Tuesday, August 23, 2016 –Band Talk – Eight to Five. Six to Five and Step Off with Your Left Foot or Dear Mr. Ayers.
Dear Mr. Ayers,
After 50 years, please accept my apology for cutting band practice that night and going to the football scrimmage in Montgomery that Friday. Drum Major made me do it! For the other five girls I cannot offer an excuse as why they were crammed into her car that evening.
I also do not know whose bright idea it was for all of us to march in single file and sit on the 50 yard line in the bleachers at the scrimmage – directly in front of Mr. Lyon. Please know, Mr. A. that I have probably repressed which one of us tried to answer Mr. L. when he leaned forward and tapped Drum Major on the shoulder and asked “Aren’t you girls supposed to be at band practice?” I seem to recall the response was “Uhhhh….?” Therefore, it is likely I was the one trying to speak.
Of course, you know that by nine o’clock that evening everybody but me was grounded and expelled from school for two weeks. I wasn’t grounded because Princess’ mother was out of town and would not be back until Sunday. Thank goodness there was no texting at the time. Before Bonanza came on TV on Sunday night she knew the whole story though. We were already in trouble and had not even been to class. School started the next day.
News travelled faster than the time Drum Major made me skip Sunday School and go to Yancy’s Café and drink a co-cola from the fountain with our church money. “We would only be gone about 30 minutes,” she said. Half an hour later at the front door on the steps of the Magnolia Methodist Church watching us return from Yancy’s stood our mothers. This was why we sang in choir. Our mothers could see us.
This is not to be confused with the fact that my father was the treasurer for the church and pretty much knew before the collection plates went up and down the pews exactly how much money would be in the total for each Sunday. He would miss my Methodist 10% tithe and offering.
I don’t know who had the bright idea to reduce the expulsion from school for two weeks to “expelled” from band for two weeks. I am pretty confident it was not you, Mr. A. I was really looking forward to starting school toward the end of September. Wonder who it might have been? Traugh? Burnside? Wax? Michael? Kitty Brown? Mr. Lyon? Check my John Wax math. If there were 120 students in grades 9 through 12 and seven were not present for the first two weeks of school, what is the closest percentage of the high school that would be missing? Hint: 10 school days. I hope you are not waiting for me to figure this out. Remember? Back then, girls did not need to know math or physics. I will choose answer C – almost 16% of the high school would be absent.
Obviously it was Drum Major’s fault that I skipped events when I should have been in attendance. To paraphrase from Young Frankenstein – “It could have been worse. It could have been raining.” Oh wait. It was. It rained the night of the first football game. Magnolia v. Tomball at Magnolia. As if we weren’t being punished enough by parental units and school units, God stopped the light rain just before half-time so the band could march. Drum Major and I sat on the bench side by side in uniform surrounded by the rest on the 50 Yard line so all of Magnolia and Tomball Texas could ask “How come they aren’t marching?”
As I said, you can always tell a Senior, but you cannot tell one much. Thank you teachers. Sometimes you can fix stupid if you are not too ignorant to learn.
Miss Magnolia, 1967
PS – Here is a photo of my clarinet.
It plays much better as a lamp. Please know that within the first six weeks of college at SFA, I discovered I could play something on any instrument with strings in just a matter of weeks. Oh no. How I learned to play guitar is a result of being somewhere I was not supposed to be too. Maybe another time for that story.