Sunday, August 16, 2009

Mrs. Jensen the Heyburn Music Teacher

While in Idaho for my youngest brother Ed's wedding, I ran into the now-retired music teacher of Heyburn Elementary School, Mrs. Jensen. She looked EXACTLY the same as when she taught us in school. (That's a picture of me and her my cousin Jill took for me.)

We never appreciated Mrs. Jensen much back then. Music class seemed so much more boring than P.E. or even library.

And Mrs. Jensen was a stickler.

"Get up in your high-singing voices," she would sing while tapping the top of her head with her hand.

We sang songs out of these old books from the 70s. Ever heard of the gospel spiritual "Ezekial Saw the Wheel?" Well, I have. And I can still sing it to you. He saw the wheel wwaaaaay up in the middle of the air. Does mamma 'low banjo playin' 'round here? No she don't, according to another song we sang in Mrs. Jensen's class.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't think children in public schools today are learning the same songs Mrs. Jensen taught us. "Where have you been, Billy Boy?," "This Land was Made for You and Me," "Candy Man/Salty Dog," and "If I had a hammer" were regulars on her song list.

After I had my first child Lilia, I noticed those old songs making a comeback in my singing-goodnight repertoire. When we were kids, our absolute favorite song to sing was "Senor Don Gato." We'd beg Mrs. Jensen to let us sing that one.

I remember holding Lilia and "Senor Don Gato's" lyrics came flooding back to me. Kulani had never heard that song before, and he laughed whenever I'd sing it to Lilia. A rush of emotion flooded me, and I was grateful for a music teacher who taught us the oldies but greaties.

Lyrics to "Senor Don Gato"
Oh Senor Don Gato was a cat
On a high red roof Don Gato sat.
He went there to read a letter,
Meow, meow, meow
Where the reading light was better
Meow, meow, meow
'Twas a love note for Don Gato.

"I adore you," wrote the lady cat
Who was fluffy, white and nice and fat
There was not a sweeter kitty,
Meow, meow, meow
In the country or the city,
Meow, meow, meow
And she said she'd wed Don Gato

Oh, Don Gato jumped so happily
He fell off the roof and broke his knee
Broke his ribs and all his whiskers,
Meow, meow, meow
And his little solar plexus,
Meow, meow, meow
"Ay, Caramba!" cried Don Gato

Then the doctors all came on the run
Just to see if something could be done
And they held a consultation,
Meow, meow, meow
About how to save their patient,
Meow, meow, meow
How to save Senor Don Gato

But in spite of everything they tried
Poor Senor Don Gato up and died
And it wasn't very merry,
Meow, meow, meow
Going to the cemetery,
Meow, meow, meow
For the ending of Don Gato

When the funeral passed the market square
Such a smell of fish was in the air
Though his burial was slated,
Meow, meow, meow
He became reanimated,
Meow, meow, meow
He came back to life, Don Gato


MarySquare said...

One of my favorites is, "I am a witch and my name is Tilley" and "Have you seen the ghost of John?" Minnie loves "Tilley" and we sing it year round.

Justin said...
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Keri said...

I am so jealous that you ran into Mrs. Jensen, and I have to admit, she does look exactly the same. It is crazy to think that I still remember all of the lyrics to those tunes. Like Minnie, my kids are also fans of "I am a witch..." I did water it down a little bit from the original version to avoid nightmares, but they still love it. One more fav that shouldn't be neglected is the PacMan game. It was the highlight of my elementary music experience.

That's what we said: said...

Do you remember, "I got a mule her name is Sal, Fifteen miles on the Eerie canal. She's a good 'ol horse and a good 'ol pal, Fifteen miles on the Eerie canal."