Band Camp ended on a high note – no pun intended. I had made some new friends, which I sorely needed at the time, but more importantly I had met Tammy. During the ride home I could not get her off my mind. I had fallen into the classic puppy love syndrome and that syndrome was in full effect. After finally arriving at my house and unloading everything into my room I had a few moments to reflect on the week. I was very tired and just wanted to sleep for a week; however band camp was just the beginning of my experience as a Marching Husky. I had three more weeks of summer band facing me before the school year would begin. Unlike most incoming sophomores in 1988, I was already a Herbert Hoover Husky with still three weeks to go before school would official start.

Practice began on Monday morning — bright and early — with the familiar “Three Lines!” command from the band director. This meant that we lined up as quickly as possible in three lines across the “practice field” which was essentially a small grass lot beside the band room. I use the term ‘grass’ very lightly here as there were several bare dirt patches on our practice field. We did have some lines painted on the grass but most of them were faded and difficult to see.

“Forward 8”
“Right Turn”
“Left Turn”
“About Face”
“Forward 8”

I must stay focused. I do not want to fall out now. I’ve come this far and conquered band camp and I was finally starting to come out of my shell a little. As I followed the commands I tried to see if there was some pattern to this madness. “Don’t like your knees!” someone shouted just as I saw in my peripheral another sophomore stumble out of the same line I was on. Three Lines has been the bane of my existence and today was no different than the previous week at band camp. “Did someone sign me up for the military?”

After our morning practice we were given a break to grab some lunch before the afternoon indoor breakout sectionals. My mom packed my lunch which at that time was most likely a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a small 25 cent bag of Doritos — my favorite now and as a kid. My father worked hard everyday to provide for us and my mom was a stay-at-home mom — she ruled the house. My parents had us in church every Sunday and Wednesday. We were also at the church every Thursday for choir practice whether we were signing in the choir or not. The old saying, “every time the doors were open” was the truth in our house. We had very little but we had been taught to appreciate what we did have and to never take that for granted. What I do distinctly remember though was the Lemon-Lime Gatorade.  Mom packed two bottles of that stuff in my lunch everyday. I loved it then — I hate it now.

I was still only 15 so I did not have my license. Mom would not allow me to get my license until I was at least 18.  My sisters did not get theirs until they are 18 so I had to wait too. Nearly all of the seniors jumped in their cars and went to Gino’s for lunch but I had been given strict orders from mom. “Do not go off campus!” Those of us without vehicles stayed behind and hung out in the band hallway. This hallway would become my place for the next three years. I essentially lived there.

“Oh! There is Tammy. Wonder if she will catch a ride with a senior to Gino’s”, I thought as I grabbed my Igloo cooler from the band room. “YAY! She is walking this way”.

Tammy sat down next to me in the floor of that hallway every day during summer band. To me everything was right with the world.  The conversations we had were usually very light as we were primarily focused on two things – REST and FOOD! However as the next three weeks progressed, we continued to build on that friendship we had begun in Fairmont at band camp.

“I am really starting to like this girl”, I thought to myself.

Unlike my junior high days, she seemed to be looking past my quirkiness for some reason and I was not use to this feeling. This feeling of self-worth was overwhelming to me but I was still far to timid to take things any further.

Well until April 13th…

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