That’s the first distinct memory I have of Will. Although, we went to the same school from the time we started kindergarten to the time we graduated high school. But it was in 3rd grade that our class put on a play, “Rockin’ Through Time.” It was a big deal. There were auditions for parts. Parts of our schooldays were set aside for rehearsals. There were costume fittings. Makeup and hair testing. Dress rehearsals. And when the opening day of the show started to approach, we began making our way to the high school every afternoon to rehearse on stage in the auditorium where our performances would be held. Our little 3rd grade selves thought we were the shit, mingling amongst the high school kids, sipping wine and munching on cheese backstage. Ok, that last part isn’t true. More like Juicy Juice and Goldfish, but who’s keeping tabs? And the only mingling we did with them was the one morning performance we put on for the high school in its entirety. Mortifying.
Hey, look! We were eventually those high schoolers. And then we graduated. This is from our 5-year class reunion.
The show was based on two kids stumbling upon a jukebox in their attic, plugging it in, and being thrust into the different decades through the music. We started with the 50s and ended with the 80s with a big compilation of The Contours’ “Do You Love Me (Now That I Can Dance).” And that’s where Will comes in. All I see is him doing the “Mashed Potato” and “The Twist” to his little 3rd grader hearts content. The video is rather hilarious. It’s hysterical. I wonder where it is.
My 1920s themed 23rd Birthday. So much fun!
Elementary school passed. Junior high passed. We had a few classes together here and there. But it was high school when we really became friends. And really, it was more like junior year where we were all inseparable. The five of us; me, Cassie, Alison, Kyle and Will. All together all the time. Before school, during school, after school, at practice, football games, competitions, weekends, we were always doing something together. And that time we went to dinner, the five of us plus Clint and the waiter thought we were on a triple date. Awkward.
We graduated high school and went on a senior trip to Disney World for a week. It was grand. College came around; Will went to Emory, Kyle to UGA, Alison to GA State, and Cassie and I were at West Georgia, but we managed to stay close. Visits to them and visits home, holidays, and summers we always managed to get together to do something. Picking up right where we left off. And of course I’m sure you recall our celebration of Thomas Jefferson’s birthday every year?
At some point during our freshman year, Will auditioned to be the drum major for Phantom Regiment. Of course he got it because he’s brilliant, but that only meant he’d be gone all summer on tour. The minute we found out it was official, we were ordering tickets and booking flights and hotels to Boston for DCI Championships.
When the week of finals finally approached, we were so excited. And this was how our summers went for the next few years. We always had DCI to look forward to right before having to go back to school. The next year we were in Madison, WI. Then it was Pasadena, CA. And his last year was inIndianapolis, IN. That’s the year that Regiment won. And we were there. Their show was nothing short of amazing. And we were there to see them win. We were there to see them drag Will’s limp “dead” body to the sidelines, draping him in his cape and walking away as all the other corps drum majors stood there, at attention. There show was Spartacus. He is killed in the last 30 seconds of the show and he lays on the podium lifeless while the drum major who killed him finishes it out. The most awesome thing I’ve ever seen. And we were there. We were there to see Will, as the drum major of the champion corps, made his way to the middle of the stands, and amongst all the fans directed the top 12 drum corps in the world. It was beautiful. It was chilling. It was amazing to be able to stand there and hold all that pride for a friend we’ve known forever.
Any guess which one's Will?
That was two years ago. We still say goodbye to Will each summer as he now is employed by Regiment. It’s only natural. They are his family.
This summer before he left for Regiment.
But tonight we said goodbye to him in a different way. Wednesday, he moves to Dallas, TX. It’s not like we won’t ever see him again. Please. Dallas is getting an In-N-Out. I’ll be there every other weekend. But it’s still sad to see him go. To know what we won’t be able to just drive into Atlanta to see him. And there are holidays. And weddings. I can't count how many weddings we've been to in the past couple years.
Matt & Rebekah's Wedding
Caroline & Tim's wedding shower.
Robert & Emily's Wedding
And of course I couldn't let him leave without the awkward hug. The awkward hug, awkward dance, awkward hand shake, they're the funniest. Will is the funniest.
And in case you aren't sure exactly why we're so sad he's leaving. Imagine this. All the time. The amount of laughing we do when we're with Will is ridiculous. My cheeks hurt right now from all the laughing tonight. Needless to say, we're going to miss him.