Category Archives: C’est la Vie

Letters Reminiscent

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Do you know the song by Brad Paisley, Letter to Me? Essentially, the song is about looking back and writing a letter to your past-self. Offering advice, recalling memories and providing a moment to remember who you were back then.

Class of 201o recieved their letters from the past this last week, from 4 years ago exactly (it was written on June 21, 2006, and today is June 21, 2010). Our reading and Language Arts teacher had  charged us to write a letter to ourselves, to be mailed and opened as our high school careers drew to a close. Lacking time to sit down and think about the letter and what I had written, I had stuck it to the back of the front door (where many important things are amassed beneath a collection of magnets. This evening was the first time I had a spare moment to curl up and read the letter.

First, let me say that I have become a rather prolific letter-writer over the years. I love sending and receiving mail. My eigth grade letter does not testify of that fact. It is rather boring in the way of letters. I would like to think that my skills have improved tenfold in the last four years.

I started my letter out with a blandly awkward ‘hey.’ I remember trying to find a greeting that wasn’t ridiculously formal or childishly presumptious. But, to my credit, there wasn’t any pandering around the ubject of graduation- I merely noted that if I was in fact reading the letter, I had survived: “If I’m reading this it must mean I made it to my senior year.” I recalled the quote, ‘awesome memories’ (our eighth grade Semi-Formal, our Eigth Grade Picnic to High Meadows and our “last ever CMTs”).

Each of the people in my class had a description, and I laughed while reading them. Some still ring true while others have changed dramatically. But the some of the class was “…wow… insane.”

In the last paragraph was advice to myself. I have to admit, it was both embarrassing and highly amusing. Buy the book I had been looking forward to. “And if you aren’t attending Church regularly, GO.” There was also an ultimatum issued, “now that you’ve finished senior year, lets see if you can make it to college.”

As I had opened the envelope, a popsicle stick had fallen out, bearing my name and “2005-2006” on it. I was confused, wracking my brain for whatever was associated with it. Then I read my post-script (I was really into post-scripts back then).

PS- I have enclosed my popsicle stick (AKA the “stick of fate”). The one that made me do the chicken dance.

Immediately, I recalled the recalled the reason for the “stick of fate.” We had used it as a method for picking people to answer questions during Wordly Wise. If you got the answer correct, you went up to the front of the class and drew a slip of paper out of a box. Sometimes you would have to answer a question, other times do jumping jacks, and then there were times when you had to do the chicken dance. It was called “No Peeky-Peeky” for obvious reasons. You weren’t allowed to peek at your card. If you didn’t do whatever the card said, you were to mark a question wrong (or your neighbors). It was always a treat to play the game, there was no end to the laughter in the classroom when we did.

Enclosed with all of our letters was a letter from our teacher. It made me laugh and get a little teary-eyed at the same time. There was a congratulations for surviving high school (and a quip about the teachers surviving us). Also a note that after perusing our eigth grade yearbook, he hopedd we had changed (I know I don’t look like a 12 year old any more!). 

The next parts were what caused me to become teary-eyed. Well wishes for the future and fond remembrances of our classes (I believe that my class was referred to specifically, for good reason!) and a promise to see many of us at our commencement ceremony tomorrow.

Reading the letters brings back some serious memories, some I wish to forget, but the majority I hope to remember for many years to come.

In addition to the letters, I recieved a wonderful gift from my Young Women’s leaders.  They put together a little treasure of a book filled with letters and their testimonies, and the back few pages comprised of excerpts of the testimonies of each of the Latter-day prophets – from Brother Joseph to President Monson. It was absolutely heartwarming to read a message from each of my YW leaders written specifically for me. They shared with me not only their testimonies, but advice and encouragement as well.

I was reminded of the 2010 Mutal Theme, Joshua 1:9 – “Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed; for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” (And I can’t help but hear these words resound through my mind in the gentle voice of Thomas S. Monson)

It is the truth when I say that this is one of the greatest gifts I have ever received. These faithful women have been so loving and have always been a great source of comfort, guidance, and encouragement. This little handmade book is most certainly a treasure.

In the face of graduation tomorrow evening, both the letters and the ribbon-bound book are a great source of comfort and encouragment. I think that sometime this week I will have to write myself a letter to open in another 4 years, and include in it my own testimony.

(I must also find new stationary, because I have many thank-yous to write in the coming weeks. Good stationary is quite hard to find nowadays.)

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Wanting Memories

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It is hard to think that last night was my last performance with our high school Chamber Choir. Out of the fifteen of us, ten of us are seniors. I was excited (and slightly terrified) to see that our concert finale had gathered a full house. It was our director’s last performance (darn retirement!) as well, which made in that much more special.

We started out with Ysaye Barnwell’s Wanting Memories. We have sung several of her compositions, and I think everyone enjoys performing them. Mostly a capella, her compositions combines rhythmic harmonies with sweet floating melodies. Wanting Memories was especially poignant as it was our last performance under W.’s direction. The song is (obviously) about wanting memories of a person who has taught you to “see the beauty in the world through my own eyes.” Harmonies, rhythms and the melody meld beautifully, creating a heart-thrumming song exploring the emotions of remembrance and beauty. The Chamber Choir has always seen the work of Dr. Barnwell to be rather complicated (you have those who sing melody, soprano, alto, tenor, bass as well as those who skip around to fill in the gaps), but at the last moment, when we’re warming up in the hallway between the music room and the library, somehow it comes together wonderfully – our voices blend near perfectly, we grab the cues properly and have just the right amount of vibrato in our voices. The result is awesome. We have some songs when we walk off stage wanting to bang our heads against the wall, or drown in the nearby water fountain, but when we end with Dr. Barnwell’s work, be it Breathes or Wanting Memories, we always come out with a music-high. It is then we realize we’re a small rag-tag group of singers, but, dang, we sound pretty good.

