I have a newish phone. Since I am technologically inept, my husband set some stuff up for me and I now have access to some of his old photos. I either hadn’t seen them in a while or had never seen them ever. This child of mine has informed me that she won’t be doing any hiking with me this summer. When you have children and teenagers, in particular, you have to pick your battles. Since I am from the other side of Southern Utah, we rarely make it over to this territory. I really want to make a jaunt over there, but I probably won’t. I don’t like crowds and there is plenty for me to see at home. The Moab area has always received a lot of attention, but it used to be very dead in the offseason. With the advent of social media, there may be no more offseason.
I am not talking about the kind we talk about in my church regularly. That is a whole other subject. Everyone has been lost in that way before at some point. I am talking about you don’t know where you are. LOST! Once upon a time, I was an ambitious intern. Well, not as ambitious as some of my fellow interns who got to work at the Supreme Court or caring for the Clintons’ cat (It was 1996.) or other places that they deemed cooler than our internships, but an intern nonetheless. I met a lifelong friend the moment I walked into my housing and with our “lesser than” internships, we had an AWESOME summer. My friend got asked to housesit for a week and she took the job only if they took me on too. That weekend morning, I arose and went for a walk. I love walking. I’m sure that is not obvious. I did not wake my friend to tell her I was leaving. It was before cell phones and constant connectivity. It was a beautiful Maryland summer morning. Everything was complete perfection. I was in a residential area with some of Washington DC’s chicest homes. I walked for a while then it started to get warm. I could have kept on going, but I had no provisions. I needed to turn back. The only problem is that I didn’t know the way OR the address where I was staying. Before panic sunk in too bad, I remembered I had seen a street sign with my beloved home state on my morning trek. I backtracked until I found the UTAH street sign and prayed to find my way back. I was sooo happy to get back to that house.
Let me tell you about someone who made an impact. In 1986, I started middle school. My mom made me signup for orchestra. I wanted to take art class! She had previously made me take piano lessons and I sucked. I literally sucked through a few years of lessons. I could not read music. I chose the viola. I don’t know why. Probably cause I didn’t want to be there and it wasn’t the violin. I didn’t know anything much about the violin either. The class turned out not to be so bad. The teacher was an OLD lady who was nice. She had wrinkles and she was beautiful. She would walk around the room and tune our instruments before we started playing. I can NOT fathom how bad that awful racket must have sounded, but we were in a soundproof room so everyone else was spared. We started by plucking our instruments. I had a severely broken arm from an old school summer and even started playing with a cast beyond my elbow. As time went by, the jumbled up stuff on the page started to come together. We were making music.
In 7th grade, I decided I was enjoying it and I needed to improve. I asked my orchestra teacher who could teach me private viola lessons. I started taking lessons with another awesome teacher and improved beyond my imagination. Each year, we moved up with the same teacher. It was a small town. She drove to the high school for half of her day to also teach there. Soo she was also my high school teacher. My sophomore year, I left for study abroad. Upon return, it was back to orchestra. We took state that year. That means we had an awesome performance at a statewide competition. We didn’t let down our little town where we didn’t have the best of anything, but we had the best arts programs. That same year in 1992, we took an orchestra trip to Disneyland. We had a master class with a pro musician aka the rare paid unicorn. We couldn’t wait to ditch the playing for the rides. Our teacher was there by our sides for the fun too. I don’t know how she kept up with us, but she did. After the school days were over, I probably only saw her once. She was a bit stooped over but looked the same. She was still as beautiful as ever and had a smile and a hug for her former student. The effects of her teaching reach far and wide. I doubt much of what fast money that people aspire to achieve these days will leave the impact she did and what some good teachers do. RIP JUNE THORLEY 1928-2019