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Monday, August 16, 2010

Itasco Wilson turns 100

I am happy to wish Mrs. Itasco Wilson a very happy birthday as she celebrates 100. Few people hit the triple digits with as much grace and style as she. I'm proud she was one of my teachers.
Mrs. Itasco Wilson at her 100th Birthday Party
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Mrs. Wilson and her late husband, B.T., came to Kerrville in 1940 to lead the Kerrville Colored School. One of their first works was to rename it Doyle High School. Beyond the basic subjects, taught at a disadvantage both in facilities and supplies, the couple taught dignity. Renaming the school was an important start.

Mr. Wilson was the principal; Mrs. Wilson taught first through third grades. The school flourished under the leadership of the "Prof" and his wife. 
Later, when all of the students of Kerrville were united into one school system, both of the Wilsons continued to teach in the district.
When I was in junior high, Mrs. Wilson was one of my U.I.L. coaches. I'm sad to say I cannot remember for what contest we students were preparing. But I will never forget the kindness and patience of Mrs. Wilson as she worked to bring out the best in us for an upcoming competition.
We met in her room during lunch period and worked together, which meant Mrs. Wilson gave up her lunch time for us. Mrs. Wilson, seemingly busy at her desk, would be listening very closely to our work, and would offer a deft observation for improvement. She heard everything! Many times she would just say, "Try again."  We were very motivated to please her, and she made us want to give our best.
I also had a class with Mr. Wilson during my school days here. I remember once, years ago, when I was a member of the Tivy High School band, and Mr. Wilson substituted one day for our director, the late Avie Teltschik.
Mr. Wilson had a lifelong love of music that he shared with so many. At Doyle, he formed the Doyle a Cappella Choir; many of us remember his performances with various jazz ensembles, plucking that old gold upright bass of his, lugging it around the hill country in the back of his car.
Here's my story of Mr. Wilson substituting for Mr. Teltschik: Before we began band that day, as we waited in our chairs, Mr. Wilson mounted the little director's podium with a trumpet in his hand. He spoke to us in a gravelly voice, telling us in low tones about his love of music. He played a short snippet of Jazz for us.
"Now, you must remember," he said, "that you've been given a great gift, the gift of music. If you will hold onto that gift, and not throw it away, it will be a blessing to you all of your life. When you're an adult, and you're feeling blue, you can pick up your horn and play."
And he played again.
"And it will make you feel better deep inside."
The thing about the Wilsons was this: they were a team. They worked together to improve the lives of their students. They went above and beyond their stated job descriptions. They cared about kids. It mattered not to them if you were black or white or smart or not as smart. They wanted your best. And they knew how to get it.
Happy Birthday, Mrs. Wilson. I am so proud to know you!
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2 comments:

  1. I had no idea that Mrs. "BT" Wilson was still alive. That's pretty cool.

    And I have to ask if you followed BT Wilson's advice and "held onto the gift."

    ReplyDelete
  2. Marcus, I haven't played my old cornet in a long time, but I do play the piano and guitar occasionally, and I'm in a string quartet that meets one lunch a week, where I play cello. Mind you, I don't play any of them very well.

    ReplyDelete

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