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Well let’s see. I was born during the Blizzard of 1978 in Lima, Ohio. I have lived in Ohio all my life. I like it here. We have corn fields instead of oceans, overpasses instead of mountains and fog instead of smog. Sure it's not the promise land, but sometimes one doesn't need postcard worthy beauty on the outside to have it elsewhere. I'm a writer for fun, a Paralegal for profession, and while one pays the bills, one feeds my imagination, or perhaps my imagination feeds my writing...either way, Writing is as much of who I am as the color of my eyes, or the way that I smile. Blogs are great communication tools, and I'm here to communicate with YOU...yeah, you who's reading this right now....*assuming anyone's out there* *crickets chirp* Alrightee then, IF anyone should find themselves here, be it by accident or on purpose, welcome, glad to have you aboard. Throw anchor, stay awhile! Sunshine & Smiles, ~Heather Lynn~

Monday, July 7, 2014

The big WARK send off!

Since this blog is essentially for my "readers", I have to assume not everyone knows this about me, but I was a "band geek" in high school.  I was a proud member of the Delphos Jefferson Marching Band, I was in the "Color Guard"...for those of you who don't know what "Color Guard" is....it's the people who twirl the flags.  My sister before me was in Color Guard, and my sister after me was as well.  "Color Guard" was a family tradition with us Osting girls.  A proud tradition.

I can't speak for my sisters, but in MY time in the band, I experienced so many wonderful things, Disney World, Epcot Center, competing on the turf of Indianapolis, traveling to contests, taking the field each and every Friday night of football season, stammering all over the field at Adrian College....attempting to learn that years drill!  I have "High Mark Time'd", I've tripped over my own flag, and successfully twirled a flag behind my back.  Yes, I bonked myself in the head several times in learning that neat little trick, but I'm happy to report, there was no permanent head damage....well, atleast not that I know of.

I think I can speak for my classmates and fellow Delphos Jefferson Marching Band Alumni when I say that "BAND MEMORIES" were some of THE BEST memories we cling to as our days of High School get fuzzier as we age.  But one thing we DO NOT seem to ever be able to forget, is our fearless leaders, Mr. and Mrs. Wark, our most beloved Band Director and Color Guard Instructor.

There are some teachers you can barely remember in school, and there are some that have an impact on your life and you never forget.  Mr. Wark and Robin were two people, that once you met them, once they took you under their wing, you wouldn't ever be the same kid.  It was like being adopted into the best family around.  Maybe it was because Lee was my classmate, and they were his parents that I felt like they were second parents to me, maybe it was because they were such a wonderful pair that I envied anyone who actually HAD them as parents, I'm not sure, but either way, in my eyes, they were like family to me.  After high school, I took guitar lessons from Mr. Wark with my cousin Rachel, and every week, we'd sit in their kitchen and we'd strum those guitars clumsily, and Mr. Wark would patiently listen to our horrendous butchering of whatever song he was attempting to teach us that week, yet his faith and patience in us never faded.  We'd have so much fun, we'd laugh, we'd talk, we'd ATTEMPT to make music....and it was a great escape for me once more to spend time with Mr. Wark, as that time in my life I was about to go through a divorce.  Just like in high school, his teaching, his dedication to my education and him being my personal passport into music was a great comfort and outlet for the turmoil that one goes through in life.

Robin would comfort us with cookies, and they'd take interest in our lives, Rachel's children, and even helped us get marginally good enough to attempt a performance a couple years in a row at Rachel's Dad's church at Christmastime.  "Little Drummer boy" and "We three kings" were our two big hits! *winks*  If you'd of ask me if I'd ever be on a stage playing a guitar for a crowd prior to that, I'd of never believed you, but Mr. Wark wouldn't let us make a fool of ourselves, he molded us into what we needed to be, IN school, and out.  Just like he taught us how to be on the inside and out.  I don't know how much you know about band, but it really touches on a lot of things aside from music, I learned about PRIDE IN APPEARANCE, I learned about PRIDE IN OURSELVES, I learned about BEING A PART OF A TEAM, I learned that every single link in the chain is important, and I learned that practice and dedication pay off.  Anyone who's ever looked at their drill for that year and said, "I have to get from the 50 yard line to WHERE in eight counts?!??!  That's impossible!!!"...knows that Mr. Wark has been making the IMPOSSIBLE, POSSIBLE his entire career!  He was a drill Sargent and he was a teddy bear, his was a friend, he was a father, he could make you laugh, and make you cry, but he never felt sorry for you, and he never made you feel sorry for yourself.  He wouldn't allow it, not when he KNEW you could do what he was asking, even before you knew, he did.

