Miss Ossie Keadle was the music teacher in the Alderson schools. She
played the organ at the Methodist Church on Sundays and gave piano lessons
after school and on weekends. Every boy and girl who went through Alderson
Grade School in the late 30s, all of the 40s and the early 50s learned to
I remember Every Good Boy Does Fine for the five lines and F A C E for the
four spaces. All Cows Eat Grass were the lines on the bottom. We had to
draw the Treble Clef and the Bass Clef and put notes on the proper lines
and spaces. We even drew little "flags" for quarter notes and eighth
notes. I was absolutely stellar at these mechanics. My downfall was making
those letters into sounds, musical sounds.
Miss Ossie tried and tried. She gave me special lessons, pounding a key
while asking me to reproduce the sound. She persuaded my mother to make me
take piano lessons. Alas, I unwillingly practiced the wrong chords never
even hearing my mistakes.
All grade school children had to sing in the choir. Miss Ossie made me
sing in the high school choir and the church choir, as well. She clung in
vain to a hope that no one was hopeless.
Years later, I was vindicated, in a way. Scared and alone in my first prep
school study hall/assembly, we all rose to pledge allegiance to the
American Flag. When everyone began to sing, I lustily belted out
The Star Spangled Banner. I had reached "bombs bursting in
the air" before I realized with horror and dismay, that everyone else was
singing an Episcopal Hymn of Praise!