“What?!? Time to get up already?”

Having seen her for the first time last night — or so I had thought, I could barely remember having marched back to the dormitory.

“Get up Jackie”, my roommate screamed, “We have to line up!”

We had to get up very early everyday in order to line up for breakfast — yes, we marched to breakfast with clicks. After breakfast we would march back to the dormitories where we had just a short few minutes to gather our instruments before lining up again for the morning practice. You get the idea? We marched everywhere we went. So again it was back to that smelly ol’ marching trombone and another what seemed like a 2 mile march to the practice field.

All morning long we practiced marching drills, learning our show routine, and memorizing our first song.  “Three Lines!” was the bane of our existence.

“Band! Parade Formation!”

It was finally lunch time and hopefully my first time to speak to her. I was a nervous wreck. I was just a stuttering 15 year old chubby kid who had always been awkward around other people.  What would I say? How would she react? Would she even give me the time of day? Thousands of thoughts went through my mind as we marched to the cafeteria.

I have to stay focused because I am on the front line for all to see.

Left – Right. Left – Right.
Click – Click. Click – Click.

“Hi, my name is Jackie”
“Hi, my name is Tammy”

We talked during lunch and I honestly cannot remember what we talked about because all I can remember was her eyes.  I did find out that we were from rival schools and that our parents knew each other.

“I think that is Richard and Brenda’s daughter”, my dad said while we were watching Clendenin Junior High’s band perform at the East Bank Band Competition. My mother chimed in “Yes, Tammy is her name I think”.

I was a freshman at Elkview Junior High and we were watching our rivals, the Clendenin Junior High Cardinals Band perform their show. Tammy was a majorette that year for Clendenin but I was more interested in beating Clendenin rather then knowing who this Tammy was.

Lining up again to march back to the dorm room and I literally felt like I was in heaven. Did I stutter? Will she want to hang out with me again?

The rest of the week ended up being almost exactly as I had been told. The weather was miserable and the days were extremely long. Oh! And did I mention the marching? My legs were like jelly. I was also not told about the heat rash; the horrible heat rash that only large mammals like myself are susceptible too. Nobody had told me about the heat rash!

What made the experience even remotely tolerable was Tammy. We quickly became friends and hung out together with other newly made friends during meal times and some of our free times. My junior high years had been a complete mess. I had been picked on and called names almost restlessly. I had been laughed at behind my back because of my quirkiness. But I was far to bashful to even try to take it any further so good friends would have to do for now.  Was this my chance to finally fit in?

Finally the day arrived when my family would come to pick me up. Having never been away from home without them, I was extremely excited to go home — though in my mind I had to figure out how to keep this friendship going.

What a week! Time to pack up and go home. I had made some new friends and I was able to distance myself from others who had caused me grief in junior high. More importantly I had met Tammy.

“Did you make any new friends, Jackie?”
“Yes mom, I met Tammy”, I said with a bashful grin.


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