It’s official. We survived Pre-K! I wasn’t so sure for a while there. Along with the ABC’s, came the double ear infections and other viral nightmares. With the end of my five-year old’s first school year, begins a new tradition that he won’t find out about until 2030, presumably when he graduates from high school. My mission: to collect messages from his teachers for the next 13 years, inside of one of Dr. Seuss’ most famous books.
Across town, another chapter closed for a school community. As I approached with my camera, I didn’t feel like being there. It was my responsibility to document the last bell ringing – and take photos at a reception with teachers from decades ago. All I could think about was the bullying I endured, and the fighting that I witnessed for one year in the early 90’s. I wondered how I got there on the day that the school was closing, for good.
There were black and white photos lining the school’s concrete walls, and silver balloons floating in its empty hallways. The students were gone, but the memories were still there. A newspaper reporter was interviewing a white-haired man with a familiar face. I knew him, but was left wondering how. He was standing next to four students playing brass instruments.
Then it hit me, like the high pitch of a rookie musician. The white-haired man was responsible for beginning my musical career. I had always attributed my success to my high school band director, but it was this man instead. He made me first-chair clarinet, at a time in which I didn’t have confidence in myself.
If it weren’t for him, I may not have played at the Lincoln Memorial, half-time at the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans two years in a row, or become a Marching Chief at Florida State University.
My sixth grade band class was a shining light during a dark time, and it took me more than 20 years to remember.
You never know where life is going to take you. That’s why I bought the book. It’s a place for my son’s favorite teachers to remind him of special moments in his life. Just in time for him to leave the nest. Only 13 more years.
“So be sure when you step, Step with care and great tact. And remember that life’s A Great Balancing Act. And will you succeed? Yes! You will indeed! (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed) Kid, you’ll move mountains.” –Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go