Yesterday I introduced you to Mrs Dudeney. The time came when I was promoted, and I moved on. Let’s just say that it was a culture shock.
Mrs D had loved all music, she was fun and friendly and, apart from the lace handkerchief, not in the least bit scary. I now moved on to Miss Oswald…….
Miss Oswald lived in an enormous house with her sister. The latter was always referred to as ‘the Other Miss Oswald’. In other words, she was considered an ‘also ran’. I was too young to understand the niceties of this, but even at a tender age I found myself feeling sorry for her and she was very rarely seen. Students would enter through a side door into a small lobby. Two seats, upright of course, were suitably situated opposite a small hatch. To the left of the hatch was a big oak door, and eventually the previous student would appear and pass through the lobby in silence. No words were spoken. A look might be exchanged, and that look said so much. The look gave an inkling of what was to come.
Suddenly the hatch would be thrown open. A single word was bellowed, and the hatch closed.
Speed was now of the essence, if one dillied and dallied who knew what would happen……? (Of course, nothing ever did happen, but the stern command was always enough to instill a sense of extreme obedience.)
Unlike Mrs D, Miss O would not have dreamt of being seen in silk. She wore tweeds! Tweed skirt, Viyella blouse and Tweed jacket. She was short and stocky, and certainly had a ‘presence’. She dominated the room in spite of the fact that the focal point of the enormous music room should have been the Bechstein Grand Piano that was waiting for my meagre efforts. She hated ‘Pop’! ‘Classical’ was the only music that was worth considering, and I once made the mistake of mentioning that I had been asked to play part of the Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No 2 with the school orchestra.
‘Rachmaninov?! Far too modern. That’s just pop!’ (If I’d had some soap I’d have washed out my mouth 😉 )