Thanks for the Memories, "Uncle" Ed A Tribute to a Teacher

 

This page is to honor the memory of my favorite teacher of all time.
   

In September 1955, Oceanside High School first occupied its brand new building on Skillman and Brower Avenues, and what was the combined junior-senior high for only one school year (our seventh grade year) became just the junior high.  Because the music teacher went to the new high school building, our junior high needed a new music teacher.

Enter Ed Taylor, an accomplished musician on the brass instruments but able to play and teach most others, too. Perhaps more than anyone else (and coincidentally with the very dawn of rock 'n' roll), he nurtured my lifelong love of music. But I don't remember Ed Taylor so much for his skill as a musician; I remember him for his extraordinary talent as a teacher and the way he related to us kids. 

   

Ed Taylor was 31 years old when we met him in the fall of 1955.  But his baldness made him look older, especially to us kids. He would tell us he used to respond to people who told him his hair was thinning with, "So who wants fat hair?"  He taught us (or warned us) that most people who would go bald were ordinarily well on their way by their early thirties.
  

 

 

 

  
I have often thought fondly and wondered about Ed Taylor over these many, many years. But last week, I encountered online one Melody Taylor Stein, OHS class of 1965. It occurred to me that my beloved music teacher told our band class once, probably in 1955, that he had named his daughter Melody. I wrote her, and confirmed she was Ed Taylor's daughter. Sadly, though, Melody told me she lost her dear father in 1984 to cancer. He was only 60.

I had dinner with Melody last night. (We both live in Las Vegas, it so happens.) Melody gave me this picture to help me remember her dad. I thought I would share it in this tribute with those of you who loved him as I did.

  

   
We all loved Ed Taylor. The hours spent in his band class every day for two years (the 8th and 9th grades) were among the most memorable and pleasurable times I had in jr. high. And those of you who were also in the band or in the chorus in those years most likely remember him similarly. He lived in our little town. And he was like family. At his invitation, we called him "Uncle" Ed instead of Mr. Taylor. I never had such a relationship with any other teacher. Did you?

Here's Uncle Ed (upper right, standing) leading the band (a little
 distracted, perhaps) at our jr. high graduation, June 24, 1957.
    

Thank you so much, Melody, for sharing your wonderful dad with so many other kids.

                
                
January 21, 2002

 

 

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