Every Memorial Day the Perry High School Marching Band would don those heavy and hot wool uniforms and march from Olin Avenue – down from the High School football field/track – and move out onto Main Street… up to Gasoline Alley to Center Street and up Lake Street ending at the Vets Club where either Mr. Hughes or Mr. Bichalaney would play Taps as part of the Ceremony honoring our fallen war heroes. Being the tall Sousaphone player I was often used to set one of the corners of the band – it was easy for the others to “mark off” on me since I couldn’t be missed! My mom made the cover for the bell of my instrument in our Yellowjackets colors of Blue and Gold.
Memorial Day 1979
The most memorable year marching was when Merle Cowie – father of our dear friend and clarinet player Michelle Cowie – buzzed the band from the rear while we were marching down Main Street and playing. Mr. Cowie was a Cropduster and kept his plane on the family farm property adjacent to the Perry-Warsaw Airport along Route 20A halfway between Perry and Warsaw (perhaps the airport could be renamed in Mr. Cowie’s honor). He must have been just above the two- and three-story buildings along Main Street – somewhere along the northern stretch of downtown near the old Robeson Cutlery building. I just remember how we were all suddenly shocked to the point of not being able to play or march! We were all over the place as he simply scared the crap out of us!
Proximity to The Switch – at the end of the Parade and during the Ceremony – we were underneath it!