Beloved music teacher Mary Beckstrom retires from Laurel School
Twenty eight years ago, Menlo Park resident Mary Beckstrom took over as music enrichment teacher at Laurel School, thinking she’d do it for a few months. On Thursday afternoon, June 2, she bade the school — and its grateful students and parents — farewell at Laurel’s Spring Fling.
Her kindergarten and first grade students performed the first four songs — This Land Is Your Land, I Know How to Say Thank You, Austrian Yoddler and Ram Sham Sham. “They’re all camp songs,” Mary explained in advance of the program. All grades were welcomed to join in on Grab Another Hand and the Laurel School Cheer.
Not only did Mary not envision her long career at Laurel, she didn’t learn to play a musical instrument herself until her late 20s. “I would have loved to have taken piano lessons when I was a kid,” she said. “But my Dad was a policeman and my Mom didn’t work, so it wasn’t in the budget.
“When I was 28, a woman came to my home and taught me guitar — my son would dance along in his play pen! She helped me buy my first guitar. Now I help parents pick out guitars for their kids!”
Mary, who also teaches privately, will continue that pursuit, although at a reduced schedule. “I’m already filled,” she said.
What she’s looking forward to most in retirement is visiting her grandchildren and one great grandchild. “That’s the good part of saying good-bye,” she said.
Photos by Laura Hamilton; top Laurel 4th graders serenade Mary with Saying Goodbye from The Muppets