Being a child of the sixties, it’s a no-brainer to recall a litany of bonehead antics from my past that I might want to change. A few of those teenage misbehaves, like sneaking over to the boys’ camp from the girls’ camp to skinny dip, would be tough to let go. I was ten years old in 1969—too young to go to concerts and too old for my Easy-Bake Oven. I made hippie clothes for my Barbie and listened to the Beatles, Paul Revere and the Raiders, Herman’s Hermits, and The Cowsills ad nauseum. Compared to kids today, I was a goody two shoes. If I could change anything, it would be that I would’ve stuck out my neck to partake in riskier adventures.
When my family lived in New Jersey in the early 70s, I loved every minute of ditching class to ride the train to the end of line and back. I'd quietly stare out the window and assess the passengers reading their newspapers, making up stories about their lives. In those days, there were no cell phones or selfies on social media to bust me. As long as I was home in time for supper and maintained good grades, that was good enough for my parents.
My older sister experienced all the cool stuff—like snagging concert tickets. She would sneak out to see The Rolling Stones, The Doors, and Led Zeppelin. Even Iron Butterfly was on her roster of sneak-away concerts. Best of all, she “experienced” Jimi Hendrix and saw The Who smashing their equipment. Of course, I stuck up for her to avoid the inevitable sibling retaliation.
I was so jealous! Gutless me wouldn’t dare risk getting in trouble. And besides, the cost of the ticket was beyond my reach, even at the outrageous price of $9.50.
To make up for that void, I entered into a thirty-year career in the touring Broadway and concert business, earning my chops in theater basements to settle the shows with the producers. Extremely glamorous—not! I could see anyone I wanted, and often did, but I rarely enjoyed the show. It was work, not pleasure. Instead, I took all those Broadway stars for granted and worked into the wee hours before having to get on a plane home the next morning. Looking back, I should've sat to enjoy the show like everyone else, without a critical eye on what wasn’t perfect.
I met all kinds of stars, but most of them were just talented, average people who happened to get famous. Take Micky Rooney, for instance. I sat on a concrete step with him in the alley behind the Colonial Theater in Boston. His one-man show was his last hoorah. We talked about all kinds of stuff, but mostly he bitched about how horrible it was being famous. Lack of privacy and all.
Now that so many of my childhood icons are dying, the losses smart in a way that I can’t explain. These people were never supposed to get old and die—Lou Reed, David Bowie, Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash, George Harrison, Tom Petty. They were all supposed to be frozen in time until I died, not them. I wish I’d been a pain-in-the-butt and made my sister take me with her to all those concerts. There were so many wasted opportunities that I now regret.
A sense of urgency hits me when I slide a CD into the player, and I’m compelled to say, “God, I wish I’d seen this band in their heyday.” It’s not the same when the bands attempt that last cash-in by going on a “Farewell, Farewell-Again Tour.” A seventy-year-old rocker replicating their youthful moves is more comical than entertaining. They aren’t quite how I remembered them.
A big exception was Tom Petty. Two years ago, we took the plunge to see Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers at Red Rocks near Denver. An amazing talent in an equally amazing venue. One month later he was found dead. That Red-Rocked us to our core, and left us wishing we’d seen The Travelling Wilburys, a compilation band whose members were Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Roy Orbison, and Jeff Lynn. Now, only Jeff Lynn is left of the entire iconic group.
|Photo: Washington Post|
Most of all, watching those movies and listening to the lyrics on those albums shaped my writing. Without them, I doubt I would've had the imagination to write any of the novels I do today.
|Photo: Micah Brooks|
Courtney Pierce is a fiction writer living in Kalispell, Montana with her husband, stepdaughter, and their brainiac cat, Princeton. Courtney writes for the baby boomer audience. She spent 28 years as an executive in the entertainment industry and used her time in a theater seat to create stories that are filled with heart, humor, and mystery. She studied craft and storytelling at the Attic Institute and has completed the Hawthorne Fellows Program for writing and publishing. Active in the writing community, Courtney is a board member of the Northwest Independent Writers Association and on the Advisory Council of the Independent Publishing Resource Center. She is a member of Willamette Writers, Pacific Northwest Writers Association, and She Writes. The Executrix received the Library Journal Self-E recommendation seal.
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Book 3 of the
The Dushane Sisters Trilogy concludes with Indigo Legacy, available now. There's love in the air for Olivia and Woody, but will family intrigue get in the way? Ride along for the wild trip that starts in a New York auction house and peaks in a mansion on Boston's Beacon Hill.
The Dushane sisters finally get to the truth about their mother.