Sunday, March 02, 2008

High School

Dear Audrey,

Most of my high school memories are around being in Band. I started Band when I was in 6th Grade, playing the clarinet. At the time, all my friends were doing something, Band or Choir, or sports. Well, I couldn't sing and I kept trying out for the Girl's Volleyball team, but wasn't good enough - so Band was it.

We had Marching Band in the fall and Symphonic Band in the spring. We started Marching Band practice around the first of August. Freshmen went for several hours in the morning for a week - learning to march. And we had rehearsals Monday, Tuesday and Thursday evening during the weeks before school started. We would rehearse music, then we would go out and march. We were what was known as a military style of band, with 6 to 5 stride vs. the 8 to 5 stride of "show bands". The stride was how many steps were in 5 yards, so 6 to 5 meant a 30" stride. For a long time afterward, I had a 30" stride - now it's much shorter. Marching Band was brutal during August because of the heat.

My freshman year, I didn't march at halftime, but was one of the sidelines team. Our job was to make sure the yard markers were up and in the correct spot, and then to help get the larger instruments off the field after the show. We did play in the stands with the band, but there were more people in Band than the director wanted to march with - it had to be symmetrical since we were a military style band, and that meant marching in a block.

For the other 3 years I did march every football game except for one. I sprained my ankle on a Friday and couldn't put any weight on the ankle for 48 hours. The band director wouldn't even let me go to the game since it was a couple of weeks until Marching Contest and he wanted me healthy for that.

My best friends in High School were also in Band. Vicky and I both played clarinet; Audrey started out on clarinet but switched to bassoon in 8th Grade; and Susan played flute and oboe. We roomed together on band trips for all 4 years, we hung out together, and we had a lot of classes together, especially Vicky and I. Vicky and I even shared the same last name, although we weren't related.

I took almost all Accelerated classes in High School. That would be equivalent to AP classes now. I took 4 years of Math - Algebra I and II, Geometry and Analytical Geometry. Unfortunately, my school didn't offer pre-Calculus, which kind of put me at a disadvantage in college, but I loved Math. In fact, I was Who's Who in Math my senior year. It was a toss-up whether I was going to get Math or Science, but since I didn't take Biology II, another guy got that award. I did take Biology I, Chemistry I and II and Physics in High School - and I really loved the Physical Sciences - so much so, I majored in Chemistry in college. I also took 4 years (plus 1 quarter) of Literature and English, 4 years of Social Studies, a year of Spanish (Spanish II because I had 2 years of Spanish in Jr. High), Driver's Ed, Homemaking, Band of course - and I even took a year of PE - even though Marching Band counted for my PE requirement. I wanted to take tennis and that's the only way I could.

Because of the time commitment with Band, I wasn't in as many outside organizations as I had been in my younger life. I had been in Girl Scouts through 7th Grade, I had been in 4H for a year - more for the homemaking activities, I had been in Rainbow Girls and stayed in that my freshman year and maybe my sophomore year. But it was hard with Band being 1 or 2 nights a week, at least during marching season. I was in Future Teachers of America (FTA) in High School. And I did join Explorer Scouts my senior year - it was a medical branch of Explorer Scouts. I was a teacher's aide for 2 years and Office Assistant my senior year. So I kept full schedules all 4 years. I was also active in UMYF and Youth Choir at my church. Part of that involved leading the 8:30 service at church and participating in fundraisers and mission trips during the summers.

Again, because of Band, I didn't have a lot of after school jobs. I worked at the Bookstore at church for a couple hours after work for about a year. I would do data entry at the machine shop where Mom worked every once in a while. And I tutored and babysat. I did work at an pizza place for one summer and part of one school year - until they wanted me to work on a Friday night and I had a football game. I got a job after my senior year working at Dairy Queen, but right after I started there, Daddy was able to get me a job where he worked, doing clerical work. So I worked at Fisk Electric during the week and at Dairy Queen weekends and evenings until I went to college.

One of my high school highlights was being chosen to attend CloseUp my senior year. CloseUp is a week long program in Washington, DC, where students get the opportunity to observe the U.S. government up close (hence the name). I went with 7 or 8 students from my school, but there were over 200 students form the Houston area there at the same time.

I had a steady boyfriend, Rusty Bachtel, my junior and senior years. We started dating right around Halloween. It was nice having a steady - I definitely had a date for prom both years, plus he was in Band as well - so we had that in common as well. We did share several classes. I thought he was really cool and the love of my life - and that lasted until I went away to college and I continued to grow up and he wanted someone to stay at home and raise the children, like his mother. I remember him fondly, but realized with time that he wasn't the one for me.

Audrey, I hope that you are able to look back on your high school years with fondness. I hope you have the friendships and the activities to make it a fun time - not just something to get through until you become an adult.

Aunt Maggie


Mellykat said...

What a wonderful way to pass on your childhood memories to your niece! And you're immortalizing yourself while you're at it - excellent!

What a lovely blog...

Melly :)

Amy Eileen said...

Maggie, you are so good at making these memories come alive. I know I have said this before but Audrey is so lucky to have you in her life. She can learn so much from you.

Amy Eileen said...

You were tagged on my blog!