How Ancient Rituals Die Out

My son had an Irvine honor band concert last night. Along with the junior high group that he’s in, there were groups from the elementary and high schools.

I was looking through the program to see if any of his junior high friends had brothers or sisters in the other groups. That turned out to be an impossible mission.

To explain why, I’m going to plop my finger down at a random spot in the program and read off a list of the kids’ last names.

OK, here we go — Kim, Lin, Chang, Kim, Chang, Kim, Yang, Choi, Chiang, Chen, Tang, Huang, Lee, Tran, Lin, Lee, Yang, Lin, Yi, Oh, Krolewski (Krolewski! “He’s a white boy,” my son explains.) Kim, Song, Chen, Yang, Lin, Kim, Thomas, Tran, Chung, Chan, Lee . . .

When I was in school, it was a first-day ritual for the teachers to read through the roll call, recognize last names, and say things like, “Epps. Do you have a sister named M–?”

That’s a thing of the past obviously, at least in my neighborhood . . .

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