Thursday, July 4, 2019


I did not see the Obituary.  As soon as I open the daily paper, I go to the Obits page(s) and see who died.  Sometime it's a teacher or a school official, sometimes former co-workers or just a person who was known in the area. But I missed Her's.

She was none of the above.  We met in Siena College, junior year for me (age 21, and she was a sophomore.  I did some humor pieces for the college student newspaper called the Indian (it is now called, well, some politically correct name).  It was that and the days in class that started her and I talking in the main hallway in the main building one day. Then we said our goodbyes. She went left. I went right, but stopped for and looked back.

For the first time in my life I said, "God, she's got a great ass." I still assume no one heard me.  Off I go to Latin class.

Things are a little sketchy at this point as my brain had been devoted itself to handling my father's deterioration after an accident at work that send him into fast senility and death.  I became his main caretaker at night when my mother would go to bingo, not to win but be away from us. (OK, that's enough of that.  There's stuff in the other stories here if you need it).

In the summer of 1977 we started going to shows local shows such as the Hullabaloo and J.B.Scott's, Albany Palace, and venues in Hartford, CT, and Philadelphia, and the RPI Fieldhouse in Troy, no doubt other spots as well.  I saw Springsteen with her in November 1977 at he Fieldhouse.  I had never seen anything like him and his band.  While the others in our small band of Siena brothers and sisters would opt out now and then, we'd be there sipping rum and cokes and see Joe Jackson, Elvis Costello, Rachel Sweet, David Johansen and/or the New York Dolls, Lena Lovich, the Scientific Americans (if you remember DEVO, the ones who had the plant pot hats, like that. Just Horrible. The Worst Band in 1977 to play at J.B. Scott's.

All of those places are gone now, except for the Fieldhouse, and I'm fairly certain no concerts are done there now.  And there were drives.  Springsteen in Hartford, CT.  She would drive, always in the her Le Car...

OK, here's was black actually, the inside as well.

Now I had Lansingburg's mighty machine - my father's 1974 AMC Matador....and yes, his car was dark blue really...

All I heard was "No way am I riding in that. I will drive my own. Let's go."

So we did.  For Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes.  For Springsteen, and then for Springsteen, and again Elvis Costello....  All she wanted was Elvis' autograph and since I was the more mobile of the two of us (yes, I thought something seemed odd with that "great ass") so after she dropped me off at home and yelled I'll pick you up at 5:30!)  What?  So I did what good American guys do.  I shaved, changed my shirt, went and sat on my porch until I saw a the Le Car approaching the house.  My father opened our front door.

"Hey, what are you doing out here?" he asked, as he stepped out in his underwear on the porch.  The Le Car waited.

"I'm going to an early breakfast," I said. "You go back inside, please."

"What was that?" she asked as I flopped into the passenger sheet, rock and roll on the radio to steady.  I just shook my head.  My father seemed out of  it.

We drove to the hotel where we knew (she knew) Elvis and his band. "We're gonna have breakfast with Elvis C."

If you want to get in a rock star's groupie, sit in a chair in a casual way with some bad fitting t shirts, and grungy jeans. So we did, and we were first into the dining room.  When Elvis and his "friend" sat down a table away from, she told me to go ask for an autograph.

"Nope," I said. "he's having his breakfast. Not me.  Feel free to pop on over and say"

So much for that.  We can claim to have had breakfast with one of the great English rock and roll stars in the same room.

Coming back from a New Jersey (Bruce again) concert, we went to Asbury Park and I checked out every pinball place on the Boardwalk, looking for Bruce or Miami Steve Nope.  Slept well that night knowing where Bruce wasn't.  She had to be helped from her seat by a security guard.  I followed behind with her crutches.

The last time was an overnight in Philadelphia, Bruce times two! From what I can recall we had good seats and no problems.  The next day we did the tour of Philadelphia, but She was tired of walking, and made the stupid move to change what line we were in and ended up further away from Independence Hall.  The final concert  had us on the floor sixth rows from the stage! We could smell Bruce's cologne, I swear! This was gonna beat all the other shows!

Yep.  Red alert

She could see nothing but  as everyone around us were standing on their chairs, cheering saying "Bruce!"  I held her up as well as I could, even a kind guy asked to help and together we lifted her, but that tired all of us. I asked security for a chair any chair, wheeled or whatever so She could see. They said "No". So she sat down on the only chair She had and cried.

The show ended, we got out of there, and the ride home was quiet.  She dropped me off at my car, and I drove home alone.  I felt something change.  My time with her was the best of all.

There were other times, of course, that were just us or our gang all and we loved being young, free, and singing along with the music on Q104 radio.

Its nice to carry those memories. They sort of allow me to think of couldas and wouldas, especially since I was diagnosed with Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (just like my father was [underwear guy?]. The diseases have many similarities, the outlook not great. But we fight, we fight for the life were given.  And I know you did, ma belle. You would.

Michelle, ma belle.
These are words that go together well
My Michelle.
Michelle, ma belle.
Sont des mots qui vont très bien ensemble
Très bien ensemble.
I love you, I love you, I love you,
That's all I want to say.
Until I find a way
I will say the only words I know that you'll understand
My MIchelle
Michelle, ma belle.
Sont des mots qui vont très bien ensemble
Très bien ensemble.
I need to, I need to, I need to,
I need to make you see
Oh, what you mean to me.
Until I do I'm hoping you will
Know what I mean.
I love you...
I want you, I want you, I want you,
I think you know by now