Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The music that didn't die...

Along the way... by Rosie

The music that didn’t die...

It seemed like a good idea at the time.  They were leaving Clear Lake, Iowa and heading for Moorhead, MN for their next gig.  It was February 2, 1959.

Instead of riding in a cold bus, Buddy Holly hired a private plane to get some of the band members there early.  

According to reports, Holly kidded a band member who had given up his seat on the plane by saying, “I hope your ol’ bus freezes up!”  And the band member shot back in fun, “Well, I hope your ol’ plane crashes!”  This joke haunted him thereafter because just after midnight, on Februrary 3, the airplane carrying Holly, the “Big Bopper” - J. P. Richardson and Ritche Valens crashed.

All on board died.  Buddy Holly was only 22 years old.

Holly was one of the first inductees in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986.  Rolling Stone ranked him number 13 among the 100 Greatest Artists of All time.
  Holly was one of the first in his style of music to write, produce, and perform his own songs.  Because of his poor vision, he had to wear glasses.  Soon they would become part of his image.

Recently, the Shepherd’s Center of Cannon Falls held a fund raiser inviting John Mueller, whose band does an impression of the famous musicians recreating memories of “The Day the Music Died”.  
The Cannon Falls high school auditorium was sold out.  Over 600 people bought tickets.  I couldn’t wangle a press pass either.

I got there 45 minutes early and was told that 200 people had been lined up earlier!

I found a place in the front row - not taken because you couldn’t see the whole stage!  Plus, the loud speakers for the sound system were about 6 feet away!
I thought - so what?  When I was a teenager I would turn up the stereo as loud as I could - so I could feel the floor vibrate... when my folks weren’t home of course!

I hadn’t been a Buddy Holly fan back then.  In fact, I really only knew one of his songs, “Peggy Sue”.  
But I thought I would learn something by going to the concert.

And the “beat” got to me!  It was the same as others I remembered.  And when the band invited folks to dance, I couldn’t resist!  

I wouldn’t have though if I had been in another town. But I had just passed the police chief, my friend, who was on duty watching the crowd to make sure things were safe... and my editor had taken my seat because I wasn’t using it... and so I threw my purse and camera to the gal in the next seat (it’s a small town and I knew her!)... and because the lights were focused on the stage and nobody would see me (yeah right!), Paul and I danced.  Later on, other folks would do so.
Like “Buddy Holly” said, it was music where you could understand the words!

But there were some other gals in the audience who were fans.  They call themselves, The Katfish Kittens.  They are 25 year olds from St. Paul dressed in ’50’s vintage outfits.  (Actually, I’ve probably got some of those still in my closet.)  

    Drea Warda will soon take her bar exams to be an attorney for international business negotiations, Andrea Geiger is a materials manager for a small medical device company and Crystal Doffing is a teller at a bank.

    But I wondered... did we really wear these clothes?  I remember having pony tails... and “saddle shoes”... but Buddy Holly glasses?
    And then I remembered this cute guy in history class at the University of Minnesota.  And those glasses he wore  were really “cool”!  

John Mueller as Buddy Holly.                                          
Paul Schluter as “cool” college student
 in 1960! 
                                                                                                                                And now it’s over 50 years later and I smile because I also took his last name for mine!

And as I recall those times I think that as long as there are people who enjoy these songs, their music will never die.

John Mueller as Buddy Holly, Linwood Sasser as the Big Bopper and Ray Anthony as Ritchie Valens 
along with Paul and me - 2014.



Friday, January 10, 2014

A "Good" mistake!

 A mistake... that turned out good!

Although she’d had a horrendous headache the night before, Natalie Thomas was feeling good enough to join her family as they settled down to watch a movie recently.
Former Cannon Falls residents now living in Hudson, WI,  Natalie, novelist and oil painter and her husband Brent, a photographer at Midwest-CBK were planning to watch one of Natalie’s late father's favorites, “Young Frankenstein”.  Along with their children Cassie, Nicholas, and Savannah they settled in for a relaxing family gathering.   
But a short time later, an unusual event took place.  
Natalie explained, “It was at the part of the film where the lightning flashes and Gene Wilder, playing Dr. Frankenstein, talks about mortality, being alive, etc. - and that’s when the beeping started.
Yes, that’s when the Thomas’ carbon monoxide detector gave off its annoying sound.   

Information from Wikipedia explains that since carbon monoxide is colorless, tasteless and odorless... detection in a home environment is impossible without such a warning device. 
But this style of detector didn’t give any information on its dial.   Brent searched their garage for a second device that displayed numbers.  When it was plugged in they were horrified to see that it registered nearly 100 ppm.  

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission website: 
As CO levels increase and remain above 70 ppm, symptoms become more noticeable and can include headache, fatigue and nausea. At sustained CO concentrations above 150 to 200 ppm, disorientation, unconsciousness, and death are possible.

Unknown to the Thomases, the exhaust stack of their furnace had been blocked by an ice build-up from the vapor freezing, which caused carbon monoxide to build up in their house.

With this warning news, Brent climbed up onto the roof, unclogged the vent and they watched the numbers go back down to zero.  
No more headache for Natalie.
They figured the ice might have been building up for a couple of days.
And they wondered what one more night would have brought them in their sleep.  

Natalie wrote on her Facebook page about another curious angle on this experience.  Remember the original CO detector that had warned them of the danger?   They found out the beeping hadn't been coming from that unit!  It was actually from the smoke alarm on the ceiling.  It was the low battery warning. 

Natalie concluded: “... if we had not made the mistake of thinking that the beeping was coming from the CO detector, we'd have never checked it with the second detector. Ummm... Divine intervention?... Happy to be alive, and that our family is safe.”

And with that comforting thought - that sometimes 
a mistake can turn out to be a good thing - we wish you a Happy New Year 2014!   

Holidays with the Thomas family - feeling good!  Savannah, Nicholas, Brent, Cassie and Natalie.