By IKE ADAMS
The early December piece I posted here out of curiosity about an old elementary school publication I had enjoyed in the 1950s called The Weekly Reader, drew far more responses than I expected.
At last count, well over 30 readers of this column had let me know they remembered it fondly from their school days, as far back as the 1940s as well as several who had read and loved it as recently as the 1980s. Responses were still coming in on Christmas Day when I heard from two readers whose friends had saved them copies of their hometown newspapers that they were reading three weeks after the fact.
I heard from readers who had enjoyed The Weekly Reader during their grade school days in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, South Dakota, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Florida, Washington (state), Tennessee, Georgia, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia. Several of them now live in Kentucky and read a local paper and many out- of-staters who responded simply get their hometown paper in the mail or read it online. If you are among the responders who have yet to receive a personal email “thank you,” please excuse the fact that Mr. Parkinson goes out of his way to make correspondence difficult for me. I still have a backlog of emails that I’ve yet to deal with, but do rest assured that I plan to get to them before the year is out.
Please also know that your response to the column was one of my favorite Christmas presents. Affirmation that people read their writing is the greatest gift you can give a writer. I’ve had much of that lately and nearly half of it was unsolicited. Suffice to say that over half a dozen other grandparents took the time to let me know that they, too, were in the audience at the recent B. Michael Caudill Middle School Band Concert at EKU’s Center for the Arts.
Half a dozen or so readers in other counties have promised to let me know when their middle school bands will be having public performances. I can’t promise that I’ll get them all in the paper but I am very hopeful that I will be in some of the audiences when these beginner musicians publically show their stuff in other central and southeastern Kentucky venues.
I am, for example, looking for any excuse to talk Loretta into spending a couple of nights at The Benham Schoolhouse Inn, a place in Harlan County that has converted the old Benham School building into a bed and breakfast
(Google it). Surely there is a middle school nearby that will have a music program sometime this spring. While I have long been accustomed to high schools having relatively sophisticated music programs, I had no idea that sixth-grade kids who could not read a note of music last August could learn to play real, adult, instruments in such a short period of time and then put on a very impressive performance four months after they first touched their respective musical instruments. As one grandmother recently told me, “My grandson didn’t even know what a French horn was before last August, and now he plays one.” Yet another grandmother of a sixth-grade bassoon player was equally astounded.
If you are a grandparent, parent, teacher or even a middle school student and your band has a public program coming up, please let me know dates, locations and any other details you have concerning the event.