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In the Wings

My Life with Roger McGuinn and The Byrds


Ianthe McGuinn


Text Only First Edition

Published 2017

NEW HAVEN PUBLISHING LTD

www.newhavenpublishingltd.com

newhavenpublishing@gmail.com



All rights reserved

The rights of Ianthe McGuinn, as the author of this work, have been asserted in accordance with the Copyrights, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

No part of this book may be re-printed or reproduced or utilized in any form or by any electronic, mechanical or other means, now unknown or hereafter invented, including photocopying, and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without the written permission of the Author and Publisher.


Cover Photo©Cyril Maitland


Cover design©Pete Cunliffe

pcunliffe@blueyonder.co.uk








Copyright © 2017 Ianthe McGuinn

All rights reserved

ISBN: 978-1-910705-85-8





Table of Contents


Chapter 1: Destiny Train*

Chapter 2: Prologue – Arizona Snapshots*

Chapter 3: 1963-64 Limitless Possibilities*

Chapter 4: 1965 Forging New Adventures*

Chapter 5: 1966 Prejudice vs Fifth Dimension, Baby*

Chapter 6: 1967 Change is Now*

Chapter 7: 1968 Tromping Muddy Pastures with Rolling Stones*

Chapter 8: 1969 Juggling Chaos and Second Child*

Chapter 9: 1970 Three is a Crowd*

Chapter 10: 1971 Earthquake: God’s Answer – Pick Up, Dust Off*

Chapter 11: 1972-75 Rebuilding (A Family sans Father)*

Chapter 12: 1976-89 The Ties that Bind*

Chapter 13: Epilogue - Forgiveness*

Chapter 14: Afterword*

Chapter 15: Praise*

About the Author





Chapter 1

*Destiny Train*



We are all given choices. Decisions must be made, goals must be set. How options affect our lives has always fascinated me. Riding in a train through the Italian countryside in 1968, we passed a small brick cottage. A young woman stood in the open doorway. It was summer. She wore a white shirt and pale blue skirt. Her left arm rested against the doorframe. She watched the train as we passed. I imagined it was something she did as a daily ritual, longing to be a passenger in a train that would take her away, dreaming of exotic places. What had been her destiny? She probably married a boy from the same village and had a brood of wild-haired children. I could have been that woman. It was me in the train, though, going from Rome to Calais. I was there with my husband, the man I loved. He was a member of the Byrds, a rock and roll band popular in the Sixties. They were on a European tour.

We had met in Los Angeles in late 1964. He was a struggling musician and I was a student and part-time waitress at the Ash Grove, a coffee house that featured traditional folk music. I was in love the moment I saw him. He had a halo around his golden hair. That was enough of a message for me.

He came in, sat in the back of the room, and listened to the music, quiet, pensive. I brought him coffee and plates of spaghetti. We used my evening’s tips to fill the gas tank of an old Renault I had just bought. We’d drive around Los Angeles with other members of the band squeezed into the back seat. They were heady times.

In the summer of 1965, the Byrds’ first record hit the charts. Girlfriends became history as the band’s wallets were filled and groupies clamored for their attention. Jim and I managed to survive the turbulence of the changes and got married after our son, Patrick, was born in 1966. How we both made the choices that brought us to that moment in time is a mystery. Fate evolved and we connected.

We really don’t know what guides us through life. Sometimes we live our lives ignoring messages and missing events. Overwhelmed by the acts of daily living we forget the Now. Stop... listen to your heart and body. Weigh your spirit. They hold the answer and the key.


(from a journal entry, November 8, 1995)





Chapter 2

*Prologue – Arizona Snapshots*



Arizona was part of the New Mexico Territory when my family settled in the region. Gold and silver finds in the Chiricahua Mountains lured young men, including Wyatt Earp. Grandfather Quireno Montoya constructed his stone house in those rugged hills between Dos Cabezas and Mascot. The nearest city was Wilcox where a train station had been built in 1880. He was originally from Santa Fe, New Mexico. He had stern, handsome features, his Spanish heritage evident. Seeing old photos of him, it is certain you did not want to be on his bad side.

Mother, Esperanza Montoya, was born at home in 1915, three years after Arizona gained statehood. ‘Esperanza’ means ‘Hope’ in Spanish. By then her father had become night watchman at the Mascot mine. She was the second to youngest of twelve children. Her mother, Dolores, was a midwife and essential to the community. I was named after her. My grandparents were true pioneers of the old American West. Because of Mother's history, character and determination, she was featured in a popular nonfiction book about Mexican-American women titled Songs My Mother Sang to Me written by Patricia Martin in 1992.