We followed up Wanting Memories with a little gospel and a little classic rock: Joyful, Joyful from Sister Act II, Down to the River (to Pray) and Don’t Stop Believin’ (the Glee version). We have a tendency to think that our performances are merely pedestrian, so imagine our surprise when the audience went a little wild! (as wild as the audience of a high school musical performance can get, anyway)

After I finally got home, I thought of all the fun times we’d had in Chamber Choir. Last year, it was newly established, and we entered the 2009-2010 school year with only one performance (and a half, counting the 5 minute graduation song) under our belts. This year not only did we participate in every concert, as well as the annual Cabaret, we also traveled to Philadelphia to perform and compete (and have a blast).

And because I am a photography bug, here are some photos:

{Just think about it a moment}

We stopped at the Benjamin Franklin Science Museum on the way to the hotel.

{The Foyer of The Benjamin Franklin Science Museum}

And we sat on the steps of that same museum (right across from the bench in National Treasure where Riley sits and sends the little boy into the museum for answers to the code!).

{Pillars and a Blue Sky}

And I wore orange shoes.

{Epic PF Flyers}

We all performed, and the marching band marched. The Lacross players were jealous.

{Proud of Our Marching Band}

We were so tired at the end of competition day that we couldn’t dress ourselves properly.

{One Foot, Two Foot}

The next day, we gazed in awe at artistic interpretations of freedom and liberty found in the Liberty Museum in the Historic District of Philadelphia.

{Nautilus}

{Liberty's Flame - Dale Chihuly}

We scouted out all the sites in National Treasure in hopes that Nicholas Cage would appear… He didn’t show.

{Clocktower}

We took photos.

{A Fellow Photo Bug}

We enjoyed the flowers.

{Tulips and Daffodils}

We enjoyed the unexpected sunshine.

{Sunshine Through the Dogwoods}

And we took home silver!

{Silver at Home}

And we brought home a bunch of new memories to add to the old: impromptu jam sessions, jokes, eating cookies and fighting over the last grapes, singing Trans Siberian Orchestra’s Carol of the Bells in the hallway minutes before performances, rocking out in the little hallway between the library and the music room, grinning as W. made jokes with his back to the audience in an attempt to make us smile, dancing on the library tables in uniforms, and all the craziness involved in being high school musicians.

I think all of us, especially the Class of 2010, will recall these memories with fond regard. Don’t Stop Believin’ just won’t ever be the same.

(sorry for the rather longwinded post!)

Questions

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So. My good friend Nina (who is the epitome of awesome) had asked me to ask a few questions for her to answer on her own blog. Now, it is my turn to answer her questions. So here we go.

Nina: What do you love about the six months ahead of you?

Meg: The most obvious is graduating in less than 2 weeks. I’m so psyched to be done with high school and starting anew. I’m excited to go down to Southern Virginia at the end of the summer, learn a lot, meet new people and experience new places. I’m loving the fact that this summer I can spend with my family and friends, read lots and lots, write and craft some, go to camps, explore, take lots of pictures and generally just enjoy my summer-time.

Nina: What is your favorite memory right now?

Meg: Just one? I would have to say that looking ahead to what summer has in store for me, one of my favorite memories is of summer camp at High Hopes. I love having the opportuity to spend at least 1 week with these amazing kids, seeing their struggles and then their triumphs. They are such happy kids,  and they have such a bright outlook. It really causes you to reevaluate life and priorities and helps you to see the world in an entirely different light. There are some lessons that those riders teach you that are some of the most valuable you’ll ever learn.

Nina: What does your bedroom say about you?

Meg: My room says a lot (including the fact that it’s a little messy right now, pointing out that life is bit chaotic at the moment) about me. There is a lot of horse stuff: photos, paintings, tiny plaques and a bunch of red barn stars. Post-it notes abound, as well as inspirational notes. Books are every where. In my huge pine bookshelf, leaning precariously on my bedside table, stacked in my closet. There’s a tiny little wooden lamb perched on a giant rock, along with a Painted Pony figurine. A few dreamcatchers, two pouches of worry dolls, a garland of tin stars, a handmade quilt. A couple of antiques: a candy dish with a Scottie on top and a tin jewelry box filled with my childhood collection of marbles. There is a van Gogh-inspired vase filled with pussy willows, and several tokens from dear friends. Essentially, my room is an extension of myself: a collection of things that I love, phsyical symbols of my personality.

Nina: What place would you visit right now, if you could?

Meg: I would have to say Ireland. It’s pretty self-explanatory if you know me. I’m in love with the culture and the country itself, and have always been entirely enamored with everything Irish (8 times out of 10, the song I will be singing under my breath is something Irish, promise). And of course, I’d bring along some good company to explore with!

Nina: What is something you still haven’t gotten around to?

Meg: if I were to compose a list, it would be entirely too long. But the first thing that comes to mind is teh fact that I’ve been planning to make myself another bag for several months and have yet to do it. Hopefully I will get to that and all my other projects after exams!!

So there you have it. The first Q&A. A small peek into my life at the moment, and there are probably some more peeks soon! (Thanks for the qeustions, Nina!)