my thoughts have been all over the place today, so this may meander a bit.
i wasn’t popular in high school, but i wasn’t unpopular either. i managed to fit into all worlds. i was studious, but witty and sarcastic. i was in the band, choir, and involved with the theatre department. but i was also an athlete, and as the number one tennis player in the conference (3 years soph-senior won conference tournament) it wasn’t that i just went out for a sport. i didn’t drink (i actually held up my athletic oath), but i liked to have a good time. i was generally always nice and caring to other people and listened well. and, i seldom hung out with people in my class. our high school was 10-12, and as a sophomore, i hung out with mostly seniors, and as a junior and senior i hung out with people in the class below mine. i didn’t really have a best friend, but 5-6 better than most friends. and there were those rarer people that i’d been closer to in junior high that i would have liked to have been better friends with, but some of them had for whatever reasons (sometimes the division of schools) discovered other “better” friends that they were inseparable from. one of these would be tracy lovett, who was probably the smartest and most talented person in town. i think the first time i watched mtv was with her. great artist, exceptionally bright, first chair flute, and a fantastic voice. we were both teachers’ kids so we knew the trials and tribulations that went with that and could commiserate. today she does exceptional photography and drawings/paintings and her facebook posts are very poignant. being an accompanist also had its perks, as there were a lot of people that might not have really given me the time of day, but i served a purpose, and then they would realize i was pretty fun to hang around…and i was constantly busy, which doesn’t make for hanging out a lot with anyone. when not in school or school activities, i was often babysitting (i chose to babysit over being a prom server). one of my best friends my own age was george, who took over lead trumpet when i got my braces on) and was my mixed doubles partner for most tournaments after jeff hookham graduated. george was a theatre tech major at nw, so it was nice to have him around for most of college.
college wasn’t much different. i had tennis friends (even bailed one out of jail), music friends, and presidential scholar friends. and second semester when i moved to a different dorm, there were older students who stayed in the dorm all weekend, and we would have dorm parties. the music department had lots of cliques, but again, for the most part i could float in and out easily (not fond of bullies such as rick henkel and tim evans. tim apparently grew out of this a bit. rick i didn’t keep up with to find out). and again, being an accompanist served its purpose in letting people at least get to know me. sn-everytime i have taken the meyers-briggs i come up enfj…..but i am very close to the middle of introvert/extrovert. i don’t really like to be the center of attention but i want to be around people i like and respect all the time…i don’t like being alone. if i am comfortable in a group and in the right mood, i will be a little more outgoing to annoying…but if i am with a lot of strangers, i am very quiet. sometimes i force myself to be social with strangers, mostly if i think i will never see them again.
even though i was playing for all the choirs as a freshman and a ton of lessons, i felt like my talent was subversive to everyone else’s. i hadn’t been recruited for the music department. a lot of people already knew each other from camp. accompanists were kinda treated like crap sometimes, expected to jump when people wanted them for extra rehearsals and such….and i was always ready to please. to be the yes man. and, i was again pretty much always in a good mood. in fact i have to say that college was probably the best time of my life. again, extremely busy with a class load of 19-22 hours a semester (including ensembles), tennis practice, 20+ hours of lesson accompaniment, 10 hours of tutoring a week for my academic scholarship….so not a great amount of time to hang out or party, but there was always the lab/hall time in fine arts and the spontaneous atmosphere when the end of day approached. and there was so much talent. my freshman year the most talented vocalist had to be jenny fleming. and i wanted jenny to like me as she just had that air of cool all around her. i remember suggesting a duet for her and georann to sing for tour that i knew probably no one else had music for or might have even heard at that point, and they ended up liking and using my suggestion, and of course i got to rehearse and play for them. not sure that jenny saw me as much more than an annoying freshman, but she would at least give me the time of day. and, she taught me a lot about loyalty. there was this guy in the department who thought he was hot shit….i shall name him jarvis, as that is what he named his cock. and he was giving georann a hard time, and jenny (who from time to time would take shit from other people about herself) laid into him one day and set him straight. i have always tried to be there for my friends, but this taught me that a true friend will also stick up for you when you aren’t around to witness it…and to this day, i will take a lot of crap and still give people a chance, but if you mess with my friends then your chances are over. now jenny is one of my constant facebook friends and i am happy about that. i wish i could hear her sing again…in fact, her duet on spring show my senior year in high school (with polly ketterman) is still one of the best i have ever heard.
and in college i still for the most part hung more with older or younger. maybe it is the competitiveness. i have never really liked that. i had enough of it in sports, and in music it just seems wrong. everyone has such a different voice or style…so why can’t everyone be great? and i know people are vying for solos and parts and such, but sometimes it just turned out to be so mean and hurtful the way people would treat each other. when kara came in as a sophomore, people heard her audition through the door (i was playing) and asked about her when i came out. i said she sounded awesome and seemed nice, but a lot of people had heard “stories” and snubbed her for awhile. in fact, i remember after a regional nats competition not long after that (which she won) telling amy that everyone was wrong and she wasn’t stuck up, didn’t think she was better than everyone else (although she clearly was) and that she should give her a chance. and amy did, and for awhile we were like the 3 amigos, and then suddenly it was amy and kara are best friends and i’m kinda a third wheel. that changed a bit when i moved off campus into a house kara lived in, and now i keep up with kara and our friendship is strong. amy and i occasionally comment on each other’s facebook, but last fall i pissed her off taking a stance with my friend charles about how gay people are treated, and amy, being the firm christian she is (not a liberal christian) got offended. crazy how things change and change again. another incidence with amy…i had set up to student teach in corning as the teacher there was amazing. i had talked to her semesters ahead, it was close enough for me to live at home and commute, and i was excited to work with this strong program that did musicals in the spring as well as contest. amy had relatives in corning (she was from western nebraska) and talked me into letting her have corning instead so she could stay with relatives. i ended up in villisca, which was fine, but the teacher in corning ended up getting sick and amy took over all the duties after about her third week…i hated that the teacher was ill, but would have killed to have had that opportunity. but again, friends come first.
polly ketterman was student teaching or had just graduated right before i entered as a freshman, but she would return as a grad student. her boyfriend (buddy) was not your usual sight around the music department. tattoos, and slick…we hit it off, and i played for polly’s lessons, so on tours and such, for awhile i was polly’s sidekick. one tower choir tour buddy met us at the hotel, and we ended up going to some apartment of one of his friends, and then they left me there alone for awhile…pretty amazing to think back how trusting i was and no questions were asked. i really just gave everyone the benefit of the doubt.
i miss raquetball with ed huenemann. and laughing with tony brown, laura gripp, and chris selby. my drinking habits changed with the introduction of sweet hard liquors….thank you dave ward and mike beckner. crazy times but seriously the best times ever. i sometimes wonder how different our friendships might be if facebook had been around then, and we had kept up better all along.