My father, Marcus DeLeon, was debonair, sophisticated and well dressed, compared to the boys Mother knew in Globe, Arizona. They met in 1930. He drove a Lincoln Zephyr his mother bought him. Dad had a stylish presence that was irresistible to Mom's small town reserve. They met at a dance. He whispered in her ear that she would be his wife. He had instantly fallen in love with her shy, sweet goodness.

Mother had a beautiful face, wavy brown hair and an hourglass figure; some said she resembled Kay Francis, a 1930s actress. Esperanza was only fifteen when she met Marcus. It was a whirlwind romance. They had to lie about her age to marry.

I was the fourth child, born November 3, 1942 during World War II. By then Dad was working for a copper mine in Ray, Arizona, an essential worker for the war. My siblings, Bernice, then nine, Marcus, eight years old, and Hugo, seven, were not sure what to make of me because I cried all the time, only stopping when Mother was in my line of vision.

When I was a toddler, my parents grew unhappy. A failing business venture led to Dad's excessive drinking. The death of Grandma Dolores and my unexpected arrival complicated the relationship. My parents divorced in 1945. Mother took her kids to the dusty town of Tucson, Arizona, where her sisters lived and where I grew up.

I was too young to remember my parents being together. I would later see my father on summer visits to Miami, Arizona, where he lived in close proximity to his mother and sister. His mother, Rumalda, owned a Mexican restaurant and boarding house there, which had been a staple of the community, and helped the family survive during the Great Depression. My Aunt Elojia eventually took over the business.

My earliest childhood memory was of a big house in Tucson divided into three apartments, where my aunts lived above and below us. I lived with my mother and three older siblings. The Santa Cruz River was on the west side of the complex and along the banks were rows of cottonwood and tamarix trees.

During the summer monsoon season, the river was full and ran wildly. We could hear the roar of water and the croaking of frogs. My uncle Manuel had a fenced-off area where he raised rabbits. He occasionally used them for food. I remember rabbit pelts on the roof of the pen, salted and laid out to dry. He worked for the Southern Pacific Railroad.

Attached to Manuels house was a cellar, probably used by bootleggers in the Prohibition days. The floor was packed dirt. In the corners of the cellar were large bullfrogs, or Colorado River toads, as big as salad plates, lying still in the cool earth, their yellow eyes reflecting in the light. Manuel had baskets of dry goods on the shelves: onions, potatoes and other root vegetables. He had a small leftover Victory Garden where he grew corn, melon, carrots and radishes.

Since my mother worked, my aunt Sarah, Manuels wife, took care of me in the morning when my older siblings left for school. She gave me breakfast, usually a bowl of Cream of Wheat or oatmeal. Sarah prepared a large bowl for metoo large to finish. Youre not leaving the table until you finish your breakfast,she scolded. By that time, the cereal had turned cold and lumpy, and Id stare into it, knowing I couldnt finish.

She forced me to sit and squirm, until Uncle Manuel came to my rescue and said, Now, Sarah. Let Dolores go out and play. You cant force a child to eat.

Shes going to see that cereal for lunch!shed threaten.

Dont stand next to that broomstick, Dolores,Uncle warned. Your aunt is going to think youre the broom and start sweeping with you. Maybe you should have eaten that cereal!

When Manuel came home from work, hed always saved his desserta cookie, a piece of cakefor me. Hed let me open his tin lunch box to see what was there, and I thought it was like opening a treasure chest. He was a loving uncle and we spent many mornings listening to the radio soap operas, Helen Trent, Our Gal Sunday and Young Doctor Malone.

Next to the house was a huge building that had once been a ballroom. It had been converted into a factory called The Milk Print. They made plastic bags and little bags of dye filled with pale margarine, and a dye capsule, to combine the margarine, for that particular brand. My mother worked there part-time to support us.

Sometimes we kids snuck into a large rear storage room at the Milk Print that was not in use. It was filled with old soda fountain tables and chairs, and a closet with New Years Eve costumes: paper top hats, gentlemens canes, party masks and streamers. We played with them, and no one noticed or seemed to care.

The triplex we lived in was behind a family restaurant called the Chicken Castle on Congress Street in downtown Tucson. My mother also worked there in the kitchen briefly, before she worked at the margarine plant. I remember waiting for her, on a porch swing in the back of the restaurant. I often fell asleep waiting. Hugo would sometimes wait with me. In those days, people didnt lock their doors, or worry about child abduction, and thought nothing of children, alone, waiting quietly.

