It’s Okay, I *AM* the Band….

Today while I was deleting old files to make space on my hard drive for more photos, I stumbled over this draft that I started…..who knows when….of course, I’m not going to finish it now. Just posting it, because it’s all true……

I lived a very sheltered life until my divorce at the age of 31. I didn’t drink alcohol, I never learned to smoke, didn’t use foul language and I didn’t know what the world was like outside my small circle of friends. Of course I saw these things on TV, but I couldn’t visualize living in that world.

My life changed one day when I answered an ad for a band that was looking for a piano player. I played piano, I should be able to do that, I thought. I auditioned on a borrowed keyboard, and even though I had never played with a band, had no idea what to do I got the job. This meant I had to acquire a piano and an amplifier on my minimum wage paycheck. That was no small feat right there. They also asked me to sing backup harmony, since there was another girl who sang lead. Yikes…..most of the singing I had done was at church and a few times at a local Opry show. I managed to fake my way through that also. I was beginning to get good at faking things.

The name of the band was “Burgundy and Lace”. Catchy and descriptive….Burgundy was the masculine part and Lace was the other girl and me.

The band picked up a few gigs locally, and I gained more and more confidence and experience. I also began drinking, simply because that is what people do in a bar or nightclub. You go there to drink, to mingle, to dance; to live the nightlife. Ah, the nightlife.

I will admit to being quite conceited in those days. I admit it now, but not then. My mother told me once, when she was annoyed and disgusted with my new hobby, that all I wanted to do was “get dressed up, go out and let men tell me how pretty I was”. I was appalled that she would say such a horrible thing to me, I was a “professional” musician now, and I was going to be famous! It was a few years before I could acknowledge the stark truth in what my mom said to me. It was the truth. I loved it, I was thin, didn’t look my age, I was cute and the men liked me.

Even on my off nights from the band, I couldn’t just sit at home. I would go out to a club with my new girlfriends; I learned to dance, sort of. For a musician, I’m not a very good dancer, but I loved trying. The most popular place in the 1980s was Calhoon’s, on Breezy Hill between Denison and Sherman. Thursday was “Ladies Night”….which meant no cover charge and maybe even free beer. If not free, then it was 25 or 50 cents. That was my price range in those days. At a place like Calhoon’s, the crowd was constantly moving, back and forth from one end of the club to the other. We never, ever sat down at a table; that was for the married people, or the ones on dates. As single ladies, we were there to “see and be seen” by all the (hopefully) single men. The three of us heard every lame pick-up line ever uttered, and some never heard before. My favorite was the obviously drunk guy who came up to us right before closing time and said he’d been watching us all evening long, but was so intimidated by our beauty that he had to work up the nerve to approach us. Sure, buddy, sure. We know; we all get prettier at closing time! But, you didn’t get better looking or smarter…..take a hike!

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A Merry Fractured Christmas

I have always loved to roller skate, from way back in the day when the skates clamped onto your shoes and you used a key to adjust the length. I skated up and down the sidewalks on Redbud Road where we lived, and on Heron Street, where my grandparents lived……both houses had inclined driveways, so…..I fell a lot! However, when you are 7, 8, 9 years old and weigh 50/60 pounds, falling really doesn’t hurt much!

Me, on skates, with my Granny Fletcher and my little brother Philip.

In my early teen years, I graduated to the indoor roller rink, with the nice smooth hardwood floor and great music to skate to…..and some less than upstanding hoodlums as my new-found friends. For Christmas in 1969, all I wanted was my very own “professional” skates…..and I got them! There was one large box under the tree and I insisted it had my skates inside, even though my parents kept saying, no….but….I could SMELL the leather through the wrapping! I was so excited……yay! I was going to look so cool now at the rink, with my very own skates, and I had already started collecting the required pom poms to make me look even cooler!

My new rink skates!

Fast forward to 1979, I was married, had 2 kids, Kelly, 7 and Brian, 2…….and we all loved to skate. Brian was just learning, but Kelly was quite a good little skater. Kelly and I were even taking some lessons together at the rink in Mesquite, Texas where we lived at the time.

Kelly skating...

One Sunday evening, December 16, to be exact, we were at the rink, skating, having a wonderful time……Kelly and I had been practicing some of the things we were learning, and I was working on a particular jump that was easy for her. This jump consisted of skating backward, taking your left foot, putting your toe-stop down behind you, twisting left and turning mid-air and landing on your right foot gliding forward. Easy, right?

