I am Rose Meyer and currently live in Oak Park, Illinois. I was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1926, and my family moved to Chicago that same year. My mother and father both worked; she was a Beautician and he was a Barber, but they also brought their talents to the Yiddish Theatre in New York. It was during the Great Depression so it was hard to make a living, let alone buy recordings, but we had the recordings of the Great Russian Opera singers and I was named after Rosa Raisa, my father’s favorite. My father played the Met radio Programs every Saturday in the Barber Shop and if a customer complained he said: “Find Another Barber”. In my Elementary School the music teacher taught us to understand the Operas by playing the music as she wrote the Lyrics in English, and had us sing these on stage. Although I learned at an early age I could not sing on key and knew I would never be a performer, it never took away my pleasure of hearing others who could, and I began by ushering when we couldn’t afford tickets.
I then became a High School Teacher in the Chicago Public Schools in 1963, and every year helped prepare and bring our Marshall High Students who lived in the District to the Lyric Opera Programs. In 1973 CPS opened the Curie High School Magnet Program for the Creative and Performing Arts, and we were able to recruit students from all districts who desired to major in the ARTS. As the Director of this Program I always greeted my students and parents by telling them WHY the Sages decreed: “Living With The ARTS Was A Worthy Life.” They went on to explain that Human Beings first learned to communicate with language –PROSE, it was a stepping stone to growth, but not enough, so we reached further by developing POETRY for loftier thoughts, but it still wasn’t enough, until we developed MUSIC , and when all 3 elements of communicating come together, as in Opera, your mind and heart reach its highest level of understanding Humanity.
You get this understanding whether you are a performer as well as being a member of the audience to support the performer, as we need each other to become a whole. One does not exist without the other. As I approach 94 years and with a little help from my friends, I will attend as many Dramas, Musical Revues, and Operas I can, I will see past students and new friends, and wait at the stage door to get a hug and say “Bravo” or “Brava” in person, as I vie to become a winner in the Guinness Book of World Records as the Oldest Groupie.