An Uncapped Pen

September 4, 2008

I Remember . . .

Filed under: Writing Exercises — cindylv @ 5:03 pm
Tags: , , ,

One of my favorite Natalie Goldberg writing exercises is I remember…I don’t remember.  Sunday afternoon I sat with my notebook and began with “It bothers me that I don’t remember the kids I went to school with.  I don’t remember their names, their faces, what we did.  I remember Kricket Rosentreter and her best friend, Kathy Keating.”  I continued for anther twenty minutes, wandering through the hallways recalling my locker partner (Debbie Cates), the co-captain of the drill team (Sue Rawlings) and a few of the flute players in my section (Sue Horton, Mary Walker, Lisa Fleischer), people from bus stops after mine (Keith Favaro, Judy Reynolds, Nancy Means).  

Eventually, I remembered over eighty names and faces, which led to hazy recollections of events. My handwriting flattened out as I whizzed across the page capturing the memories.  Since then, I’ve been inundated with my high school experiences–faces, names, catastrophes, triumphs.  I remember looking out the window of the school bus at the endless rows of corn, the taste of Merkt’s Cheese from Bristol, the crunchy tang of an early season macintosh from Oriole Springs Orchard, worms on the sidewalk after it rained,  the drop of my tummy from the dip in the road just before the cemetery near the school.  The same cemetery where Jenny Siebmann was buried after the accident.  

I remember the accidents, the deaths. Rolf Hachmeister, Marcy Volbrect, Kelly Hennigan. Lisa Fleischer.   I remember the parties, the dances, the half-time shows and my rifle routines and drum cadences.  I still can’t play the piccolo part from Stars and Stripes Forever.  I remember the baritone solo in the first movement of the William Byrd Suite. First Suite in E-Flat and Second Suite in F.  I remember the first movement of Suite Francais and the tricky run of 16th notes at two measures before 53.  Festivo.  Bolero. Pictures at an Exhibition.  The goofy guys in the trombone section, Jamie Novak and Mickey Paasch.  The sound of emptying spit valves. The smell of valve oil.  I remember the sharp edge on the tab of my band locker where I scraped my thumb and left a scar.

I remember drinking tequila with Laurie and Sue just minutes before drill team practice where we worked on our can-can routine.  Sue got sick and had to go home early.  I remember being 5’9″ tall and weighing 140 pounds and being convinced that I was hideously fat.

I remember making cinnamon rolls in Home Ec and abandoning that ugly dress with the complicated darts and impossible zipper.  Driver’s Ed with Mr. Anderson and navigating the mystery of one-way streets in Burlington.  French Onion soup in the hole-in-the-wall restaurant on Main Street.

I remember being afraid to graduate and move away from home.  I remember driving off with my recruiter, heading to Milwaukee to catch a plane to St. Louis.  I remember the Hare Krisnas in the airport with their orange robes and bald heads, singing and clapping.

More grist.  Thanks again,  Natalie.



  1. I used to know a Sue Horton, but after a data base search, I see there might be more then one out there. Nice seeing snipets of your life, Cindy.

    Comment by angel — September 4, 2008 @ 6:01 pm | Reply

  2. Thanks, Angel. I feel like I finally cranked open the rusty spigot and now I can’t shut it off. BTW, my Sue Horton didn’t like me very much. The tequila incident might have been a teensy bit of revenge for some perceived slight. LOL!

    Comment by cindylv — September 4, 2008 @ 6:12 pm | Reply

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