My sophomore year in high school was simply amazing. With an ever increasing self-esteem I was becoming more out going and apparently more fun to be around. I had  friends like I had never had before too. Those who tormented me in junior high had left me alone — or was it that I stopped paying them any attention? Either way my life was getting better and my grades were proof of this as well.  I had gone from a C / D student to an A / B student almost overnight. I had turned sixteen in September of 1988 with little fanfare. Birthdays by this point in my life had become ho-hum but that was OK. We had a cake, yes, but the big celebrations from when I was younger were finally a thing of the past. To be honest I was glad to see those go away. I was never really that interesting of a child and usually kept to myself more often than not. But as I got older, and found that I could make people laugh, I thrived on it. If I could make someone happy then I was happy.

Me and Tammy became even closer friends and I was really excited when I saw that we were signed up for some of the same classes. We had English and US History together and of course band. When not in class we were usually hanging out together in that band hallway with other friends. Life was good.

“Where is Tammy?”, I asked a friend as we were lining up for the 1988 Christmas Parade in Clendenin, WV. We were told that all band functions were mandatory for our grades and this parade, even with its small size, was a very important one. Clendenin is where our high school is located and the community comes out in full force to see it’s festival winning high school marching band.

On that Monday morning after the parade, I asked Tammy what had happened. It was then that I learned her grand-mother had passed away. She said with tears that Nanny had died and that her dad would not let her march in the parade. I felt so horrible for Tammy and honestly had no idea how to comfort her as she broke down in tears even more. We shared this moment together as only friends can do. With my new found self-esteem, I did my best to make her laugh. Seeing her laugh and smile made my day.

April 13th, 1989 and the talent show is tonight! I am going to do it! I am going to ask Tammy if she wants to come watch me play bass with the Scum Sucking Pig Dogs tonight.

“We are playing a Van Halen song.  Want to come and watch?”, I sheepishly asked her.
“What song are you playing”, she asked.
Oh no! She had to ask. I stuttered my reply with, “When It’s Love.” I bet my face is as red as this shirt.
“Oh, ok… but I do not have a way to get here”,
she replied.
“My dad is bringing me. We can pick you up on the way if you want to go.”
she said with smile.

“Did I just ask Tammy out on a date?”

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