Loves of my Life
I can't remember a time when I didn't love nature. It was always beautiful and amazing to me. Of course I loved my parents and my siblings just as a normal kid does. The love for my father was extremely strong even after his death. Though he was not here with me physically, he has been with me in spirit, throughout my life. I loved animals, having pets around was terrific. We had cats, dogs, birds, hamsters, and fish. I was told I loved to sleep with kittens. My mother told me she would find kittens curled up in my arms in the mornings.
I loved music, there was music playing in our house a good majority of the time. If it wasn't my mother's down home country music, or my oldest siblings' music from their teens, it would be my middle siblings playing their favorites, until I was old enough to choose for myself. There was always a good variation of styles from the late 1930's to the year 1980.
My next love would be riding bike. Like a normal kid I loved running and tree climbing but now there was this fun thing called a bicycle and it looked like fun. One of my neighbors taught me how to ride her bike and that was it, I was hooked. I didn't have one of my own so I always had to borrow one. Quite often I would take off on my older brother's bike. It was too big for me, so I would put one leg through under the cross bar, and ride that way. (I called it side-saddle.) It probably wasn't good for me to be in such an odd position but I loved it anyway. The Yoga and gymnastics I had been practicing probably helped make it easier to pedal around in such a way. Yoga and gymnastics were also favorite things to do. I would frequently be found turning cartwheels, flips and tumbling in our yard. Drawing, coloring, putting jigsaw puzzles together, writing, and listening to music. Dancing was my fondest outlet though, that and singing along with the music.
There were times when I would just walk around outside looking at the trees, flowers and scenery. Sometimes meditating but most times visiting with my deceased father, or just talking to God. Once my mother saw me wandering in this way and worried something was wrong. She asked me about it when I came back into the house. I told her that I was fine and was just admiring the plants. I guess I should have let her in on my visits.
Boys didn't really interest me much. They were just like my girl friends, we hung out playing tag, racing each other and talking. When I was eleven, however a neighbor boy decided he liked me and asked me to go steady. We had one kiss in the hedges at the edge of my yard and one date that his mother drove us to at the drive-in theater. Other than that we behaved the same as we had before he asked me to go steady. We never really broke up but it was over somehow. It must have been mutual.
At fifteen I did start to see boys as more than friends but there were so few that really interested me. I was more attracted to older guys. Another neighbor boy asked me to go steady and because I did like him I said yes but later that summer when he started talking marriage I broke it off. I knew he was not the one I wanted to spend the rest of my life with and we were too young for such a commitment.
You Made Me Believe in Magic
When I began to think of guys as more than friends there were only a couple at school that interested me and they didn't seem to notice me. Then there were the celebrity interests. All along I knew I would never even meet them but that didn't stop the dreaming. I felt an extra connection with one particular celebrity, one who didn't seem to fit in such a life because he was so real. He didn't appear to be putting on any airs, he was just himself. I loved to hear him sing, his voice was so sexy and sounded as if he truly felt what he was singing. Unfortunately, for him as well as the other guys in the band they were mismanaged and mistreated, even by some of their own fans. Even though I loved to hear him sing I didn't understand the hysteria that went with this band. I thought the point was to hear them play not to scream through the performance and rip the guys apart.
I can't even remember half the actors and only remember a few musician/singers that intrigued me. The Bay City Rollers were behind times when they reached the States. The music they were doing then was more of a 50's/60's style and we were into heavier music in the 70's, I believe things could have been different for them had they been able to play more 70's style music. I believe that I may always remember Leslie McKeown though, and he will always occupy a place in my heart. In the video to the right if you watch close you can see Les make a joke about having to lip-sync here. This is an example of what I call "being himself."
Seventeen came around and I was dating a couple of guys. I felt more for the one than I did for the other. I had been friends with Steve for a couple of years and he was friends with my younger brother as well. We were in the same grade and had some classes together. Earl was a little bit older and more mature, besides the fact that we did not start off as friends. There was a spark there when we met. Even though that didn't work out, I believe he was my first love. At least of the men I would actually spend time with.
Some of my sisters started taking me dancing. I was allowed in as long as I didn't drink. That was fine with me I wanted to dance. I met a couple of guys who were charming and there was interest on both sides. I dated Ray for awhile but he had a bit of a drinking problem and I didn't want to get too attached to someone with a habit such as that. Jeff-- well, my sisters scared that boy right out of my life. They had a habit of cornering any guy who might be interested in their baby sister and warning him not to hurt me.
When I was twenty years old, my oldest niece, Gloria and I went out dancing. She is only a few years younger than me. She had a boyfriend and she saw him on the street as we passed and asked him if he would like to go. He had a friend with him so he came along as well. Even though I was not really interested in him at first, we ended up engaged to be married and were together for five years before it ended.
I actually wanted to hook him up with one of my sisters in the beginning, but his persistence paid off. I asked one of my sisters, "How do you know if he's the right one?" Her answer, "You will have doubts up until you marry --and even after that." (Take note of this as it will come up again.) Once we were together I wanted to be with him all of the time. Without realizing it I was smothering him and keeping him from being himself. Eventually, I noticed and started trying to give him space but then he didn't want it anymore. We argued frequently. He had become lazy, apathetic and more annoying. (I'm sorry for this, Chris, but I hope you learned something from the relationship as well.) As you can guess this relationship didn't work out either.