I remember with tears in my eyes the innocence I felt knowing this was my home, my people. I owned it all it was everything. The poverty that I eventually came to realize I was a part of never affected me. In those times, the birds sang every spring, and blades of grass popped up between the cracks of the concrete walk where I skipped. On more thoughtful days I kicked stones that singularly met the toe of my shoe.

Life seemed glorious, with the bluest of skies and white puffs of clouds that floated by, and a smell of honeysuckle that tickled my brain. God was good and sweet and oh, how I longed to be good and sweet and somehow deserve all this. After a rain, there were tadpoles, and in the soon dry riverbeds, where the earth curled, we made plates and dined with pretty pieces of broken glass we collected.

Across the river on the other bank, an old Mexican man named Lucero had started sculpting the Saints and Jesus into life-size tableaus of the Last Supper and Jesus on the cross. My two brothers and my cousin, Henry, helped him raise the cross. Lucero had fought in World War I and made a promise to the Virgin Mary, as he lay injured on the battlefield, that if he survived the war he would dedicate the rest of his life to making religious sculptures in tribute to God.

Lucero lived under the bridge in a plywood shack, his only shelter. As a small girl, I went to see him as he worked on his sculptures. He was very quiet, but a bit more talkative with my brothers. Nothing was going to deter Lucero from making the statues. His method was to gather river clay, packing it tight over objects hed find, putting chicken wire around certain shapes, and then covering the form with white plaster, where hed add more detail. The process was fascinating. The area, now known as the Garden of Gethsemane, still stands today. I go there on occasion.

I loved my mother very much. She was strict but affectionate, a disciplinarian who always kept an immaculate home. We thought she could do anything. Single mothers were a growing phenomenon in those days. She had four children to raise in a very tough, post-war Arizona.

She was a force in the kitchen, having worked as a young girl helping her mother, when miners boarded at their house. She could make any type of food, with excellent results. My earliest food memory of her delicious cooking was roast beef, mashed potatoes and string beans. People think just because youre Mexican, you dont make standard, all-American food,she would say. Her repertoire was varied. My favorite dishes were her beef tacos, tamales and fried chicken. She could make every kind of pie, and she started working in a professional pie kitchen, in a downtown Tucson restaurant, Georgettes. This job provided the most stability for the family.

Around my fifth birthday in 1947, my mother met and later married Augustine Padilla, a kind, gentle man with dark good looks. The courage that he had to take on four children along with my mother was admirable, and showed how much he loved her. I have a vivid memory of my jealous father, Marcus, trying to win my mother back by punching poor Daddy Gus in the eye, almost blinding him. My uncles came to Gusrescue, and pulled my raging father away.

My father Marcus had a violent temper, exacerbated by alcohol. Although he loved my mother, he made her suffer a great deal. Any time he appeared, we knew trouble would ensue. It just seemed to follow him. My siblings later shared stories of the pain and suffering he brought to the house, and the fear they lived in when he drank, when my parents were still married. He had a Jekyll-and-Hyde personality, which emerged after his first drink of liquor. I heard tales of brawls in bars triggered by a passing glance from a stranger he didnt like.

Despite this, I loved my father very much. I stuck by him, even as my other siblings distanced themselves as they grew older. I was always eager to visit my father during my childhood. Grandma Rumaldas restaurant left me with memories of plentiful, good food and stacks of Barqs soda. Miami was a small mining town that was still active, and it was always good to see my cousins who lived there, too.

Back in Tucson, Gus moved us to a small house off Sixth Avenue near the Santa Cruz Church, which was where they decided I should attend first grade. They wanted me to get a Catholic education. The nuns were very rigid. I walked to school in the morning and along the way I would meet my friend Carmen, and wed walk together the remaining distance. One day, I left my lunch box at Carmens. When lunchtime came, I told Sister Margaret, who became furious at me. As punishment, I had to sit in front of the lunch auditorium, watching everyone else eat. I was not only hungry but also deeply hurt. I remember the little faces ignoring me as I stared out at them. One of the bullies stared at me and chewed his food with his mouth open to mock me. I turned to look out the window for the rest of the lunch break.

To add insult to injury, when lunch was over, I was kept after school. I had to lay my head on the desk. After Sister Margaret left, a kind nun took me into their kitchen and gave me half a cheese sandwich. Never had something tasted so good before, as I sat at their table in the faculty kitchen. I began crying, confused by this strange torture, because my mother had never starved me before. I was finally sent home.

