Over the summer, we move from Victor, New York to Buffalo Grove, Illinois. I’ll be attending Adlai E. Stevenson High School in the Fall. I had little desire to leave New York, so my parents let me pick the high school I wanted and they agreed to buy a home in that district. From my first tour, I knew I wanted to be a Stevenson Patriot.
The year begins with Band Camp. For two weeks before classes start, members of the marching band meet to learn halftime routines on a back parking lot painted to resemble a football field. That year we are performing “Birdland” - a song I’ve never heard. I’m told it’s a classic Jazz standard.
In the mornings, we practice our field formations. In the afternoon, we do sectional and group rehearsals inside. Sometimes, the trumpets fill their instruments with water rush into the flute rehearsal space to spray us. Sometimes, we get Popsicles during long outdoor sessions. There’s a general agreement that Band Camp is a burden to be suffered, so I keep my glee to myself. I’ve made friends before the school year started. I would have rehearsed outside for months for that.
My Fall fills with football games. After each game, my friend Allison and I go to Buffalo’s for ice cream sundaes.
I quit Swimming.
Many of my new friends are Jewish. I hear many tales about last year’s Bar and Bat Mitzvahs. I enroll in Conversational Hebrew at the local Jewish Community Center. I begin my four-year journey through all the Holocaust memoirs at Vernon Library.
Music and performance become my life. The band performs at football games, basketball games, and concerts. I volunteer to also perform in a parade welcoming Santa to the nearby Woodfield Mall. We march past Victoria’s Secret and J. Crew playing “Frosty the Snowman” on infinite loop.
In the spring, my friend Jess invites me to her family’s Passover seder. I can read the Hebrew without the transliteration and reward myself with too much Mogen David.
I run Track and continue my half-hearted attempts to be a distance runner.
In late May, just before the end of the school year, I have my first kiss on Scott’s front porch. I run squealing to my mother’s waiting car to tell her the details.
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