Copyright is held by the author.
July 14, 1963
Dear Mama and Papa:
I am doing very well with the singing lessons that the sisters are giving me.
We have to go to Mass every morning, and say the rosary twice a day. My room is on the second floor. There are five other girls in my room.
Sister Elizabeth asked me to write and remind you and Pa that the concert will start at 1 p.m. sharp on Saturday, and that there will be tea and refreshments after the performance.
Sister has told us that we are to have our bag packed and be ready to leave with our parents, after the tea. Mine is already partly packed.
I am singing a solo. I am the youngest girl to be picked. I hope that you can all come.
I like it here, but I miss you.
Sister said to explain that the phone lines are still down from the storm. I hope everything is okay at home.
Have the new kittens opened their eyes yet? I have been worrying about them and Susie. Has she had her calf yet?
Tonight, we are having a special dinner with our big sisters. My big sisters name is Linda Brown, her parents live in Bridgetown, so she didn’t have to travel away from home to attend singing camp.
She would have really liked to have come by train like I did. She has never ridden on a train before.
Because this is a special night we will be having cake for dessert. I can’t wait. I hope it’s chocolate.
I have to go now. The gong is sounding for dinner.
Sister Catherine says hello, she helped me to write this letter.
Love your daughter,
She smiled as she placed the well creased letter back on her dressing table. That had been so long ago and she had been so young and tender. Before every new achievement she retrieved it from her jewellery box where it possessed a place of honour. It remained a reminder of how far she had come. An immigrant farm girl who now graced the stages of the world, plying her instrument to adoring audiences. Tonight was going to be very special. Growing up on the farm she had listened to performances from Carnegie Hall on the radio. Soon she would be standing on that very stage, the lights blessing her, and a full house of people expectantly waiting for her to open her mouth and caress them with her voice.
Rosa was stirred from her reverie by the knock on the door. “Five-minute call Miss Busselino.” She did a final check of her make-up and rose to make her way along the dimly lit corridor.
As she approached the circle of light marking centre stage, the audience rose from their seats and cheered. Rosa smiled, and began to sing.