window thinking of incoming summer. The recital was similarly rote. My memory of that time is that the music class and recital all was filmed in black and white. Part of the old way.
When she and we returned in the Fall, after one of the last endless summers, Mrs. Lilytch was more aglow than ever and eager to resume where we had left off. There were one or rather two differences. Her puffy 1970’s cotton blouses strained in front with the bounty of milk blessed breasts.
We were, none of us, ever the same. Boys for boy reasons, and girls for girl reasons. Even anyone otherwise sexually or genderly identified was not ever again the same, for their own reasons. That year we saw the classroom film version of Future Shock. Nothing in Future Shock, not even the gay wedding scene compared as the revelation of our beautiful bright melodic teacher as a nurturing new mother. There was an initial temptation towards base comments, but we quickly grasped it was the fine work of nature. It took a bit longer to grasp the nature aspects of the gay wedding scene from Future Shock. Some are still working their way there.