Clarinets, Flutes, and Drums {high school band}

Were you in your high school band?  Our marching band went to Washington, D.C. every year for the Cherry Blossom Festival.  That was a big deal.  I was not part of it.  I played the piano.  As I remember it, my mother started me on piano lessons in a year before the school offered instrumental lessons, so I wasn’t allowed to take a second instrument.  I try not to have regrets.  If I had them, this would be one of them.

Summer 1966

Summer 1966

But it was not so to be.  I was not in the band.  I didn’t get to go on long bus trips.  I didn’t have a reason to go to football games.  Can you guess how I felt?  Quite left out.  All of my friends were in the band.  There were two of us who weren’t.  Maybe three.

And in the eighth grade, being in the band meant you were in Mr. I-forget-his-name’s Math class.  If you weren’t in the band, you were in Mrs. Shontell’s class.  Or was it English?  I’m not sure.  What I am sure of is that I got the raw end of the stick, with a quite unpleasant teacher, and none of my friends in the class.  Just Timmy and I.

Now, this might be a form of payback.  Might be.  Because when we were in third grade, before there was band or piano lessons or instrumental lessons, Timmy and I were often caught chattering away at our desks.  This is when we were to be quiet {not sure if it’s like that any more in school}.

Timmy and I went through school together, second through twelfth.  My name was after his in the alphabet, so I was seated behind him in class, and our lockers were next to each other.  We weren’t particularly fond of each other or not.  We both were readers.  He read Science Fiction, I mystery.  And neither of us were in the band.

May 31, 1972  Lebanon, NH

May 31, 1972 Lebanon, NH

Now you would think that I might have worked my way through this injustice by now 🙂  Apparently not.  There’s no one to blame, no way to make amends, no way to rectify the situation.  I could take up a new instrument.  I never have in all these years.  I don’t think it was about the instrument.

I think it was about the social aspect, and sitting in study hall with three Tims (yes, three at the same table) instead of with my girl friends, and the boys in the band, who seemed to be friendlier.  My friends in the band were on the college track too, like Timmy (now called Tim) and I.  We were at the top of our class.  But I didn’t feel like part of them…because I wasn’t in the band.

Scan 156

When my father died, I went to the funeral on Cape Cod.  There were two of his cousins and one brother, one wife (of a cousin)and one daughter (of a cousin), and someone from the lawyer’s office.  Someone had his stuff.  I don’t remember who.  It was in a couple of duffle bags.  I had flown.  Now how about getting this stuff back home with me?

When I managed to get it home {I have no memory of all that}, I found there were many photographs and slides in one of the bags.  Some of them had belonged to his mother, my grandmother.  I am grateful to have received those, as that is all there is of our family, I being the only grandchild.

Scan 158

Many of the pictures were painful memories.  I trashed many of them.  But I saved some of parades.  For some reason my father enjoyed parades.  And it seemed he enjoyed watching the high school marching band, of which I was not a part.  I was always a spectator at the parades.  Memorial Day and the 4th of July.  Every year a spectator.

It’s difficult to write this.  I don’t know where to go with it.  It still hurts.  I don’t know what hurts, or why it still does.  It’s one of those things which need to be put behind.  But for now it will motivate me to write.

Scan 159


4 thoughts on “Clarinets, Flutes, and Drums {high school band}

  1. Cindy says:

    My problem was the exact opposite. I wanted to play the violin but my father wouldn’t let me because violinists weren’t in the band. He wanted me in the band probably because he was in several, playing the trombone. I played the flute and hated being in the band because band kids were made fun of at my school. I eventually dropped out of the band but stayed in the orchestra which wasn’t looked down on as much. I could’ve played the violin in the orchestra but it was too late; I was stuck with the flute.


    • thesilverofhisfining says:

      Wow, I don’t think I knew that. Did you ever think of taking up the violin as an adult? We country kids didn’t have an orchestra. Not surprising that our parents wanted us to do what they had done, eh? 🙂 I love the flute, by the way. Do you still play?


  2. Cindy says:

    No I don’t play any more. Actually, I don’t think I ever really learned to “read” music, but played by ear. This became evident when I taught myself to play a dulcimer about 10 years ago 🙂


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