When I arrived for practice with the Rye Town Community Band last night, I briefly thought I’d entered a time warp.
I couldn’t help but smile at the sets and the costumes neatly laid out in the practice room. (Our ninth-grade version of Greased Lighting was better suited to burn up that quarter mile, though … just sayin’.)
For a few moments, I wondered if I could reprise my ninth-grade role as Miss Lynch.
Back then, the school was a bona fide junior high, and between band, chorus, school plays and school assemblies I likely spent more time in that auditorium than I did in the living room of my childhood home.
An early bloomer with middling vocal skills and barely passable acting chops, I was the go-to for small, mature woman roles back then, playing Mrs. McAfee in the previous year’s offering, “Bye Bye Birdie” and later serving up a saucy version of Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5” wearing a blonde wig and, yes, wadded-up athletic socks in my bra at the spring talent show.
Anyway. Miss Lynch.
I knew as I crossed the stage last night that I could conjure her again, just as I can still shuffle-step my way through “I’m a Little Teapot“; recite Joyce Kilmer‘s “Trees” (I see my third-grade classmates nodding; they can do it, too); dance my way through the “Ugg a Wugg” song from the summer theater group’s presentation of “Peter Pan“; and play the opening riffs of “British Grenadiers” on the clarinet from memory (now my band mates are nodding).
How lucky I was to have had so much fun growing up.
Grease wasn’t just the word for us as we prepared to embark on high school. It forged a lasting bond among us — even those of us who didn’t remain close friends hug each other an extra beat when we meet up at school reunions.
Driving home from practice, I didn’t flip the radio on. I had a soundtrack already playing in my head.
As I go traveling down life’s highway
Whatever course my fortunes may fortell
I shall not go alone on my way
for thou shall always be with me Rydell