I floated through sixth grade in a sea of lust as pure and intense as a cloudless sky. Hannah Barth, Ann Russell, Sharon Townsend, and Libby Lee had blossomed over the summer. They flirted with the older guys---seventh and eighth graders. I had no chance. I joined the Drum and Bugle Corps.
I have difficulty doing two things at once, but The Corps was short-handed. The band teacher, in a burst of optimism, made me the bass drummer. I was big enough, and even I, with practice, could march and go boom, boom, boom, boom. There was a small tear in the drum. The tape that covered it lifted with every boom.
On the day of the parade, we strutted down the avenue in Kingston, playing patriotic marches, stopping for the baton twirlers to do daring spangly catches. As we approached the judges, we went smartly into the march from Aida. We won. A great day. I hung up my sticks, feeling lucky to have gotten through. I didnt have a date, but I hadnt made an ass of myself. It had been an honorable music career.
At sunrise on my sixtieth birthday, I pulled a box from beneath the bed where Eleanor had hidden it, forbidding me to look before the appointed moment. Inside the wrapping was a portable Yamaha keyboard! Pablo Casals began each morning by playing a Bach cello suite. What a way to wake up … Id said once to Eleanor. She gave me a two page score: Bachs Prelude No. 1 from The Well-Tempered Clavier.
(from: Bach Prelude #1)
John Moncure Wetterau