Strange Loves II
The next relationship was a big mistake, a rebound thing. I lost my better judgement and followed some bad advice. But from this relationship, I was blessed, with a little bundle to love, and she became my world. Three years had gone by since my engagement ended. My ex-fiance was still following me around and trying to get me back. Why, I don't know he must have been a sadist. He even said that my daughter was his child. I told him she couldn't be, as I was not an elephant and did not carry the baby for two years. At twenty-seven I was an unwed mother but I couldn't have been happier. At least that is what I thought.
My daughter was six weeks old when my nephew, my cousin, my brother and his girlfriend, decided that I needed to get out and "have some fun!" They were going to a place called McGlynn's Pub for New Year's Eve and they bought my ticket and lined up a babysitter for me insisting I go. I didn't really want to but I went to make them happy, not realizing my cousin was going to try to get me to pick up a guy. She started pointing out man after man and saying, "What about him? He's cute." I would only agree and go on with my conversation with my brother and nephew. She would again point someone out and tell me he was good looking and inquire to whether I agreed. Then she began asking me which one I wanted. I was happy with my life as it was. I was not interested in finding anyone at that point, so I told her none of them, I was not looking. She acted as if she didn't hear me as she replied, "you have to pick one, you can't have them all." This went on for half the night so finally to get her to leave me alone, I picked one, the bass player in the band.
Love at First Sight
"Sunset Strip" was a three piece band with a guitarist/sax player, a drummer, and a bassist. They all sang back-up and the guitar and bass players sang lead. One particular song when the bass player was singing, my brother commented that the bass player had had voice lessons. I asked how he could tell and he answered that it was the way he held his mouth. Not long after that the band went on break. My nephew approached the guitar player and was talking to him. His name was Herb but he went by Deuce. The drummer, Rob joined the conversation and shortly after Bruce, the bass player joined too. I soon overheard my nephew saying to Bruce, "You've had voice lessons haven't you?" Why this bothered me, I am not sure but I felt as though he was trying to take the credit for noticing the voice lessons. So I stood up and said that my brother had commented on it and that my nephew was taking credit for it. Again I am not sure why I said my brother and my nephew but there it was, and that was all Bruce needed to hear. He came over and sat down beside me and spent the rest of his break there as well as all other breaks that night. I picked him to get my cousin to leave me and him alone but ended up being courted. I showed him a picture of my daughter at three weeks old and mentioned that she was six weeks old and he didn't run away. He thought I said months but still he stayed by my side.
By the end of the night I was quite interested in this man. Surprising when I had given up on finding anyone special. I didn't want him to leave without having my number--another rare thing. I never liked to give out my number and the few times I thought about it I never acted on it, but this time was different. I took my New Year's Eve hat and found a pen to write, "Remember me, Darlene" along with my phone number at the time. He was packing his bass up and I was afraid he would leave, so I rushed over to give him the hat. He replied, "Oh, I was not leaving without it!" He still has that hat today.
He called me the next day and apparently I showed how happy I was because my sisters teased me about it. He invited me to come and hear the band again the next weekend. After that it was difficult to keep us apart which was interesting since we lived about 45 miles away from each other and neither one of us had a car at the time. We found ways to get together anyway and when we couldn't we wrote letters. We would send at least one letter a day. I would put a letter in the mailbox and then receive one shortly after when the mailman came that day to deliver.
We got along wonderfully and the question I had asked my sister earlier was answered for me. Unlike what she had told me, I had no doubts at all that he was the one. He told me that he knew right away. He said that normally he would see a girl on the dance floor and admire this part or that part, but when he saw me he thought to himself, "I want her!" His mother told me that he told her that he had met a girl he believed he could fall in love with very easily. In his letters without realizing it he was telling me he had already fallen. We began planning our wedding within three months of our first meeting, and married in nine. He adopted my daughter and we produced a son, born the next year. We are still happy together and arguments are minimal, debating is a little more frequent but it is very rare for us to really be angry with each other.
My husband singing a J. Geils Band cover
I still love nature maybe even more now than I did then. I feel a need to be close to it and absorb some every day. Pets are a thing of the past, I prefer them in the wild, where they belong. I still enjoy watching the wild pets we have running around or flying through our yard. Earlier there were several birds at the feeder. American Goldfinch, House Finch, Red Winged Blackbirds, Nuthatch, and Tufted Titmouse, to name a few. I just witnessed a chipmunk chase a short time ago and a pair of mourning doves cuddling each other on the back deck. Now as I look out my window, I see a nice gentle rain coming down to make the greenery even greener. I noticed a Green Heron flying away from the pond and a train of baby Mallards just plowed into their mother as she stopped short.
I don't do gymnastics anymore but Yoga is still among my activities. I am no longer able to do large jigsaw puzzles because I don't have a place where my grand daughter can't reach. That little girl is a whiz at puzzles though, and maybe I should see if she could handle a larger one. I color with my grand kids occasionally and sometimes we do crafts, but most of the time they like me or grandpa to read to them. As you see I still write. I still love to dance, listen to music and sing along. Most of all I love my husband and my family.