Thursday, May 23, 2013

You Can Go Back

There were two reasons for my trip to the D.C. area last weekend.
My youngest brother, Chip (Peter) graduated from George Mason University in marketing.  My parents and siblings were all able to make the trip out for the big occasion and it was wonderful and I'll post more about this later.
The other reason was my high school, W.T. Woodson, had a 50th anniversary alumni band reunion.  Oh, it was such fun!
I have many pictures and many thoughts and memories I want to record and share, but to be honest I am feeling somewhat overwhelmed to think of needing to organize myself fully before getting it all down.  So I'm not going to organize myself too much.  I'm just going to begin.
And please keep in mind that I took all these pictures with my phone and they aren't very good and I feel quite badly about that.
 Okay, here's what you need to know.  In January of 1993 my family moved from the Monterey, CA area to the D.C. area.  My family settled in Fairfax, VA and I began my time at W.T.Woodson High School in the middle of my sophomore year.  I had been somewhat of a hotshot in my old band in CA, but I VERY quickly realized I was way out of my league in my new band program.  My new band director, Mr. John E. Casagrande miraculously put me in the top symphonic band having never heard me play.  I began frantic home practice like I'd never known before.  I guess it paid off.  By the time of my senior year I auditioned for and got the position of drum major for our marching band.  I loved everything about high school band.  "Mr. C." had such a positive impact in my life and I am forever grateful.  It makes me so happy to get a Christmas card from him each year.  He has told us we can call him "John" now, but NO WAY!  This man gets nothing but the utmost respect from me for the rest of my days.
And here's the other thing.  I had the most fantastic group of band friends for those 2 1/2 years that I lived in Fairfax.  Oh, they were wonderful.  We three ladies were as clean and pure as the driven snow.  The boys were perhaps a little more trouble, but in their own words today, "We couldn't get too crazy because we liked you girls and we cared what you thought of us."

For our junior year homecoming dance the six of us decided that we'd all go together and we'd draw numbers to determine who was whose date.  It worked out perfectly.  We're holding up the numbers we drew. 
After the concert Saturday night we had a meet and greet time in the cafeteria.  It was so good to see my friends' parents as well.  They were so supportive of all of us in high school and we thought of them as parents to us all.
If you are very observant you may have noticed my brother, Matt in the plaid shirt.  My whole family came to the concert and Matt played the Tuba for a little while at Woodson as well.

As far as the concert, I may or may not have had any business being up there on the stage.  I certainly enjoyed myself, but I may not have been worthy of my fellow alumni band members.  Many of them have continued to play regularly and several of the 80 or so participants are professional musicians or teachers.  And while I do teach my share of beginning/intermediate piano lessons each week, I don't think I was quite up to snuff.  Even still, I played my trombone heart out on those songs thinking it might be the last the time I play my trombone like that.
I can't say enough good things about how enjoyable it was to sit for hours and hours and catch up with these old friends.  I know it is not uncommon for high school friends to lose touch and then not have much in common many years later.  And truthfully, some of us don't have too terribly much in common anymore.  But there is still such a feeling of friendship and goodwill and loyalty for the great times we shared.  Perhaps that sounds kind of cheesy, but I think there is a lot of comfort in knowing that people who knew you when you were younger (and a lot sillier) still find your company worthwhile.
This is a bad picture of an old picture in a scrapbook, but do you see me?  I'm standing on the blue box with the red cape over one shoulder. 
Oh, good band times.  
You want to know something that makes me really happy?
Elinor is taking up my trombone and will be doing a summer band program at a local music store this summer.  Ahhh, it is music to my ears.  
Well, it not really music to my ears yet.  In fact it sounds pretty bad.  But it will eventually be music to my ears.  And I figure someone way back when had to listen to me when I first started.  She is giddy with excitement and she played Mary Had a Little Lamb today.  How fun for us both!


Abe Fox said...

I am so HAPPY you could do this Bets!!!!

Abe Fox said...

I am so HAPPY you could do this Bets!!!!

Schramm Family said...

Ahh... band days. I was in color guard. Gotta love those days. :)

Amy F. said...

How fun! We went in September to Gig Harbor and I got to spend time with old friends. It is sure fun to revel in nostalgia once and a while!

christini yogini said...

Betsy, what a wonderful trip! So glad you got the chance to go, & thank you for sharing the fun through your blog!!