Drum Corps Again

In 1992, Donna and I once again became involved with drum corps.  After being away from the activity for twenty years, it was fun to be involved again!  Our parents were happy too because it gave them the opportunity to become involved as well.  Even though video cameras had become quite common by this time, they still enjoyed coming to rehearsals and shows and video taping the corps.  And many times they would bring their monitor with them so they could play back the performances for the corps members.

During our first year back in drum corps, we met “Randy.”  Randy had been with the corps for many years and everyone loved him!  He was in his early forties and has spent the better half of his life involved in the activity and was well known throughout the entire drum corps community.  Randy was quite a character and could be a little outrageous at times so it was no wonder that everyone knew who he was, even if they didn’t know him personally.  Drum corps was Randy’s life! His wife and family knew how much he loved the activity and even though it meant that he was away from home every weekend, they understood his passion for it and encouraged his involvement.  As Donna and I got to know him during that first year, it was easy to understand why he was so popular.

The summer of 1992 passed by quickly and Donna and I had a great season with the corps.  We were members of a senior corps and since seniors have members ranging in age anywhere from fifteen to sixty plus, all of their rehearsals and competitions take place on the weekends.  The majority of the members in senior corps have full time jobs and families so they can only devote weekends to the activity.  Summer is the busiest time since that’s when all the competitions take place.  But once the summer is over and the marching season ends, the corps’ start working on their shows for the next season.  At the end of 1992, Randy and other members of our corps began planning an exciting show for the summer of 1993.

In the early part of 1993, Randy was diagnosed with cancer and had to undergo surgery and chemotherapy.  We had all hoped that he would recover in time to march with us in the summer, but I think everyone knew that even if he did recover, he would need time to rest and it was unlikely that he would be marching that season.  Randy was very sick from the cancer and the chemotherapy but even so, he attended competitions that summer.  His wife and family would bring him to the pre-competition rehearsals and he would sit on the sidelines watching the corps he loved so dearly and then they would bring him to the shows and he would cheer us on.  He was able to attend only a few shows that summer but his family made it a point to bring him to the Championships, which were held over Labor Day weekend.  That would be the last time that any of would see Randy alive.

Less than a week after Championships, Randy passed away and everyone was deeply saddened by his death.  His family held a memorial service for him in his hometown and all the corps members attended, dressed in their corps uniforms.  We had brought our instruments with us and after the service we performed one last time for Randy.  Our parents had attended the service and our father, as requested by Randy’s wife, had video taped the service and our performance afterwards. 

Our father took the video of Randy’s service home with him to make sure everything was okay and to do any necessary editing.  He also wanted to make it special for Randy’s wife by adding footage of the corps he had from the years when Randy was still marching.  Our father was very meticulous with his work and the preparation of the video for Randy’s wife took a while to complete.  During this time our parents had experienced some unusual activity.

Our father had a room in the house that was full with his video equipment.  This is the video room where he did all his work.  One evening, Donna was spending the night at our parent’s house and she was sleeping on the sofa when she heard someone knocking on the door to video room and thought it was our father in the room.  She got up to investigate but when she looked in the room, it was empty.  Then she looked in our parents’ room and found them both sleeping.  Our grandmother was living with our parents at the time and she was also sound asleep in her room.  Our mother heard Donna walking around looking in the rooms asked her what was wrong.  Donna told her about the knocking she heard in the video room.

Of course Donna couldn’t sleep alone after that and she insisted that our mother come out into the living room and sleep with her.  Our poor mother was scrunched up on the love seat and when she thought that Donna had finally fallen asleep and it was safe to go back to her own bed, she got up to go only to have Donna wake up and ask her where she was going.  Eventually Donna fell asleep again and our mother was able to make it back to her own room.

On another afternoon during this time our parents went out and our grandmother was alone in the house.  She was in her room, which is right next to the video room, watching television.  She too heard someone knocking and thought that our parents had come home.  She got up to see who was in the room but discovered that she was still the only one in the house.  When our parents came home she told them about the incident but they wisely kept their thoughts to themselves.

The knocking had occurred several times and happened again to our mother when she was in the bathroom one day.  She heard someone knock on the door but when she opened it, there was no one there.  She then told our father to hurry up and finish the video and get it to Randy’s wife so he could go home.  Sure enough, as soon as the video was finished and sent to Randy’s wife, the knocking ceased entirely.

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