A word or two about Meat Loaf (1947-2022) and his mother, Mrs. Aday

| March 3, 2022 | 0 Comments

M.L. ADAY, senior photo, Thomas Jefferson High School, Class of 1965.

Mrs. Wilma Artie Hinkel Aday was my sixth-grade teacher, in a shining new elementary school, F.P. Caillet, in a new suburb in North Dallas. I started at Caillet toward Christmas in third grade, when it was under construction. We students were in the “annexes” then, awaiting the opening of our school.

By sixth grade, our final year at Caillet, I was in Mrs. Aday’s class, and her son, M.L. (Marvin Lee), was in a different sixth grade group. (Much later, he changed the Marvin to Michael.)

We sixth-grade students then spent all day in the classroom with one teacher. Mrs. Aday was the definition of sweet, and kind. She loved geography, and so do I.

Long ago, I found a photograph, circa 1958, of Mrs. Aday and me. She was sitting at her desk, and I was standing by her side, and we had our arms around each other. She was a large, heavy woman, and she was holding me tight, with real affection. I look a little abashed, but I loved her.

I was wearing a white, two-piece dress with a round neck and puffy sleeves, gold zig-zag rick-rack on the bodice and voluminous skirt.

We were square dancers at F.P. Caillet, and we were assigned to “squares” — eight boys and eight girls. The girls, or more precisely, their mothers, were in charge of the square dance outfits.

The square dance was once a year, and this is how we spent weeks in P.E., practicing.

On the day of the photograph, I was wearing my dress, post-dance festival.

The chalkboard was behind Mrs. Aday in the photograph, and on it was written, as a headline, in Mrs. Aday’s perfect, balanced, beautiful, teacher’s Palmer Method hand: China.

Under that five-letter word were listed a few characteristics of Chinese culture, but this is the one I recall: Children Obey Parents.

One rather fractious day in the classroom, Mrs. Aday was exasperated with us. She said something about how we were just playing around — just like M.L., she said. He would play with anything! At dinner, on his plate, his peas would be at war with his mashed potatoes.

We all went on to Cary Junior High in seventh grade; and stayed through ninth; then on to Thomas Jefferson High School. M.L and I were not friends, but I was aware that, at last, M.L. had found a place in the world, on the football field. By then he was known as Meat Loaf.

I attended Thomas Jefferson High School short of a year before I moved to Phoenix.

About 10 years ago, I saw a documentary about Meat Loaf, where it was revealed that M.L.’s father was an abusive, violent drunk. M.L. stayed with his maternal grandmother a good deal, ostensibly to protect him from his father’s rages.

My teacher Mrs. Aday was born in 1913, and she died of breast cancer in 1967, when M.L. was about 19. She was 54.

M.L. repeated frequently in the press that just after his mother died, his father, raging and drunk, came after M.L. in bed with a knife; the son rolled to the floor just in time.

He said he left the house in a T-shirt and shorts and never returned.

Mrs. Aday was 45 when she was my teacher. According to her obituary, she was a member of the Vo-di-o-do Gospel Quartet. To think of the pain and chaos and fear this kind woman suffered at the hands of her husband is unbearable. M.L. was able to sing from the depths of this suffering out into the world.

I have read that M.L. said, at one of his concerts:  Anything good in me came from my mother.

I sent the photograph to M.L. 30 years ago. I did not have a response. I’m only sorry I didn’t photocopy it.

I do love his greatest hits.

By Paula Panich

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Category: Entertainment

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