time capsule

Digging into my personal archives, today, and poking through a scrapbook I created in 1987. A few surface insights and photos, through which I also demonstrate my ability to play with various filters in picasa. Bear with me.

An antique - well, vintage - Air Canada napkin, complete with tea stain to lend it that aura of authenticity! Maybe I should sell it on ebay.

An antique – well, vintage – Air Canada napkin, complete with tea stain to lend it that aura of authenticity! Maybe I should sell it on ebay?

First, I managed to keep every scrap of paper that came my way. What else can possibly explain the coffee-stained paper napkin from an Air Canada flight that took me to my flute audition in Victoria?

Second, fluting and music were obviously central to everything I did that winter and spring, from a Woodwind Weekend at Alberta College Conservatory of Music, to visits to the Symphony, to audition times for the Alberta Provincial Honour Band, to a symphony pass, to comments and ribbons from several different categories of performance at three different music festivals, to summer music camp and wind ensemble group photos, to my audition trip to Victoria (and the inspiration chocolates from my symphony-going partner in crime, Helene Day).

My good friend Chenoa came in first. She always came in first!

My good friend Chenoa came in first. She always came in first!

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You too could zoom into your audition…

Romantic piano? What was I thinking?

Romantic piano? What was I thinking?

Ah, scales and arpeggios. Who would have thought that I'd actually get around to learning scales in 7ths and that I'd actually feel a sense of accomplishment from it?

Ah, scales and arpeggios. Who would have thought that I’d actually get around to learning scales in 7ths and that I’d actually feel a sense of accomplishment from it?

Tallying up the spoils. As with all artistic endeavours, the spoils didn't even cover the costs...

Tallying up the spoils. As with all artistic endeavours, the spoils didn’t even cover the costs…

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Helene and I made a pact. She’d study fashion design in Toronto. And I’d study music in Victoria. And it all came true.

Third, religious belief was an important element of who I understood myself to be at that time. It isn’t anymore, but then it was. A youth conference, some flyers, and a thank you card from one of my Sunday school charges. Soon after I left high school, my religious belief started to tangle with my politics (and actually, if I’m honest, I suspect the tangling was already happening – see the  completely crazy description of a youth conference session on satanic rock music below, which I already found ridiculous even way back then – but with a broad, open-minded pastor at my home church, it wasn’t emerging as an issue at the time). By the time another pastor told a largely student congregation that if we didn’t attend a Rally for Life, we’d really need to question our commitment to Christianity, I was well and truly done. My friend and I looked at one another. We turned around. We left. And we never went back. Forced to choose, my politics win. Every time.

Be afraid. Be very afraid!

Be afraid. Be very afraid!

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And finally, high school graduation. As I remember it today, I wanted out. I’d been ready to leave my school, my home and my town for months. Graduation couldn’t come fast enough. Perhaps it’s unsurprising that the whole rigamarole merits pages and pages and pages of scrapbook. Congratulatory cards, notes from friends, official paperwork, newspaper articles, the program, the rough copy of my valedictory speech, and the name tag ripped off the protective plastic covering of my grad gown. You name it and I have it.

School news... one of the few times I merited a mention.

School news… one of the few times I merited a mention.

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Writing schlock for the valedictory address.

High school graduation in soft focus allows for a gentle reliving of some pretty traumatic years.

High school graduation in soft focus allows for a gentle reliving of some pretty traumatic years.

Who keeps these things? Me, that's who.

Who keeps these things? Me, that’s who.

When I first opened all of this, I marveled at my packrattishness, at the sheer volume of “stuff” for only six short months of my life. But as I look more closely, I’m reminded of all the stories I had forgotten, all those bits and pieces of myself that I’d stowed away in carefully organized (but since hidden) parts of my brain. And as a result, parts of me wish I’d been this creatively organized through all of my years. In the meantime, my time capsule has returned me briefly, if not to the “summer of ‘69” as Bryan Adams would have it, then at least to the wonder of 17.

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