1.12.2009

mrs. ed


i received some very sad news today—when i opened my e-mail account after work, there was an e-mail waiting for me from the college i attended about the passing of a dear woman named mrs. alice thompson. she was my college voice coach. strangely, i had posted about her on this blog the very day she died—saturday, january 10, 2009. in my post {below} i had referred to her as mrs. ed—this is what everyone called her.

this is strange, because i did not even know that alice was sick. i knew she had grown quite a bit older since my time at college, and that her husband had passed a few years back after fighting an illness. but i did not know the health or state of mrs. ed—only that she was still with us and missing her beloved, dr. ed (whose real name was ed thompson).

dr. ed was a very dear man. he was one of my favorite people in college. i had him as a professor for some classes, but i knew him best as my choir director all four years that i attended judson college. he was like no person i ever knew. he was a man of smaller stature, but had the tallest personality and spunk of anyone i’ve ever met! and his wife, alice was the same—in height and personality. everyone loved dr. ed and mrs. ed.

dr. ed had had a stroke shortly before i came to judson. so my first year getting to know him was getting to know a man who was getting to know himself again—trying to relearn how to use one side of his body the way he used to. mrs. ed was always right there beside him through all of that. although i did not know mrs. ed nearly as well as i knew dr. ed, they were like one. they thought alike, taught alike, rejoiced alike, cared alike and even sang alike—with the same enthusiasm. dr. ed was the vocal choir director. mrs. ed was the hand-bell choir director.

i had the pleasure of touring five countries in europe for a month with them both, along with the rest of the choir. oh, the stories i could tell about that trip and about them. but another time. let’s just say, it was one of the best months of my life.

i was very sad when dr. ed passed. my best memories of dr. ed are him standing in front of the choir during practice and getting so enthusiastic about the words we were learning in a song. he would give us these grand “pep” talks about how the words we were singing should not just be words that came out of our mouths, but should be words we felt in our hearts! he would talk about the word “joy” or “hallelujah” and he would say, “you should know this word, understand this word, live this word. it should be your middle name!” my best friend at the time and i would giggle. we had a friend in the tenor section who sat behind us that we liked to tease. we had a silly made up name for him—schtu black {inside joke}. after hearing dr. ed’s words, we began to call our tenor friend schtu joy hallelujah black.

i know this means nothing to someone reading it, but it means everything to me—the memories that were created in those choir practices, the choir tours, the voice lessons, the recitals, the concerts. they are among the best memories of my life. i remember sitting on the bus with dr. and mrs. ed on choir tours, and i still remember specific conversations. they were two outstanding, loving people who loved God and made it known in everything they did.

alice passed at about six in the evening. i posted just two hours later. it is strange that having never written about either of them before, i should happen to write a little bit about mrs. ed in my most recent post on the very day she left this earth to be with her Savior and reunite with her husband. i am so glad they will be together again to sing. a college friend wrote to me on facebook today and said she pictured dr. ed waiting for alice with open arms. dr. ed is still missed today. mrs. ed will be missed every bit as much. i am blessed and honored to have known them both. i know my college friends reading this will agree.

thank you for your service and giving heart, mrs. ed. thank you for teaching me about singing. thank you for letting angela sing a schubert song for me. thank you for letting us sing a mendelssohn duet for a recital even though i had already graduated. thank you for who you were. i look forward to seeing you again some day.

17 comments:

Char said...

so sorry to hear of the sad news.

You went to Judson? That makes you an honorary Alabama girl.

Georgia B. said...

no, i went to the Judson in Elgin, Char. i'm just an Illinois girl. :)

~B~ said...

Well I am sorry to hear someone you valued has passed on. But lucky for her cause she is in a far better place than we are. I think the fact that you wrote about her after she had passed goes to show how loose tied togther everything and everyone is. Maybe in a way you were saying goodbye before you knew you needed to?

I hope that you get no sad emails in your box tommorow. Thank you for the blog comments and for liking that first picture. I actually used one very simliar to it in the photo blog me and my friend are doing.

ELK said...

so sorry for your loss G ~ but joy in the memories i read here and amazement in the timing of your post...

Rochelle said...

Oh sweetie... how sad. :( And what a God-thing that you were thinking of her and posting about her right around her time of death. Wow... wow.

angel cake said...

Georgia, that is amazing. Not coincidental, I believe. It brought a tear. I remember how special those days were for you. I remember how much I missed my soul mate and flesh and blood when she was in a far off land for a month. I could feel her excitement like it was my own. And most of all, I remember the indescribable feeling I would get when your choir would surround the audience by filling the aisles and sing the song with only one word sung over and over again in the most beautiful harmonies--hallelujah.

Angel-tear

Georgia B. said...

thanks, joe-cola. i'm glad you read this one, too. remember how much i bugged you to join the choir? i really wanted you to have those same memories. but i know you have your own set.

do you remember our duet? i hardly do. but i remember that i was so glad we were allowed to do it. was that Dr. Ed or Mrs. Ed that let us do that?

shilvia said...

i believe that nothing is accidental georgia...maybe its a way of her saying goodbye to you :) for you to be writing about her and thinking about her, the time she's leaving this world...

Char said...

I'm claiming you anyway! hope today is better hon.

Heather said...

This is a beautiful post, Georgia. It sounds like Dr. and Mrs. Ed were quite the wonderful and inspiring pair. I'm going to make a note of the quote from Dr. Ed about joy and hallelujah, for as you may know, my middle name is Joy. I should remember to live it, and share it, more often. Thanks for your memorial post to remind me.

angel cake said...

i was in the choir. for a year.

Georgia B. said...

i know, but i wanted you to be in it the whole time. :)

Jane said...

Such amazing memories of these special people in your life. I got goose bumps reading about the timing of your post.
I learned one more thing about you through this, that you sing, sand and sung. So.very.talented.you.are.

Chris said...

So sorry to hear about your coach's passing. That's spooky that you blogged about her only hours from her passing, too. But well timed, and obviously well deserved, too.

Ms Unreliable said...

So sorry to hear of your loss, it's always painful when a mentor passes on, but as long as their memory lives on, they'll always be with you. <3

Melissa Malvar said...

I just learned of Mrs. Thompson's death tonight. She was my first choir teacher when I was five years old, singing in the Cherub Choir at First Baptist Church. I still remember the songs I learned from her, and I thought how great it would be to write to her to tell here that I am a professional children's choir conductor now (for 15 years). I should have tracked her down sooner. While reading her obituary, I discovered that she earned her undergraduate degree from Wheaton College in Music Education in 1953. I earned the same degree from the same school in 1997. I'm grateful for the love of music that she shared with me all those years ago. Thank you for your post. It showed me another side to her life. Ed was my mom's choir director at First B for many years. What an amazing couple they were!

Melissa (Keylock) Malvar

georgia b. said...

melissa, thank you for sharing that! how nice to discover another person who knew her well and loved her... and that it is someone i have never met. it shows how people like dr. ed and alice thompson touched so many lives in so many places. thanks for sharing your comment. i had written this post almost three years ago, so it's nice to revisit it via your comment and re-read what i wrote back when she passed.

blessings,
georgia