While Michael Jackson will be remembered as the “King of Pop” to millions, few people will recall Jackson’s early school days as well as Felicia Childress, his Garrett Elementary kindergarten teacher in Gary, Ind. Childress recounted some of her fond memories of Jackson’s youth in an ABC 7 News video.
The 92-year old teacher said that she remembers Jackson as a happy kindergartener who—presaging his later life— was often the center of attention in the classroom.
She also noted that young Jackson had a slight speech impediment, common among many children.
“Michael had this stammer, but when he sang he would not miss a note and his pitch was perfect. He must have had an excellent ear because his little voice was just right on tune,” Childress said.
Childress said that, unlike other people in Jackson’s life, as his teacher, she was sad when he reached super-stardom because she thought he missed out on important developmental stages of his childhood.
“He didn’t have time to be a child. He just had to leave all of that behind and go to the serious part of life. That really bothered me because I felt that that’s the way you learn about your relationships—[it’s] how you play,” she recalled.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Web Watch blog.