Saturday, August 28, 2010

Garage sales are like a box of chocolates...

Not to misquote Forest Gump (but I will): you never know what you're going to find.

While saling this morning, I stopped at a house off of Stanhope (which in turn is off of Mattis Road) in South St. Louis County. What first caught my eye was the stacks and stacks of 50's pulp detective novels (but that's another blog, and sorry Frank, no Robert O. Saber's).

After picking out the books I wanted, I saw a small disarray of record albums. While browsing through them, I saw an album that looked familiar, and not a commercial one. It looked very much like the album our high school band recorded in 1984.

Let me explain -- I played clarinet from 7th through 12th grade. BUT I PLAYED IT IN THE MANLIEST POSSIBLE MANNER! Why clarinet? Because my sister played before me and we already had the instrument. My parents weren't about to risk money on an instrument I was likely to up and quit.

Anyway, so here's the album looking very much like the one we recorded in high school. Looking closer, it was indeed that same album. I flipped it over, and there I am sitting on the bleachers of Oakville High School's gym, proudly outfitted in my marching attire, nestled among numerous girls as I always was:

Not that I was such a big man on campus the girls swarmed me, I just intentionally positioned myself in these situations. That plus the majority of clarinet players were girls, but again...I PLAYED IT IN THE MANLIEST POSSIBLE MANNER!

So I held up the album and said to the host, "I'm on this album." After talking to her, I found that her son was in the Oakville band. I do remember him, the year this album was recorded, he was a Freshman and I was a Junior. He's a forest ranger now, working at Crater Lake in Oregon. She had been a band parent and attended the various trips the band had taken. We talked about the band director, Aurelia Hartenberger who is now the Associate Professor of Music at University of Missouri - St. Louis. I say this like I knew this. No, I just googled her. Her father flew with Jimmy Stewart in World War II. He came to visit her once while I was her student and the significance of that was lost on me at the time. Jimmy Stewart? Oh yeah, old movie star: J-J-J-Jimmy Stewart.

Back to the garage sale. The host mentioned she played the organ at Queen of All Saints in Oakville, which is the church I attended growing up. I asked if she knew Carol Brown, who was our organist, and she said she knew her well. She was actually filling in for Carol who had fallen and broken her shoulder. I knew Carol's son David since kindergarten, but lost track of him after junior high. He had the misfortune of being overweight back when most kids weren't and had the unfortunate nickname, Fat Albert, kids being what they are -- cruel, heartless hellions. The last time I saw him in high school, he had shed all of his weight and was quite lanky.
I bought the pulp novels, but not the album -- I still have mine.

After exchanging "say hello to's" and "goodbye's", I was back on the road headed for the next sale.

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