As I made my way back, my brother Marcus was coming toward me on his bicycle.

Mom sent me; she wants to know why youre so late.

I couldnt hold back my tears, and I told him the story of the forgotten lunch box and the cruel treatment by Sister Margaret.

I sat on the top tube of the bike, hanging onto the handlebars, crying all the way, as Marcus pedaled us home. That evening, my uncle Eddie, Moms brother, came to visit, and heard the story. He was furious, and demanded that Mother withdraw me from that school immediately.

Those nuns are wicked!he exclaimed.

Within the week, I transferred to Carrillo Public Elementary School. Not long after, Gus moved us to a big house on Wood Street in the nearby Barrio El Hoyo. It was a working-class neighborhood, but the house offered more space. Mom discovered that there was no gas connection for her stove. She soon realized the entire neighborhood did not have natural gas service. Shocked, she started a petition everyone in the neighborhood signed. It was a happy day when Mom could start cooking her meals with her own stove, using natural gas. Gus worked at a furniture store in the shipping department. A new baby son, Larry, came along in 1949. Id been the youngest, so of course being displaced was something I had to get used to. Larry was a baby boomer, and was going to be lavished with more privileges, as he was Daddy Gusonly son.

One day I took the baby for a ride in his buggy in the front yard. Larry was probably about two months old. It was a black leather buggy, with large wheels and a collapsing sun hood. I pushed the lumbering buggy around the yard, when suddenly the large wheel caught on a brick in the walkway. To my horror, the entire buggy flipped on its side, and baby Larry started wailing.

I cried out to my mother and started screaming, The baby!She ran from the porch where shed been visiting with a friend. She lifted Larry from the tangled bedding and inspected him for any injuries, and he gradually quieted down. I expected Mom to punish me, but she took pity on me, and said, Hes okay. Hes not hurt. Everythings okay.With her hand, she cradled me toward her leg, while holding Larry in her other arm. I knew mother loved me.

My siblings and I, though not aware of it, had grown up without a lot of money or possessions. We never realized it, because there was always food on the table, and a warm bed. Mother would say, They never turned the electricity off!She always made sure the bills were paid.

Late one night, there was a knock at the door, when everyone was in bed. There stood my cousin Julio Montoya, in his military uniform, just off the train, and eager for one of Hopes hot meals. She was very happy to see him. The whole family woke up to greet him and spend time with him in the kitchen. Mom put on a pot of coffee, a plate of fruit turnovers in front of Julio, and some hot cocoa for us kids. We were enjoying his company when we heard another knock on the door. Mom went to the door to answer, still wearing her robe. In front of her stood a middle-aged man, wearing a crumpled fedora, obviously a drunk hobo. He must have seen the house lit up at that late hour.

Please maam, can you offer some spare coins, and put them in my tambourine?he asked, extending his tambourine, with a little shake.

No, Im not going to give you any money. Youre just going to use it to get more drunk. If you want something to eat, thats different,she said sternly.

Her voice was so firm and threatening that the man stumbled back a little bit. He started shaking the tambourine, loudly.

What are you doing? Youre going to wake up the neighbors!she scolded, stepping forward as he stepped back, losing grip on his tambourine. It dropped on the porch.

Oh please maam,he said, stumbling down the stairs. Please let me have my tambourine.

Ill give you your tambourine!she said, tossing it at him. He caught it and ran off into the dark night.

I was surprised at my mothers strength, because shed changed, over the course of being married to my father, from a meek young woman to a commanding presence. She wasnt afraid of anyone, after standing up to my father. Even cousin Julio was impressed by my moms display of fierceness. Daddy Gus called Mom Boss.

She and Daddy Gus had been saving money, and Mother decided to open a restaurant. She named it El Saguaro, after the distinctive cactus that grows only in the Sonoran desert. The restaurant was located on Fourth Avenue, south of Twenty-Second Street. It was a lively restaurant with an array of Mexican and American cuisine. I spent time in the kitchen watching the Mexican women making tortillas, and Mom issuing orders in Spanish as she helped prepare food.

Spanish was a foreign language to me, but in this kitchen I learned the basics. My father Marcus had wanted his children to speak only English to be more American,so none of us actually knew Spanish. We all gradually learned it, since our mother spoke to Gusfamily only in Spanish.

