In 1965, a student had to be in the 4th grade to be in band or orchestra. I had always wanted to play an instrument but I didn’t think I would ever get the chance to. My sister Mary, who was 4 years older than me, had tried to play the violin, but she lost interest within the first month. My mother had insisted that my Dad buy her the instrument instead of renting it before she started class so this cause problems in the home.
When it was my time to take band, I had decided I wanted to play drums. During the summer before I started 4th grade I began hinting about playing an instrument. The first response was from my mother who said I couldn’t be in band or orchestra because Mary didn’t like it and neither would I. I was hurt but determined. I went to my Dad, and he seemed fine with it, at least until I mentioned playing the drums. He told me “No daughter if mine is going to sit with her legs around a drum!” Granted back in those days, girls were not allowed to where pants or shorts to school. So I asked if I could play another instrument. He agreed and I was thrilled.
Since there wasn’t any internet then, there were encyclopedias and I spent hours reading about the different types of instruments I could choose from. Within a week I had decided on the saxophone. There was a couple who lived a few houses down from us who had moved to Tucson from my hometown of Lexington, Missouri a few months before we made the move. I don’t think I ever knew the husbands real first name because everyone called him “Fuzz”. He played the clarinet, and he offered to let me try it so I could learn to blow into the reed the proper way. By the time the school year began, thanks to Fuzz, not only could I play simple notes and had the fingering down, I also got a jump on learning to read music.
The Friday after school started my Dad took me to the Chicago Music Store in downtown Tucson. Even though my parents had fought about it for months, and I was physically threatened by my sister, I was still so excited. The excitement was short- lived because the salesman immediately told my Dad I was too small to play the saxophone. He then suggested that I try playing the clarinet! It was meant to be.
I learned to love the clarinet and I played it until I had to dropout of High School. However, about 3 years later I was able to play it in the La Fiesta de los Vaqueros Parade. Every year there was a week-long celebration that led up to the annual Rodeo. The parade was a two and a half mile route through the streets of downtown proceeding south towards the fair grounds. It was exciting and exhausting. This was the last time I played the clarinet.
I did, at the age of 30, finally learn how to play the drums and played in several bands. I guess I never really abandoned that dream!
I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have written two books “Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time” and “Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip”, both available on Amazon. You can also connect with me on Facebook and Twitter @VHughesAuthor.