Mrs. Ethel Moorman, music teacher to most La Cucaracha residents since 1942, passed away at the age of 102 Tuesday evening to join her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. As a fitting memorial, we interviewed a small sampling of her former students.
Harold Zweinerman: I remember how she used to make us memorize a Bible verse before each lesson. If we got the chapter wrong, we got a rap on the knuckles with that wooden ruler; if we got the verse wrong, same thing. If we missed a note or slipped with the posture of our hands – whack!
It was just last week when I saw Mrs. Moorman when I was visiting my aunt over at the old folk’s home. I was walking past her room, and out she came with one of those aluminum canes. She grabbed me by the ear, drug me into the parlor, and sat me down right in front of that old piano, demanding I play Edelweiss. Now, I’m a 45 year old man, but I was trembling as she stood over me with that cane raised. Thank God I didn’t miss a note after all these years. I was terrified. If I had taken lessons from some loving hippy music teacher, I doubt I would have remembered a single note. Man, I’m going to miss that woman.
Marge Wilson: My arthritis acts up every time I think of Mrs. Moorman. I can barely move my hands when I hear her name. She put the fear of God in us in an Old Testament way. They just don’t teach kids like that anymore. No wonder America’s gone down the tubes these days. I will always cherish you Mrs. Moorman!
Carl Witherspoon: I know all of you remember Black Friday, the fall of 1978. It was the first time the Armadillos football team lost a homecoming game in 75 years. Coach had put in a new offense, and we couldn’t remember the 458 plays, no matter how hard we studied. Monday morning at our sunrise practice, Mrs. Moorman marched on the field with her ruler. You could see the fear spread throughout the team like a virus. She snatched the playbook out of Coach’s hands and started writing Bible verses next to each one. Coach passed it around for us to copy, and she was back in time for our lunch practice.
That woman just stood on the sidelines with her ruler raised high, and Coach would call out something like, “Proverbs 15:1,” and we all knew it was play number 356, “fullback middle run fake split end slant and go.” Everyone on the team had been so conditioned with her Bible verse piano lessons, we could instantly remember the entire playbook due to her years of brainwashing, I mean, mental conditioning.
Back then, Coach always scheduled a pre-district game against a Division 1 University to prepare us for State, and LSU was the unfortunate victim. We slaughtered them 49 to 3 with Mrs. Moorman on the sidelines. But that wasn’t good enough for her. Monday morning she was waiting for the third string defense with that ruler, since they allowed that 52 yard field goal. She tore into them, but after that, not another point was scored on the ‘Dillos the rest of the season. A lot of you may not know it, but that 10’ bronze ruler outside the field house pays homage to Mrs. Moorman that season. We owe her a debt of gratitude. We’ll miss you!