El Saguaro didnt last more than a yearMom had two teenage sons who were left to their own devices while she was at work, and the responsibility of me and Larry was too much. Despite the communitys enjoyment of the restaurant and its obvious success, my mom sold the business. Mom always said, Ill open another one someday,but she never did.

After I entered first grade at Carrillo Elementary School, I enjoyed a full circle of friends and kind teachers. One faculty member, Marguerite Collier, an older woman, taught us the traditional Mexican folk dances that she knew. We practiced as she played records and coached us. Step lively children! Youre wearing a beautiful dress, you have to make it swirl when you dance! This isnt a dirge!The children wore traditional dress when dancing, and the parents attended the performances once a year, usually in the spring.

At Christmas, she organized a traditional Nativity Pageant with schoolchildren and faculty members as chaperones for Las Posadas.Two children, in costume as Mary and Joseph, would walk through the neighborhood as others chanted, Who has room at the Inn? Who can give us a room? Quien esta posada?while the procession continued to various homes. The annual event is still a tradition in Tucson.

We attended Catechism classes at San Cosme Church near the school. The older group of children were preparing for their first Holy Communion. The nuns of St. Augustine asked me to lead the childrens Communion Ceremony wearing an angels costume, along with another girl, one of my friends. She and I, being six years old, were too young to participate in Communion. The outfit was a long white satin dress with angel wings that attached in the back and a sparkling halo headband. I took the costume home to practice in. We rehearsed down the long aisle in the grand St. Augustine Cathedral, my friend and I leading the Communion group. Afterward, Id come home from school, lay the outfit gently on my bed and admire it. This became an after school ritual for the next few days, even when I wasnt rehearsing. I loved the vision of this purity.

That Sunday, the ceremony took place, and it was an uplifting experience, leading the procession. I went home, still wearing the angel outfit. Id become attached to it. On Monday afternoon when I came home from school, I walked into my room, to enjoy my ritual of admiring the angel dress. I opened the closet door and was startled to see the outfit missing. I panicked. I ran to the kitchen where my mom and sister were preparing dinner.

My angel dress is gone!I cried.

My older sister Bernice scoffed, The nuns came and took it! Youre not an angel anymore!

My mom laughed. I started crying, I want to be an angel!
Bernice laughed, Now youre going to be a little devil instead!

Mom!I cried, tears streaming down my cheeks.

Bernice, dont tease her.Mom shook her head. Bernice laughed, reveling in my disappointment. I left them, pouting, stomping into the bedroom. It was another low blow from the nuns.

I was in the third grade when I woke from bed one morning with a terrible fever and sore throat. When Mom came to check on me, I was covered in a red rash. She thought it was measles. The room was spinning, Id never felt so ill before. She took me to a doctor that morning and he diagnosed scarlet fever, which frightened my mother. Children could die from scarlet fever in those days, without antibiotics. The illness lasted over two weeks, and my right ear became infected, leading to a ruptured eardrum. I was kept out of school for three weeks. Marcus used to come in and tease me, lifting the corner of my bed and saying, The bed is spinning! The bed is spinning!I screamed with fear: Mom! Help! The bed is spinning!

This was a miserable time for me. Because of my continuing ear problem, I had to see an ear-nose-throat doctor, Dr. Saylor. I had to visit him once a week and get a shot of penicillin in the buttock. My sister Bernice accompanied me to this weekly appointment. I cried after each time I received the injection, so in pain and upset that I didnt have any desire for the lollipop the nurse gave me. Bernice would take the lollipop from me, and enjoy it for herself. What an odd sight: fifteen year old Bernice sucking on the lollipop as we walked hand-in-hand down the sidewalk, me crying in pain.

One sweet gesture during this time was a stack of letters with get-well wishes from my classmates. I read each one, and felt eager to get healthy again and return to school. I loved attending school at Carrillo.

When I returned, I was joyfully bouncing around at school with my friends, when one afternoon I sprained my ankle. It was difficult to walk. My mother arranged for me to visit a family friend, Mr. Valenzuela, a quiet older man who had worked as a horse wrangler on a cattle ranch.

Bernice and I took a bus to the south side of town, getting off at Thirty-Third Street. I limped the whole way, with my ankle swelling painfully. Mr. Valenzuela sat me up on a table. He then rubbed liniment on my ankle, deeply massaging it. The pressure of his hands squeezing my ankle to realign the tissue was so painful I yelled, Mama! Mama! Mother! Mother! Help!The pain was excruciating. Skillfully, he pushed the tendon back into place, and wrapped my foot with a bandage. The ankle swelling soon went down. Bernice collected me and we left, thanking him. During the bus ride home, Bernice shook her head, laughing, Mama! Mama! Mother! Mother! Youre a mamas girl.Her teasing could be merciless.

