Our story begins in August of 1988 where we were both 15 years old. I was very apprehensive considering everything that I had been told about how hard band camp was going to be. I met Tammy at Herbert Hoover High School’s annual band camp that year in Fairmont WV which is about 2 hours away from my home. I am somewhat ashamed to say but this week in August 1988 marked the first time I had ever been away from home without my parents. No sleep-overs ever. Needless to say, I was scared to death.

My parents had scraped together every penny they could to buy me shinny brand new trumpet with a silver finish. I was so proud of that trumpet and was excited to be playing this new trumpet in the marching band and jazz band. The weather was miserable; however I was excited to begin my high school years as this meant that my school years were coming to an end very soon.

Junior High School was horrible for me because I had been picked on nearly everyday. I was hoping that High School would bring new adventures and some new friends — and boy did things change quickly for me.

Within minutes of carrying my stuff to the dorm room, the band director approached me and asked if I would be interested in switching to trombone. Without really thinking, I immediately said “Yes!”.  Looking back, I suspect my parents were not too happy as this new trumpet they had scrapped and sacrificed for would seemingly not be used. Thankfully, the band director said I could still play the trumpet in jazz band so all was well. As a side note, there were other reasons why I was excited to switch from trumpet to trombone.  As I mentioned earlier, Junior High School was horrible for me due to being picked on. The idea of switching instruments and to a different section was intriguing as it afforded me the opportunity to separate myself from those who had treated me badly.

I was handed a school owned brass marching trombone which had a smelly odor and was told that we line-up in 10 minutes.

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