As far back as I can remember, I wanted to sing. To be a singer, Aretha, Diana, Donna, Annie, Carole....... all the way back. I wanted to sing. And I could sing. I was good at it. Everyone said so. I fantasized about being Donna Summer.
At Christmas time in elementary school, the high school choir would come and sing for us every year. They would start the concert with The Carol of the Bells and finish with O Holy Night. Every year, two senior students would be picked, a male and female to sing the first and second verse of O Holy Night. Back in Kindergarten, I wanted to be in the HS choir. I wanted to be the senior soloist. I fantasized about being the senior soloist.
Mr C was the choir director. He was oldish and greyish and funny, and silly and just the kind of guy that you KNEW inspired kids to sing and to love music. By 8th grade, I was hooked and ready to go to high school and be part of the choir. Ninth grade brought about some difficulties. The band and choir turned out to be extremely clichey. My two best friends joined band and started dating a couple of Junior band boys. The boys didn't like me (part of "the first megan" story, someday folks, someday,) and we (my best friends and I) grew apart. I continued hanging out with the kids who I'd always hung out with. Call them burnouts, call them greasers, call them whatever you want, they accepted me when others didn't. Freshman year, I tried out for, and got into choir. I never really belonged there, other than the fact that I sang well, loved to sing. The point is, I never FELT like I belonged there. Lots of other stoopit shit was going on though, and choir was, at times not a great place to be for me.
By senior year I really wasn't hanging out with people IN High School any more. Most of the stoopit stuff had died down. When I was in school, I smoked pot and spent time with burnouts, but when I wasn't there, I had a boyfriend who was older, and (see the other Megan journal) and I had Megan. I didnt try out for the senior soloist though. By that point, I realized that band and choir were politically driven, and that the senior soloist were even more so. More disillusionment Mr. C's class was an easy one to cut, and I did cut from time to time to hang out with my burnout friends, to smoke pot. Bandies cut choir too. They cut, everyone cut. It was an easy class to cut.
While singing in the elementary schools senior year, I was standing in front of Sean P and Rob B. We were goofing off. One of them made me giggle. We all giggled. Mr. C looked right at me and said "why don't you go back to your friends." Those 8 words hit me in the pit of my stomach. Everyone in choir heard them. I heard them. I can still hear them today.
Crushing. It was crushing.
That weekend I wrote Mr. C a letter. I still have the first copy of it, somewhere in with my old journals. I wrote something about always wanting to sing in his choir, I wrote some other things about never having been accepted by his band and his choir..... Honestly, I only really remember one line of it I wrote "I'm not in choir for friends Mr. C, I'm in choir because I love to sing." I remember clearly, putting that note in his mailbox in the main office. The office I'd spent a good amount of time in, getting in trouble, waiting to get in more trouble.... My heart was pounding when I put that letter in his box. I'd never done anything like it before. I had NO idea what would happen once he read it.
Less than a day later I was walking past the choir room and Mr. C came out. He pulled me into the choir room and hugged me, big, and he whispered "I'm sorry"
Mr. C died this week. There is a facebook page dedicated to him ~ Thank you Mr. C it's called. People are posting how great he was to them, what a saint, how he put them on a great musical course. How he was always there, always chipper, etc etc etc. I'd like to post there, that he's my hero too, because at the age of 50 something, he was able to learn something from a 17 year old burnout, and was man enough to apologize.
Thank you Mr. C.