August 4th………“WERE YOU EVER ENVIOUS, GRANDPA, OF SOMETHING A GRADE SCHOOL CLASSMATE HAD? WHAT WAS THE ITEM? WHERE DID HE GET IT”??
Elvis Presley and Mrs. Behr made music……….just not together, that is!! 😉
You see, Mrs. Dorothy Behr was my 3rd Grade Music teacher in my childhood years at Kiester Public School District #222 in good old Kiester, Minnesota. Mrs. Philip Behr was the classic, matronly-looking fluffy lady and could be easily mistaken for the twin sister of “Aunt Bea Taylor” from “The Andy Griffith Show”. She even wore the vintage, old lady Oxford-style shoes with the squat, stubby heels that made a clunking thud, due to her womanly weight, with every step that she made across the squeaky wooden floors of that aging, second story classroom.
My 1962-63 class year was not only the opening of my 3rd Grade year of education, but was also the opening of the amazing “World’s Fair” (also known as the “Century 21 Exposition”) held in Seattle, Washington. From April 21st through October 21st of that year, nearly 10 million people came to experience the Fair’s motto, “Living In The Space Age”. An impressive 74 acres of land were devoted to and full of futuristic attractions provided by twenty four countries from around the world. The most impressive of those attractions were the space-age looking monorail system and the amazingly tall “Space Needle” observation tower with a restaurant at the tip top perched 605 feet high in the blue sky of the Pacific Northwest.
A tripartite in this story was the inclusion of three entities: fellow classmate Danny Olson, Elvis Presley and Mrs. Behr; with me tagging along in fourth as an observer.
You see, Elvis Presley made a movie, in 1962, called “It Happened At The World’s Fair”. And, of course, Elvis “The Pelvis”, being the star of the film, made music all over those fair grounds. Turns out, my new classmate, Danny Olson, and his family were also “all over those fairgrounds” on a wonderful summer vacation adventure at the same time there at the World’s Fair. Who knows, maybe Danny even saw the filming of that musical romantic comedy?
A little boy amalgamation came about from all these components on a fine Fall day in 1962. It was time for Music Class. Our 3rd & 4th Grade (split) class was shortly to be greeted by Mrs. Behr at our classroom door. “Good Morning children”! came the husky greeting from our music educator. “Good Morning, Mrs. Behr”! came our unison reply. “Follow me, children”, so, out from our beloved Mrs. Mortensen’s classroom door we obediently followed our rotund educator as she clomped down the hallway, wearing those heavy, stumpy-heeled oxfords, leading us eastward from our room and into her musical education domain.
I’m settling into my student desk for our elementary music lesson when I feel a tap, tap, tap to my shoulder. Pretty soon, that’s followed by a “Psssst, Pssssst”! calling sound. Sure enough, it’s Danny Olson and he’s got something to show me that is beyond cool to this here little eight year old farm boy.
Danny hands me his awesome possum, super dooper ink pen that he got as a souvenir when his family had driven all the way to Seattle, Washington that past summer to see the World’s Fair and the Space Needle. I was captured in a mesmerizing awe as Danny showed me how, if you tip the pen upside down, the little people elevator, in the center, floated to the top of the Space Needle. Then tip the pen upright, and the people elevator in the center of the pen floated, magically, back down to the base of that 605 foot marvel.
I was immediately “green with envy” and jealous of how Danny could have such a COOL toy to write with!! Here this little farm boy (ME) had never been west of my birth town of Blue Earth, Minnesota, yet Danny’s family could afford to drive all the way to the West Coast to see the thrilling sights of the World’s Fair (and, who knows, may have even seen Elvis filming his movie musical). It was then that Mrs. Behr brought both of us 8 year olds back to reality and scolded us for not paying attention to the musical education for this Norwegian Farmer’s Son!!!! 😉