When we're young, it was always a surprising sight to see one of our school teachers in a life outside of the classroom. Like running into a teacher on the weekend at a supermarket and seeing that the teacher had a spouse, casual clothing and an envelope full of coupons. We were so used to seeing our teachers in weekday teacher mode and attire. We didn't think of them having another life and another way of behaving. I got a major surprise like that just last year. Thanks to YouTube, I discovered the life my favorite teacher had before he taught classes at George Washington Carver Elementary School in what was the Willowbrook school district of 1960s Los Angeles. I had him for 4th and 5th grade at Carver Elementary. I loved Calvin Boze like he was my own father. He was terrific. He had a great big golden impact on me. Mr. Boze was a warm, paternal, slightly reserved, no-nonsense school teacher. Who knew he'd been a top rhythm and blues bandleader in the 1950s?!?! Who knew he could sing?!?!
Mr. Boze was fun too. He wasn't a man of high energy and fast movements. Even then he seemed to have some mysterious illness. He was occasionally absent. I always missed him when we had substitute teachers. In his briefcase, Mr. Boze carried a mixture for a white liquid he'd drink. He go out in the school hallway to the water fountain, get some water and stir up that milky-looking mixture. I told my parents about it and my mother, a registered nurse, said that he probably had an ulcer. One afternoon, close to recess time, we kids were just giddy. Not misbehaving, just giddy. We were having a talent contest or a show & tell contest. Something like that. Mr. Boze joined in the fun. He got up from his desk, stood in the middle of the class and showed us that he could do...the Mashed Potato! We kids hooped and hollered and squealed with delight and amazement. Mr. Boze was doing a new teen dance. He looked a little goofy and oh, so wonderfully human. How I loved that man. I was in high school in 1970 when Mom told me that he'd passed away. I felt like I'd lost a dear member of the family.