This Is Why I Reconnected With An Old Flame
“You can’t go home again” ― Thomas Wolfe
I hate to differ with Mr. Wolfe.
But I am going to.
It’s absolutely true that some things just can’t be recaptured. Once the moment is gone, well, its gone…
- That old restaurant you loved. It’s gone now
- Or they changed ownership. Now the food and service really suck
- The old house you grew up in was knocked down. A convenience store and gas station is in it’s place
- Or if still there, seems a lot smaller, plainer, less fascinating than back then
- That old song you and your pals rocked out to? It sounds a bit tacky now
- The Disney ride that absolutely mesmerized — It’s quite boring now
- The special effects on Star Wars and Star Trek? Were they really that hokey? Sadly, yes
- The love of your life? Your old flame?
Both of you have put on a few pounds. Gray hair (or no hair) replaced those flowing locks. And the magic is gone. Never to be recaptured…
But I’m reconnecting with my old flame anyway.
I’m fighting the odds, and I will win. Mr. Wolfe be damned.
And my wife approves! God bless her!
“Having rock-star problems may be the closest I ever get to being an actual rock star.”
― Cassandra Clare, City of Fallen Angels
Are you a frustrated rock star? I am. I instinctively know that a Rock Star is what I was meant to be. Unfortunately, a few things got in my way. Like life.
I learned how to play the drums in Middle school. Thank you Mr. Jesse Pearl, the former music teacher and Concert Band Director at Henry H. Filer Junior High School, on West 29th Street in Hialeah, Florida.
Back in the mid 1960s, the School Concert Band continuously struggled to find and keep moderately competent drummers. Not bangers. Anyone can bang. Drummers. Those who could read music. And keep a beat.
Until Mr. Pearl took matters into his own hands
He started a Drum program. He began holding a one hour class, one period a day, to teach prospective drummers how to read music and equip them with concert percussion skills. He would audition students wanting to enroll before allowing them into the class.
I remember my audition vividly. He sat me down in a folding metal chair, directly in front of him. And he said, “repeat exactly what you watch me do”. He slapped out a rhythm using his hands on his legs. I dutifully attempted to emulate what he had done. After about 5 minutes he stopped and said:
“Perhaps you ought to consider another instrument. Clarinet? Trumpet? Trombone? Anything but drums”
But I refused to give in. Mostly because there was no way my parents could’ve afforded any of those instruments. And he must have seen the desire and hope in my eyes. So he relented and accepted me into the class.
To make a long story short, within a month I had moved to “first chair” in the class. The following year, I was accepted into the Concert Band. Mr. Pearl’s dream became my reality.
That class and Mr. Pearl’s personal hand changed my life
I continued to play drums into High School. I was accepted into the Marching, Concert and Jazz Bands, as well as the Symphony Orchestra. Molded further into the person I was meant to be by music directors and assistants.
Particularly strong influences during those years were Hardee Don Hurst and Richard Weaver. They helped me refine my skills and play with taste and style.
During my senior year, I found myself on the 50 yard line during a half time show. Pressure? What pressure?
During and after high school there were numerous rock bands, a few gigs here and there, and a scholarship to Miami Dade College. But it wasn’t meant to be and I drifted away from music and percussion. Changed majors. Graduated with an Associate Degree and eventually moved into the business world.
Fast Forward to the Present
I’ve had my ups and downs in life. If you’ve read my writings you know the story. If you haven’t I’ll summarize.
I was finally in a happy place. Blessed. Grateful. A few regrets. But in general, Alive! I love. I’m loved.
Something was missing. I had a little hole in my soul…
Some soul searching and a “mind travel” into my past finally uncovered it.
My old flame…
This Is Why I Reconnected With Drumming
Aside from the fact that I love to play drums and I am actually not too bad at it, there are many great benefits I realize from drumming. Among the benefits defined by Andrea I. a Philadelphia-based English teacher I find the following extremely valuable.
- Relief from life’s frustrations, disappointments, and stress
- Exercise and Aerobics —while drumming, my heart rate increases to over 100 BPM and I burn an average of 270.4 calories in a half hour
- Improvement in brain power and functions — drumming requires 4 limb coordination. The frontal lobe controls limb movement and the cerebellum “fine-tunes” this movement
- Confidence building — mastering musical instruments builds confidence. A Drum Kit is a particularly tough instrument to master. As you develop proficiency your confidence grows
- Lifelong learning — the long hiatus I took from drumming notwithstanding, this is something I have been able to do throughout my life. And today, accessing “drumming” resources and a community via the internet is especially easy.
So I jumped on line, did some research, visited a few music stores, and eventually bought a new kit.
Purchase of a drum pad and download of rudiments, lessons, and exercises and a daily practice routine has helped me recover about 75% of my skills thus far. And in fact, in some areas, I have become more proficient than I was in my teens and twenties.
My stick work is tighter, strokes are crisper, and more controlled
My Old Flame has definitely revived and reignited a once lost passion.
Mission successfully accomplished!
What can this mean for you? Well, it doesn’t matter what particular “flame” you reconnect with. Your’s is probably different than mine.
- Model building
- Sculpting, Carving, Painting
- Your ’57 Chevy
- Or a different musical instrument
The point is, maybe that re-connection is exactly the boost you need. What you crave. What will fill in that small gap in the rubric of your life and give you that small spark.
It did for me.
A Simple Call to Action
Find your flame, and re-connect
I can vouch for the difference it’s made in my life…