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Dear Diary: May 13, 1987

I am so grateful to have kept my journal from high school. It gives me the opportunity to look back now thirty years later and see just how far I’ve come.

I’ll be the first to admit, a lot of it is rambling on and on about music, girls and homework but sometimes I said some of the most profound things. Not bad for a seventeen year old.

Case in point: This entry from 30 years ago. I was a member of the Concert Choir in high school during my senior year and quite honestly it’s the best memory I have. I loved it so much that when the director of the choir retired from the school district a few years ago and became the director of an adult choir I immediately brushed up on my Bass II vocals and joined without question.

But back to the story: On May 13th, 1987 my high school choir performed its annual Spring Concert. It was a night of firsts and lasts. It would be the first time I ever performed on stage as a guitarist. It would also be the last time I’d be singing with the amazing people I spent nearly thirteen years of my life with.

I still remember standing in the hallway behind the auditorium when it was all over just letting everything sink in. Receiving high-fives and handshakes from kids, excuse me… “Seniors”… many of whom I only knew from yearbook photos and who wanted nothing to do with me during my entire school career. Sadly, the feeling was mutual.

And yet suddenly, a truly amazing thing happened. The ignorance of  high-school “clicks” was gone and everybody (yes, everybody) suddenly became “cool”. I guess it was because we all knew that in less than a month we’d be saying goodbye for the last time.

It was one of the last true moments of greatness in high school and my youth. This is what I wrote the next day:

5/14/87

Dear Diary: Last night was my first time EVER playing to an audience on stage. I was really scared as the moment approached but they, friends comforted me (in more ways than one).

I tried like hell to psyche myself up but it didn’t work until the curtain opened. Then I WANTED it and I really let loose!

Afterwards, the G- string on my guitar broke (3rd string). I was so grateful it didn’t happen during the concert.

I threw picks into the audience and don’t know what became of them. Maybe somebody’s home with it – happy. That’s what I hope. I hope I made people happy.

That’s what music is all about. It’s not money, sex, drugs, long nights – although all of that somehow seems to go with it. Music has one purpose: To make people emotional.

We did that last night.

I laugh when I think about my rock-star mentality that night. I mean, who in their right mind would ever play a menacing black guitar on stage for “Flashdance” and then jump back in to the choir to sing Aus Justi?

I remember there was one thing I was especially excited about as I put pen to paper the next day. I couldn’t wait to write the line “in more ways than one”.

You see, that night was also the first time a boy five months shy of becoming eligible for Selective Service actually received a kiss on the cheek by a female that was not his Mom or Grandmother. Keeping my journal over the course of the year, I would NEVER have gone so far as to write anything about my interaction with girls. Mainly due to my fear of the journal winding up in the wrong hands. But on that day I didn’t care. And as I read this awesome entry again the words on the now tattered yellow pages began to sink in.

Not only did we make great music that night but I think I became more confident in myself as a person.

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About James Wood

Influenced by life, love and the pursuit of the perfect song is what best describes my passion. I’m a closeted classic rock/metal-head from the 80′s who loves to write.

Posted on May 13, 2012, in 1980's, Childhood Memories, Life and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. You are so fortunate to have saved your journals! What a treasure! Thanks for sharing your memories of that night! Loved reading about it….and it brought back a few memories of my own from those glory days in high school! 😉

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