Good Memories from Michelle Miller Petersen

It’s amazing how one person can make such a difference in so many lives……and Ken Fisher is one of those rare people who has touched so many lives for the better.  He made a difference in our perspectives of reaching our goals and how to work hard to achieve perfection.  I too remember meeting Ken Fisher for the first time, in the fifth grade band class at the Clayton Middle School in 1965. It was our first day in class and I was struggling to make a noise to come out of my clarinet; when I finally did … made a resounding squeak that filled the whole room!  He looked at me with a stern look and scolded me with a comment that if I wanted to stay in his class I needed to work harder than that. I remember being so humiliated, yet challenged to prove to him that I could master this instrument.  I worked very hard with at least an hour of practicing  every school night for the  7 years that I had him for a teacher.  My goal was to reach “1st chair” and I finally did when I was a Junior in High School. I had second chair for years out of 30 clarinetists.  I was sooo proud that day when I had finally acheived my goal of first chair.  My hard work finally paid off.

I was also in the drill team and was one of the high steppers who marched in front of the band. I remember if one person made a mistake in one of our routines in class, he would make us stop,  and start from the beginning until be got it perfect.  He taught us how to make goals and achieve them…… which has been a lesson that has carried over into our daily lives, years later.  He gave us a reason to have good self esteem and a pride for our accomplishments.  He promoted a ” I can do this” attitude that has stuck with us all through our lives.

I was one of the lucky ones who went to the Rose Bowl Parade in 1970.  In preparation for the 5-mile parade, we marched every morning up to 3 miles for almost a full year. Since I was in the front of the band with the high steppers, we were doing the high kicks and occasional walk overs. We were at our prime and in tip top shape.  Our figures were pretzel thin as a result of our hard work.  We sold Almond Roca to help raise monetary funds; everyone in the band got to go! The trip to California was so much fun! I remember driving the flight attendants crazy pushing all of the buttons above our seats. It was the first flight for many of us. I will never forget flying over California for the first time and seeing that most of the homes had swimming pools in their back yards! We stayed at the UCLA dorms during our stay in California. We were so excited that we hardly slept. We had two bus drivers that stayed with us during our entire stay. One of them was a rather large man…at least 300lbs.  One of the kids nicked named him “Twiggy” and it stuck!  He loved it and told us that we were one of the nicest group of kids that he ever met. Both bus drivers actually came to visit us at the Deer Park High School the next year.

When we were lining up for the parade they had each of us take a salt tablet so we would not get dehydrated or pass out during the 5 mile parade. Not one of our group passed out since we had  practiced for the entire year before.  We also got to be in the parade at Disney Land.  It was a memorial trip that has been one of the  high lights of my life.  Thanks to Mr. Fisher’s dreams and goals, we benefited a great deal.  My Condolences to Nancy Fisher and family.  Our memories will live forever.

I had him for a teacher from 1965 to 1971. With my Love and Blessings, Michelle Miller Petersen

One thought on “Good Memories from Michelle Miller Petersen

  1. robfisher

    I appreciate the memories you have expressed. I had forgotten about the stories of the bus drivers. I remember Dad talking about them. I wasn’t able to go on the Rose Bowl Parade trip but I remember how proud I was of the Deer Park Marching Stags when I saw them on the same old color TV that Dad would watch his favorite movies and shows on.

    Thank you so much,

    Rob and Family

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