Sixty Years and Counting
Music brought Ed Green '42 and Meg Tuttle Green '42 together and has been a lifelong passion.
by Wrexie Bardaglio
Meg and Ed at their home in Ithaca
Photo by Sheryl D. Sinkow
"All I had to do to get into Ithaca College was sight-read," says Margaret "Meg" Tuttle Green. "I'd spent my first semester at Cornell. Then I had an opportunity to talk with the head of the Ithaca College music program and decided I wanted to be a music major. I transferred second semester. I could sight-read anything, while most freshmen really had to struggle with it."
Her husband, Edward Green, jumps in with his own recollections of coming to IC: "I was playing [the French horn] in the New Jersey All-State Orchestra. During sectional rehearsals, I heard people talking about Ithaca College." He chuckles at the memory of the next part of the story. "So I sent a letter addressed to 'Ithica College,' and then my transcripts." Despite his spelling error, he was admitted. "I'd been accepted at the Eastman School of Music but decided to come to Ithaca. I was concerned that Eastman was a little too big, and I didn't want to be in Rochester."
The two met during their freshman year, when they shared many classes. "Meg was in the choir, and I played in the band and orchestra," Ed smiles. "She was dating my roommate then. 'Well,' I said, 'that's enough of that,' and we began going out."
The pair got teaching jobs right after graduation -- Meg's in Groton and Ed's in Palmyra. Ed graduated on a Friday and went to work on Monday to finish out the term of an instrumental music teacher who went into the service.
One year later Ed himself enlisted, training in Georgia and North Carolina for the U.S. Army Airborne Division. He and Meg kept in touch by telephone and letters, but there was no real talk of something permanent. "So I decided to take things into my own hands when Ed told me he was due a furlough," Meg recalls, smiling. "I called him up and said, 'Guess what? We're getting married!' " The wedding was held at Meg's parents' home in Northport, New York, with just the couple and their families attending. The date was January 30, 1944.
The Greens at their wedding 60 years ago
"We had one night together after we were married, and then I was gone," Ed says. While he was abroad, Meg lived with her family and taught music at a local school. When Ed came home in 1945, after serving nearly two years in Europe, the two returned to their music teaching jobs in Groton and Palmyra. Ed pursued graduate work in school administration, receiving an M.S. in 1947 and an Ed.D. in 1965 from Syracuse University. His career path led him to become a guidance director, then vice principal, principal, and ultimately superintendent; during this time he worked in several different schools in the central New York region. All this time he continued to play French horn on his own and with, among other orchestras, the Oneonta Symphony.
The Greens have three daughters: Peg, now living in California; Marsha, now in Michigan; and Barbara, in Ithaca. When the girls came along Meg gave up teaching to raise their family. She didn't give up her music, however, and for years taught piano from their home. She also sang in their church choirs, some of which Ed directed
In 1977 Ed received the New York State Council of School District Administrators' Distinguished Service Award. That year the Greens moved to Georgia, where Ed served on the education faculty at Georgia Southern University until 1987. He then became an educational consultant for such entities as the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the Georgia Accrediting Commission.
In 2000 the Greens returned to Ithaca, moving into Longview. They were delighted to rekindle friendships with fellow residents Evan Bollinger '41 and their onetime teacher Craig McHenry '30, M.M. '46, and his wife, Frances Alexander Henry '34 (both McHenrys have since passed away).
The Greens are retired but always busy: Ed is president of the Longview Independent Residents' Council, is involved with a men's group, and was instrumental in raising funds for the community's new 14-passenger, wheelchair-accessible van. And he presides over a Wednesday night music hour -- a perfect task for someone whose life has always been filled with music. Meg is working on her third quilt. They are both enthusiastic about the partnership between Longview and Ithaca College, a relationship that sends students from the Gerontology Institute and other programs to work with Longview residents. "My thesis," says Ed," is that having those young people over here prolongs the lives of senior citizens. I've done some research, and this relationship is unique -- you can't find it anywhere else."
Both Greens participate in the Senior-to-Senior Project between Longview and IC. Ed's current student partner, physical therapy major Joy Bostrom '05, is helping him with computer matters and researching ideas for presentations to the Longview men's group. He is helping her with music. Meg has an equally satisfying partnership with physical therapy major Lauren Calabrese '05. "I'm making albums for our kids," Meg says, "that include family genealogy back to the Revolutionary War. Lauren is an artist; she's helping me with the design. She enjoys this relationship, too. She gets a kick out of hearing my stories and seeing pictures of me as a kid in my high-button shoes."
A love of music drew Meg and Ed Green to one another as students, and it continues to be a joy they share. "We go to all the concerts, plays, and operas at the College that we can," says Ed. "The performances are absolute perfection." Sixty-two years after they graduated, the Greens are still artists and teachers, and still participants in the Ithaca College community of learners -- a testament to their love of life and of learning, and a credit to their alma mater.