Falling Out of Step: A High School Marching Band Farewell

Last night I had a dream that my yard and driveway were taken over by a marching band. I can’t explain how it happened and why they chose my little house to park in front of and warm up their instruments by but there they were and they were everywhere; the sounds of the horns and percussion seemed to engulf every room.

I went to my front porch, now fully aware that I was in a dream, and watched transfixed as these high schoolers acted as if it was perfectly natural for the drum line to practice by my tree, the saxophones to tune each other on my sidewalk, the flutes to gossip while sitting on the edge of my porch, their feet dangling and kicking over the precipice. Even the color guard was there, stretching and practicing their throws and catches on the street in block formation.

In the dream I walked through the crowd of kids, feeling very much the adult, and found a surprised parent, I’m not certain why she was surprised, she just was. I asked what school is this? Why are they here? She didn’t answer my question, only asking a little hesitantly if it was okay.

I smiled and said it was great. And then I woke up. Continue reading

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The Top of the Pile: The Found Blog Editorials

Pop culture rules.

I don’t know if that is sad or if it makes logical sense, but whenever I am inspired to write about a current event in the entertainment world, I get numbers that my personal editorials (on parenting or life in general as a thirty-something writing dude) only can dream about… and the fact is social media is a great way to build numbers. Seriously, if I share a piece on Facebook and my numbers find a nice home for the week.

So why does it make me feel all dirty? I mean, it’s not like I am writing about scandals, I wouldn’t even be writing on a topic unless I was inspired to give a unique take, something I didn’t read elsewhere.

The fact is I was raised Catholic so I feel easily guilty about most things. It is my excuse why I can be overwhelmingly overcome by guilt when I forget to even say thank you to someone for the slightest little thing. And here I am writing about something that really doesn’t involve me! And look at all of the people reading my opinion! And what if I write something that might hurt someone’s feelings? Guilt, guilt, guilt.

Here are my top five popular posts. Continue reading

Mlive.com: “We are losing our school with consolidation, but not our identities”

My editorial, “The Fall of the Vikings” (here), has been published via mlive.com!

You can read the article here.

Enjoy!

The ending of a story… the beginning of a new one

All stories come to an end, and this is true for more than just books and movies. The hard fact is that it is also very true for each of the stages in our lives. Yet, I have always believed, a great sign of maturity is the realization and acceptance that such an ending has occurred for oneself. Because, endings happen all of the time, brothers and sisters of Wyoming, yes they do.

Since writing my editorial “The Fall of the Vikings”  (which can be found here) I have heard from a lot of people. (A lot, a lot of people.) And one of the most disappointing things that I have learned over the course of this experience is how many former alumni of both Rogers and Park can’t seem to let go of their past. These fellow alumni are fighting the consolidation, tooth and nail, as if someone is trying to take something away from them in the change. Continue reading

The Fall of the Vikings

Our time in high school haunts us. Some may brush off that idea (maybe pointing to college as more important), but a lot of who we develop into starts during those four years. We figure out things about ourselves then, to put it more simply, and later we fine tune it. Good or bad, that high school version of yourself still exists someplace inside your psyche, no matter how much you wish to deny it. Yes, the pimples are there still, but just under the surface now.

For me, I had a recurring dream that lasted for about five years after I graduated. In that dream, I am always in different locations (college classroom, my evening job, etc.) and my high school band director shows up in full marching band uniform (which is weird since he would never wear a uniform), screaming that there is an emergency and he is calling everyone back.

Recently, I have learned that my old school, Wyoming Park High School in Wyoming, Michigan, was going away. And upon hearing the news, I was flooded with memories around that old building. Remembering the days when I wore blue and white and proudly told kids from other schools that, yes, I was a Viking. Continue reading

The Horrors of High School English

For some reason I cannot explain I have become haunted by the ghosts of English classrooms past. I keep returning in my dreams to bad high school classrooms, once again sitting through a badly organized discussion on a book by a lecturer that couldn’t care less.  The only difference is that in the dream I am now in my thirties, no longer that bright and complaining 17-year old, now my disillusioned older dude self… Oh, and the end of my pants are still rolled up, because that is what you did in 1991 when you wanted to be cool. And frankly, I needed all the help I could get.

Being cool, I mean.

I have always loved books, it is a running theme in my life, but it seemed like as a public school student whenever I was in an environment that should’ve created—I don’t know—a “cocoon of support” let’s say, I was an outsider, with even the teacher wondering what is wrong with this kid. There was no cocoon! If anything it gave others ammunition to ask what is wrong with me? You like this!? Really!? This stuff!?

The fact is that my experience in high school English created in me somewhat a feeling of isolation. Yes, other students got good grades in English classes, but I never felt like they got “it” like I did. They read the assigned Charles Dickens, did they spend the last summer reading six other books by him? No, probably not. I felt like screaming, “These are great stories! Isn’t this better than that crappy Stephen King in your locker?” Continue reading

I Don’t Get Football

For as long as I can remember, I never have understood this whole “football” thing. It’s one of the few things that are traditional “American” that I feel on the outside of (Another is Country music for those taking notes; I don’t get that either). And every year around the Super Bowl I have to pretend.

  • Did I watch it? Yes, of course. (No, I probably didn’t.)
  • Did you see that play? Oh, it was amazing (I don’t even know what teams were playing typically.)
  • And how about that touchdown? I jumped out of my seat when it happened (I can’t remember the last time I have jumped out of my seat. Maybe when I saw Paranormal Activity for the first time? I’m sorry, that got me; there was a demon in the house!).

Whatever the case, it is series of shams and lies I am guilty of; and given the chance I would rather watch an hour of the Puppy Bowl (More than an hour would be too much for anyone’s sanity). Continue reading