So when I heard they were leaving town, I couldn't help but feel a wave of immense sadness wash over me.  I've dialed their phone number since I was a kid, and now at age 36, their number 419-692-2522 is no longer in service.  Their house on Westbrook Avenue, where we marched in the street, where music wafted in the air from all sides of their house during sectionals, and guitars twanged out the windows by a bunch of novices...has now fallen silent.  Now, only boxes being packed and Kirby, their beloved dog's barks can be heard.  To think that no more pitter-patter of band feet will be on their street upon their departure was just too much to bear for me, so it all started with a little "feeler" on my personal facebook page that went like little something like this:

and it turned into THIS:


There are events that people take part in because it's "the right thing to do", there are events that raise money for charity, events to feed the needy, events to elect someone to a political position, but there is NO EVENT, quite like the "We LOVE YOU" type.

Nearly 200 of Mr. Wark's former band gathered at the Jefferson High School and with their matching T-shirts, borrowed percussion instruments, a banner, some cheerleaders and a crowd of spectators and friends of the band, and they marched to see their beloved Director.
"Mr. Wark"

It's never easy to say goodbye,
especially not to someone who has meant so very much, to so many.

The Wark's had NO IDEA we were coming, and actually thought that the noise they were hearing was a recording that myself and Rachel were blaring out our car window to "mess with them"...now I know the Warks are not big fans of crowds, or being the center of attention, but I figured, they wouldn't mind seeing all of us.  Robin heard the noise, peaked out the window and said "Mike, you're going to have to see this!"
{just typing that and envisioning it in my head gave me goosebumps!}

Mr. Wark and Robin taught and gave us so many important things, but none more important than LOVE, RESPECT and PRIDE. They were examples of greatness...in the form of someone willing to not just BE great, but to TEACH others how to be great. Such a selfless thing in a selfish world. I truly believe that what we put out into the world can change the world, can change lives, so if you can't change the EVEYONE's, just start by doing something good for some ONE. It all goes for the greater good, and I think that's what we accomplished here. We, us, you and I, we PUT something good back out into the world. All that love, and pride, and respect that they instilled in us, was pouring right out of us and right back to them. A tradition of excellence is what they represented, and I think we carried on that tradition yesterday. WE embodied their life's work, and they saw it, in it's purest, simplest, sincerest form. They saw what they accomplished here in their time in Delphos...and they saw it in US. And we didn't just show them, all those young eyes, and neighbors, and passing cars, all SAW with their very own eyes what gratitude looks like first hand. What pride actually looks like....and SOUNDS like in the form of "ewengowa Got that wildcat power"....sure we sounded like dying cats a little, but damnit, we're not spring chicks anymore! You guys keep telling me how PROUD you all of me, and HOW proud I should be of myself, but honestly, I don't feel proud of ME, but I DO feel PROUD to be a part of all of you, proud to have been a part of the Warks, of "the band" and to have been part of something that gives back, something good, that warms the hearts of others.

Here is my video from that day, 
I apologize for the shakiness of it, but recording with a ipod over your head while marching is no easy feat.
I chose to video instead of photograph because I wanted to not just see, but hear and feel the emotion that I KNEW would be present.  The cheers and roars of everyone give me goosebumps and make me teary eyed EVERY time I watch.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

and in closing, this email just in from the Warks,
I wanted you to know just how touched they were with what we did.

Did you get my text?  Yes we still love you. You are the best. What an awesome surprise.  We will remember Sat. for as long as we live.  The love we felt was unbelievable. When Michael retired, his party was wonderful but this was so much better  To think that after all these year people still remember and love you. Thanks Heather. From the bottom of our hearts, THANKS.   We love you always. Michael and Robin