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Photographs are fromt eh Ball State University Singers’ rehearsal, Thursday, January 10, 2006.

Friday morning, I was officially up at 5:45am – having gone to bed at 1:30am (with a few unscheduled wake-ups). Jose and I left for the dentist at 7:10am knowing we would be dealing with morning commuters – well, there seemed to be no one else out at that time of the morning. We arrived at the dentist by 7:25am for his 8:00am appointment. We drove around the National Cemetery at the Veteran’s Association – a miniature Arlington Cemetery, which was absolutely beautiful as the sun was rising. We were perched high on the upper west side of the valley and could see downtown Dayton and its suburbs waking.

We arrived at the dentist at 7:50am only to be told the dentist was ill. We rescheduled for Monday morning.

By 10:00am Jose and I were on the road to Indiana. Since I will give the boys a free day each semester, providing they have worked hard at school, this was Jose’s free day. We stopped by the library to get some DVD’s for him to watch to and from Indiana, and by 11:45am we had reached our destination of Elwood, Indiana. We first went to the high school to see Paula Simmons, my junior high and high school band and choral director. We agreed to meet at Dunnichay Funeral Home at 3:45pm. I also had a chance to catch up with one of my favorite secretaries at the high school, Kandie Courtney.

We picked Mother up from the police department and went to Wolff’s Restaurant for lunch. I had not been there in years. The neighbors directly behind us on Main Street were the owners of the restaurant, and although the establishment has changed hands a number of times, the food is still as I remember it – breaded tenderloins which hang off the side of the plate, the best roast beef Manhattan in the state (some how this has been documented). We drove Mother back to the police department and went to visit my sister, Dena, at the Chamber of Commerce. Before heading to Mother’s to change clothes we stopped by Edgewood Elementary School to visit my fourth grade teacher, Diana Lane, who has been a family friend for years.Mrs. Lane was, without a doubt, one of the key people who instilled in me a love for literature. I can remember her reading to us Old Yeller, From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, The Mystery of Assateague and The Mystery of Chincoteague. I can still remember her vocal inflections as she read dialogue from the younger brother, Arliss, who adopted the mangy mongrul, Old Yeller. In 1999, when I took my three week adventure down the east coast, I made a special little jaunt to visit the island of Assateague. Mrs. Lane is still a wonderful lady with tons of energy and dedication to her work.

At 3:45pm, Jose and I arrived at Dunnichay Funeral Home and met up with Paula. In the door walked one of my best friends from high school, Anne Morgan, and her younger brother, Mark, who still lives in the area. Anne has not changed much at all, and her quick wit has not been lost. Another friend and neighbor from all my school years, Angie Knotts Phenis, was also there, and before leaving at 6:00pm, Stehpanie Grimes Hoel arrived. As we all stood there chatting with Paula, it amazed me how the years of 1977-1983 had really not been all that long ago. Although we had each embarked down a variety of wonderful paths, we all seemed to return to the core of what made us such good friends for many years. I had known Angie and her brother,Brad, since 1970, Stephanie since 1974, Susan and Cathy Fettig since 1977, and most of the others since junior high. Despite the fact we we there to be with Susan, whose son, Adam, died from leukemia a week shy of his 13th birthday, it was a very nice moment to reconnect with many old friends from my years as in Elwood.

Jose and I hurried to Ball State in time for the rehearsal, and had a blast. Jeff Carter introduced me to the cast, many of whom I had already met, as “one of our key alumni.” I guess I never considered myself in that role, but I am still quite dedicated to the ensemble which shaped me even more after my years in Elwood. I was so fortunate to have such a fantastic education, surrounded by some of the very best teachers any child could have!

I took a number of photographs of the rehearsal; met a colleague, Jim Helton (piano); chatted with some of the singers and staff; walked around the school of music (I have yet to visit the new building across the street); and then went to a late dinner at Applebees with Jeff, AJ, and the Singers’ accompanist, Josh Stierling. Again, we had a great time chatting and laughing until it was time to return to Dayton. We arrived in Kettering at midnight. Jose hurried off to bed and I downloaded all my photos, labeled them and arranged them so they are now ready for viewing.

Despite the trip to visit a former friend who had lost a son, the day was rich with friends, and remembering a ton of wonderful things that have shaped me into the person I am today.

I love this photo – Jeff’s son, AJ, in his dad’s rehearsal! Hmmm…

For more photographs of this rehearsal, please visit my Yahoo webpage and go to photos.

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