Yesterday was the final walk through of Ellet High School before the wrecking ball arrives. It looked old, and tired, but it was still full of people, joy and so many memories. I graduated from Ellet High School in 1995. I loved high school. I loved MY high school.
I walked through with my best friend since middle school, Mary. I'm so glad we did it together. We may have found an orange permanent marker in the bottom of my purse while we were there and left one last memory on a few of the walls.
We visited the auditorium. While standing on the stage, we bumped into Fran Howell. She was the heart & soul of every musical Ellet did. I was in three, and landed a pretty sweet role as the jester in Once Upon A Mattress my senior year. You guys, I had to sing a solo and dance by myself on the stage... Singing isn't my forte and I forgot the middle of the dance on closing night - but I still look back at that production and the joy fills me up.
We wandered up the stairs to the band room next and I couldn't stop smiling. I was a marching band kid. I was the section leader of the trumpet section, and field commander with another one of my besties, Rhiannon, our senior year. Honestly, band is the reason I loved high school so much. If you were never a band kid, I can't explain it to you. There is a bond that happens in band. You're all in it together and you are friends with everyone - whether you're friends or not! Ask any band kid ever, "Who was your favorite teacher in high school?" - their answer is always going to be "The band director." Mine was Mr. Grom. My 12 year old didn't fall far from this momma's tree, and now that I'm the adult to "this" kid - I'm so sorry Mr. Grom. You are a saint. Thank you for the 9,000 things I can rattle off the top my head that you did to help me grow as a human and for the countless things I can't even recall right now. That band room was my home, my sanctuary. The middle of the second riser was my spot. Just to my right in the front row of that band room is where I would find the back of my future husband's head. Friendships were formed in that room that will last me a lifetime. The room was filled with memories of laughter, hard work and tears. It was filled with memories of David Keen. I miss him. I was sitting in that room when I was called down to the office to be told that my father had passed away. I was in that room when I learned of his best friend's passing as well, Smitty.
Smitty, a.k.a. Dennis Smith, WAS Ellet. I thought of him a lot yesterday as I walked those halls.
We crossed the hall from the band room and said a silent au revoir to Madame Jawyn, then circled down to the English hallway where we spent much time reminiscing about Mrs. Baltrinic and Mr. Redding - two of our other faves.
We came back out front and stood by the tree we planted for our classmate, Todd Seitz, whom we had lost to cancer all those years ago. That is Todd's tree, and soon it will be a baseball field. Todd will get a new tree on the lawn of the new building, but it still made us sad to know the tree we planted while his best friend, Steve Hanes, sang a song he wrote to honor his friend, will be gone.
Oh Ellet High School now to thee, We sing our song of loyalty.... You were old and stinky, but you were ours. Thank you!