Niece grown up

My elder niece, Laura, who was seven years old a couple days ago (wait, that was at our wedding, and our eleventh anniversary is coming up), just graduated from high school. (And don’t give me any “was graduated” crap; that usage is dead, dead, dead.)

We made the trip to Durham, New Hampshire for the occasion. MapQuest says that’s a 6 1/2 hour trip, more or less, but MapQuest doesn’t eat, has no bladder, and does not travel with an almost seven year old. Moreover it doesn’t drive 20 miles the wrong way on the Mass Pike on the way back. NTIB. Anyway, a long drive. We went on Friday for the graduation ceremony that night and returned today.

My mother and sister flew up from Houston too. Mom’s turning 89 this year and this is probably the last long trip for her — though I think she said that last time. Anyway, we hadn’t seen her since Christmas ’05, and the sisters and nieces since I’m not sure when, maybe about ’02 or ’03.

Laura, like me, studied clarinet and played bass clarinet in high school. She’s played baritone sax too. She is going to major in English, but plans to continue playing clarinet in college. So for her graduation present her mom (my sister, Janet) went on eBay and, with my guidance, bought a clarinet: a probably 1960s vintage Evette & Schaeffer (made by Buffet Crampon), probably an E13. It needed some work but even so she got a bargain — the woodwind repairer estimated its worth at over twice what she paid for the purchase and overhaul.

Meanwhile on advice passed on by Janet from Laura’s band teacher I bought her a J. & D. Hite Model D mouthpiece, and I also got her a Rovner ligature.

I’m pleased to say Laura was thrilled.

Wet weather put something of a damper on the weekend, but it was a good one anyway. Kenny was bouncing off the ceiling most of the time. Just think, in about 11 more years he’ll be the one graduating.

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