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Monthly Archives: July 2015

I’m not sure I like the pound. The dogs bark a lot, and the sound echoes loudly off of the concrete floor and cinderblock walls. We’re looking for a new dog today. Both cocker spaniels have been gone for a while now. We came to the pound once before. That time, we took home a poodle named Pepe. He liked to play. He also liked to eat my action figures. Then he started biting people, and Mom and Dad brought him back. (As Mom will say in later years, “With two cats and two toddlers, we just couldn’t have a dog like that in the house.”) There’s an Old English sheepdog who looks nice, but Mom says he’s too big. She and Dad meet to compare notes, and Dad mentions a dog that Mom and I didn’t see. He leads us over to a kennel. Curled up in the back corner, paws over her nose, is a brown furball with bright black eyes. An attendant brings the dog to one of the little meeting rooms, and suddenly Cinnamon is all yips and wagging tail and kisses. We’ve found our new dog.

I blink

I’m standing at the corner, waiting for the school bus. Today will be the first time I’ve ridden one. I’m excited to start school. I know it will be more challenging than daycare and kindergarten were. The rumble of its engine precedes the bus over the hill. It pulls to a stop right in front of Dad and me. Printed in black, the designation “C 44” stands out against the bright yellow background. Dad gives me a hug as the door swings open. I bounce up the stairs and take a seat in the very front row; I want to see where we’re going! A couple of quick pictures, and then the bus pulls away. I’m on my way to first grade!

I blink

School ended a while ago, but I’m still sitting in the cafeteria. That’s where the after-school program meets. The teachers, Miss Lori, Miss Velma, and Mr. Dave, are nice; they feed us kids a snack and supervise and help with homework. Once homework is done, we can play games or run around outside (if it’s nice) or even sometimes watch TV. Said TV and VCR got wheeled out today; it’s another student’s birthday and he brought a movie to watch. The students and I gather around as Miss Velma pushes in the tape. After the usual title cards, blue words pop up on a black screen: “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away….” Exciting music comes out of nowhere, followed by words that crawl up the screen, describing how someone named Luke Skywalker has returned to his home planet to rescue a friend from a gangster named Jabba. I read it all, not understanding much, but liking the sound of it. Then I see two robots in the middle of an argument. By the time Luke kills the rancor, I know I will love this movie for the rest of my life.

I blink

At first, I’m confused. Mom and Dad said we were going to go see Beauty and the Beast, but we didn’t go to a movie theatre. Instead, the four of us, Uncle J, Aunt S, and my cousins, drove up to Toronto. After checking us in to a hotel, we all changed into good clothes and drove to a very large building. We must have gone up some stairs inside, because the next thing I know we enter into a truly enormous theatre. It’s like the auditorium where I saw “Peter Pan”, but on a much larger scale. A kind person shows us to our seats located in the very front row of the balcony. The lights dim, the music starts, and the same voice starts, “Once upon a time…” Except this time, instead of stained glass, there are live people on the stage acting out the story. Several moments stand out in my memory: The old woman changing into the Enchantress, the wolves as they chase Maurice into the Beast’s castle, the Beast standing on the balcony of his castle as he sings, Belle and the Beast dancing together, the Beast’s transformation. That night, I fall asleep in the hotel bed dreaming of talking appliances and magic.

I blink

My family is back in Toronto. This time, we’re going to see two shows: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and The Phantom of the Opera. We spent the drive up listening to both shows, so I sort of know what to expect. Joseph was fun, but I’m looking forward to seeing Phantom this afternoon. I’m drawn in as the auction begins, and can feel my heart speed up as the auctioneer states, “Perhaps we may frighten away the ghost of so many years ago with a little illumination. Gentlemen!” The orchestra comes in full blast as the chandelier flares to life. I jump in my seat, but I’m grinning, too. This is going to be fun!

I blink

One of my first stops on returning home this summer was the local junior high school to visit Beth, one of my old music teachers. As we got caught up on life, she mentioned that I should stick around to say hi to someone else: Mr. C, the high school band director, would be stopping by to talk with the rising eighth- and ninth-graders about joining the marching band. I did so, and even helped collect information forms from the kids who attended the meeting. By day’s end, not only had I gotten to catch up with two of my favorite people, I also volunteered to help out with marching band.

It’s not that big of a commitment, really. From late June through the end of July, the band meets at the high school one night a week to learn and rehearse the music for the year’s show. Most of my time this summer was spent helping with these rehearsals; in particular, working with students who are just learning trombone. Of course I also spend time talking with the instructors, too, many of whom had me as a student. It’s been interesting to think about how our conversations have changed over the years, from those of teacher and student to those shared by fellow educators. It’s also been a great comfort to me that, as I’ve Transitioned, they’ve been some of my greatest supporters.

Anyway, this week started the most grueling part of marching band season: band camp. For this school, band camp takes place over the course of two weeks, 8-3, Monday to Friday. Typically, students spend the morning setting the drill up on the field, while afternoons are devoted to sectional music rehearsals. At the end of the day, the entire band gathers back together to hear announcements from Mr. C. Said announcements typically include things like times for uniform fittings, information about the next day’s rehearsal, and information about any fundraisers in progress. Today, Mr. C had order forms for one such fundraiser with him. As he talked, Mrs. L and I moved in to take the forms so we could distribute them. “So if you need a form,” Mr. C concluded, “just see one of these ladies to get one.” I could see the confusion on some of the students’ faces, and made some joke about how Mr. C needed to get his eyes checked. That earned a few chuckles, breaking the tension, and things moved on. A couple dozen kids swarmed me after the meeting finished to pick up order forms. Once they’d dispersed, I walked the leftovers back to where Mr. C stood. He accepted the forms, looked me in the eye, and apologized for mis-gendering me. His face showed how sorry he was. I had no problem accepting his apology, although I did tease him about getting old and forgetting things. He retaliated by calling me a “young whipper-snapper”, but I could see his relief at the fact that I’d forgiven him. The truth is, I wish that more people were like Mr. C. If more people could just support one another and own up to their mistakes like that, the world would be a much better place.