Miss Callendar. That was her name. I kept wanting to call her Miss Colander. She lived in South Melbourne, in a street off Ferrars Street, Mary Street I think, in a terrace house I think. Well, actually, I can only picture the table where we sat and had lessons; the rest of the room, let alone the house itself, are completely gone from my memory. As is most of what I learned there.
I don’t think it was this particular house, but it was something like this. Words like “old-worldly” come to mind. Quaint. She was a quietly-spoken tallish, thinnish woman, with long, thick, dark-blond hair tied loosely behind her, either in a ponytail, or in a plait that would curl around her neck and hang down over her chest. We’d sit at her little wooden table in a corner of her sitting room. The main light was always off, and we studied by the light of a little lamp that sat to the left of us on the desk. It was the sort of room that I imagine had lace tablecloths, and old worn rugs on the wooden floors. What I remember are fleeting, hazy forms that are almost more a feeling than crisply captured images.
Miss Callendar always used a soft pencil to write notes with in my music book. I found her “world” fascinating. It was like that, a world. Separate from the real world. Smoky, hazy, softly dark. We’d sit and work together for an hour or so, as she’d patiently, in her smooth-as-silk quiet voice, teach me about dominant sevenths and key signatures.
Damn shame I can hardly remember much of it at all.