Sunday, April 22, 2007
The Ludlow Junior High Marching Panthers.
we have established my affection for wacky sounds and experimentation.
just this morning I caught myself mindlessly tapping out sounds
in the steel sink in our kitchen.
but just how far back does this affliction go?
during my junior high school grades 6, 7, and 8 my family lived at 33 Kenner Street in Ludlow, Kentucky. for the second time in our lives we inhabited the second floor of my grandmother's house.
grandma beckett. she was a strong person with a gentle nature. her life revolved around God and our family. she was a sunday school teacher very active in the church we attended and a very pious woman, but she allowed for humor and human fallibility. she loved her kitchen and her flower gardening.
during part of this period of my life my mother was impounded in a tuberculosis sanitarium for two years. my father worked two jobs to offset the costs. it was a dark time in the life of a 12-year old. I was not allowed in the sanitarium and could only shout and wave to my mother in her third floor room when we visited every sunday. grandma beckett took care of me for those two years. alongside my mother and father she was the most important person in my life.
when we first moved there, at age 10, I joined the Ludlow Junior High Marching Band. I played drums. such a great thrill it was to march in parades or to the football games at the stadium. our school colors were red and black. the Ludlow Panthers. it helped fill the hole in my life.
I met my best friend Kenny Nevels on the school lot in the sixth grade during a snowball fight. he is still my best friend. back then we were inseparable: either he was staying at my house or I at his. kenny was also in the school band, playing french horn. the school band was the center of my life. my aspiration was to grow up to be a band director who could teach everyone how to play all the instruments. but meanwhile I was busy practicing my paradiddles and cadences with the ever-present pair of sticks stuck in my back pocket. boy, I was cool.
my bedroom which I shared with my younger brother Tim was right above grandma's beloved kitchen. I had decided I needed a "faux" drum kit to practice on. in the corner beside my bed I wore down three distinct sounding patches in the linoleum. I pretended they were my kit. I practiced myself silly on those patches. what a racket it must have made for my poor grandmother to endure.
but she never said a word.