Residence: Los Angeles, CA
Date of Performance/Collection: April 29 2021
Primary Language: English
“At my high school, there was this teacher who taught literally since the school was founded. Um, her name was Rose Gilbert, she taught English, she married like a billionaire, still ended up teaching, reached the age of retirement, still kept on teaching, her husband died and left her so much money and she donated a bunch of it back to the school — um, our, we have a pool named after her, we have a theatre named after her. And she was the inspiration for, um, Maz in the most recent, uh what’s it called, Star Wars movies because JJ Abrams went to Pali High. But a lot of people think…oh, and then she died. She died in like 2011. And a lot of people think that her old classroom is haunted, myself included. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. Um, I had my 11th grade AP Lang class in her old classroom, um, in the A building, and um all the doors and windows were closed and all of a sudden a bunch of papers just flew off the desk! A bunch of books sort of fell off of shelves, and we were like “Oh that…that’s Ms. Gilbert! She is…she’s not happy with us!” Um, yeah. People called her Mama Rose. She’s a…she’s a…a big presence at my high school.”
Notes: People love a ghost story, and it’s made more real when it’s the ghost of someone in the community. I do have a question, however. What’s her unfinished business, the reason most ghosts in ghost stories stay? Is she not done teaching English? Or is Pali simply not ready to give up Mrs. Gilbert, even though she taught there for 60 years?
It’s a fascinating case study of how communities will cling to people long after their departure.