Insert maniacal laughter here: Hahahahaha…….my left foot went down, my body twisted left, but my left foot stayed firmly planted on the floor. My left leg twisted, broke my tibia and fibula in a spiral angulated fracture.  Over the music and general noise of the rink, I heard my leg snap. I screamed a blood curdling scream, so loud that my husband heard me from across the building. Several people rushed to my rescue and tried to tell me, that my leg wasn’t broken, but it was swelling so badly, my laces had to be cut so my skate would come off. Oh yes, it was ever so broken!

I spent the next 5 days in the hospital following the surgery on Monday to set my leg. Luckily, I had already finished my Christmas shopping for the kids.  The day I went home from the hospital, on crutches that I could barely navigate, my parents drove down and picked up my kids to keep until Christmas. This was highly unusual, because my parents had never kept my kids, never ever!

Back at the skating rink with the kids....

What made my broken leg even more special, was the fact that my cousin Gwen, had broken her leg 5 weeks before me, same leg, same type of fracture, except she fell in her garage. We were quite a sight for the next few weeks together with matching casts and crutches. And then every year for the next several years, we had our picture made together and called it our “annual leg show”…..

Debi and Gwen 12/31/1980

After my leg healed (10 weeks on crutches followed by 2 weeks in a walking cast), I did go skating again, but just a couple of times, and then I hung up my skates for good. Some things are just not meant to be, and I was not meant to be the Dorothy Hamill of the roller rink.

Every December 16, I recall the events of  1979…..and I wonder….what the heck was I thinking?

Merry Fractured Christmas!

A Merry Fractured Christmas

I have always loved to roller skate, from way back in the day when the skates clamped onto your shoes and you used a key to adjust the length. I skated up and down the sidewalks on Redbud Road where we lived, and on Heron Street, where my grandparents lived……both houses had inclined driveways, so…..I fell a lot! However, when you are 7, 8, 9 years old and weigh 50/60 pounds, falling really doesn’t hurt much!

Me, on skates, with my Granny Fletcher and my little brother Philip.

In my early teen years, I graduated to the indoor roller rink, with the nice smooth hardwood floor and great music to skate to…..and some less than upstanding hoodlums as my new-found friends. For Christmas in 1969, all I wanted was my very own “professional” skates…..and I got them! There was one large box under the tree and I insisted it had my skates inside, even though my parents kept saying, no….but….I could SMELL the leather through the wrapping! I was so excited……yay! I was going to look so cool now at the rink, with my very own skates, and I had already started collecting the required pom poms to make me look even cooler!

My new rink skates!

Fast forward to 1979, I was married, had 2 kids, Kelly, 7 and Brian, 2…….and we all loved to skate. Brian was just learning, but Kelly was quite a good little skater. Kelly and I were even taking some lessons together at the rink in Mesquite, Texas where we lived at the time.

Kelly skating…

One Sunday evening, December 16, to be exact, we were at the rink, skating, having a wonderful time……Kelly and I had been practicing some of the things we were learning, and I was working on a particular jump that was easy for her. This jump consisted of skating backward, taking your left foot, putting your toe-stop down behind you, twisting left and turning mid-air and landing on your right foot gliding forward. Easy, right?

Insert maniacal laughter here: Hahahahaha…….my left foot went down, my body twisted left, but my left foot stayed firmly planted on the floor. My left leg twisted, broke my tibia and fibula in a spiral angulated fracture.  Over the music and general noise of the rink, I heard my leg snap. I screamed a blood curdling scream, so loud that my husband heard me from across the building. Several people rushed to my rescue and tried to tell me, that my leg wasn’t broken, but it was swelling so badly, my laces had to be cut so my skate would come off. Oh yes, it was ever so broken!

I spent the next 5 days in the hospital following the surgery on Monday to set my leg. Luckily, I had already finished my Christmas shopping for the kids.  The day I went home from the hospital, on crutches that I could barely navigate, my parents drove down and picked up my kids to keep until Christmas. This was highly unusual, because my parents had never kept my kids, never ever!

Back at the skating rink with the kids….

What made my broken leg even more special, was the fact that my cousin Gwen, had broken her leg 5 weeks before me, same leg, same type of fracture, except she fell in her garage. We were quite a sight for the next few weeks together with matching casts and crutches. And then every year for the next several years, we had our picture made together and called it our “annual leg show”…..

Debi and Gwen 12/31/1980

After my leg healed (10 weeks on crutches followed by 2 weeks in a walking cast), I did go skating again, but just a couple of times, and then I hung up my skates for good. Some things are just not meant to be, and I was not meant to be the Dorothy Hamill of the roller rink.

Every December 16, I recall the events of  1979…..and I wonder….what the heck was I thinking?

Merry Fractured Christmas!