I have been practicing my horn in No. 1's bedroom again, the room with the antique music cabinet in the corner that has treasure on its shelves. When I need a break from playing, I rifle through the things in the cabinet to see what there is to see.
Just this week I found my report card from the fourth quarter of my seventh grade. I went to Westchester Middle School in Chesterton, Indiana in an era when The Doobie Brothers were huge, Saturday Night Live was brand new but The Partridge Family as on its way out, and the Cold War was raging.
I wasn't a very good student, evidently, and I remember being stress-free about it all. Here are my grades:
Communications: C+, teacher: Mr. Mitchell
Mathematics: C, teacher: Miss Moseley was a formidable woman with wings for upper arms, and she flapped like a pelican when she wrote equations on the chalk board)
Science: C, teacher: Mr. Wilson
Social Studies: B, teacher: Mrs. Bol. Her husband Mr. Bol had been my 4th grade teacher, and they both were a little stern.
Spanish: B+, teacher: Mrs. Ellis. She was the most Bohemian person I knew, and I loved her class.
Band: A, teacher: Mr. Gordan. Not only did I get an A because I was a darn good little trumpet player for my age, but I got a comment—"fine work from a fine girl." If only the other teachers could have seen that. If they'd let me play my trumpet in their class rooms, I might have done better.
About the time my shabby report card was being sent to my unsuspecting parents, Leroy Anderson died. If you've ever played Sleigh Ride, you'll know why that's significant. David Beckham was born, and the country was reeling from the recent end of the Vietnam War. Bill Gates founded Microsoft, and Nixon's aides convicted in the Watergate scandal were being sent to prison. None of this meant a thing to me at the time. I was a just kid going to school during the day and watching Welcome Back Kotter at night.
This is me in the seventh grade. My mother made the dress out of a spongy kind of double knit and decorated it with shiny plastic buttons. The scar on my cheek was left over from a rotten kid down the street who clawed me at least a year before.