On weekends, Bernice would say, Mom, Im taking Dolores to the movies.Mother gave her a dollar to spend on our afternoon together. In those days, theater admission was twenty cents. Wed go to the Lyric Theater, Bernice holding my hand as we approached. Shed seat me in the front of the theater, and tell me, Ill be right back.

A quarter of the way into the movie, Bernice still hadnt returned. Id get up to look for her, and shed be in the back row of the theater, necking with her current boyfriend. Shed spot me, and her boyfriend would give me a nickel to get some candy. I saw many B-movies under these circumstances. Bernice told me not to tell Mom, and I didnt. However, whenever Bernice got on my nerves, Id call out, Oh, Mom...!Bernice would flash me a dirty look.

Mother became impatient with Bernice, as did Daddy Gus, but he rarely got involved. Bernice was becoming too much to manage. When she wanted to go out, and Mother refused to let her go, Bernice cried, Im gonna kill myself! Im gonna kill myself! Im going to drink this bleach and Im going to die! Then youll be sorry!

Aw, go ahead and do it!Mother called out, exhausted by Bernices antics.

Mom! Bernice is going to die!I cried.

Bernice has been watching too many movies.Mom shook her head, exasperated.

Bernice grew tired of the boundariesshe eloped at the age of sixteen. Just like Mother, she had to pretend to be older to get married. She wed a young serviceman from New Mexico who was stationed at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson. Bernice moved to Albuquerque with her new husbands family, and would soon be having children of her own.

Mother was initially furious at Bernice, but she felt this marriage might help her settle down. Bernice had caused strife within the household, since she refused to obey Mothers demands to come in early, or keep our room tidy or help around the house. She was a true 1950s rebel. I had wondered what it meant when Bernice packed her bag that night and slipped out the bedroom window. Mother cried a lot the next day; it felt terrible to see her suffer. After my sister left, the house was a lot calmer. Marcus and Hugo were starting to experience their own rebellious nature. Both of them had taken up musical instruments: Marcus the saxophone, and Hugo the violin. I remember Hugo practicing a squeaky Twinkle, Twinkle Little Starmany an afternoon.

The civility of playing music calmly was short-lived. Sometimes theyd get into fisticuffs in the living room, and tumble into a pile. I'd jumped on top and start pounding my fist on the shoulder of whoever was on top. Then theyd flip and I'd climb on top again, to punch the shoulder of the new person on top. I tried not to take sides.

Hugo was quiet most of the time, different from the earlier stories Id heard when they were all living with Dad. Once Hugo donned a cape and, thinking he was Captain Marvel, leaped off the roof of a storage shed, yelling, Shazam!Luckily, he didnt get hurt. He took a lot of flack from Dad in those early days. He had a mind of his own, and was always daring and mischievous, despite his quiet exterior.

Mother and Gus decided to move from Barrio El Hoyo, this time to a suburban area on the south side of Tucson. Theyd been looking for some time, but in those days, Mexicans and Blacks could only live in certain parts of town. Jews were not allowed in the WASP country clubs. Arizona has had a long history of conservatism.

Marcus and Hugo joined the US Air Force in their late teens. Mother was very upset. She couldnt believe how quickly theyd grown into men, and missed their presence around the household. Now, it was just me and Larry. Marcus was stationed in England, and Hugo in Germany. She mailed them care packages for Christmas, filled with homemade cookies and candy. They wrote letters to Mother and me. Once, for Christmas, Marcus shipped us a box of beautifully wrapped presents from London, which seemed very exotic. I missed my brothers.

When I was in the fifth grade I attended C. E. Rose Elementary School, and I had a teacher by the name of Robert Stanley who played the guitar. He opened my world to folk music. The class sang along to Old Smokey,’ ‘John Henry,’ ‘Goodnight Irene and Old Black Joe.Sometimes Mr. Stanley read different stories that depicted social inequity: Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. The classes were lively with enthusiastic participation.

Going into middle school was a big change. Wakefield Junior High had a large campus, partially integrated with whites and Mexicans. I knew a few students from previous years, but puberty had hit. We had a gym class, and the girls had to wear gym outfits. Showers were mandatory after gym class. It was strange to see my peers nude, in different stages of physical maturity. My mother never discussed menstruation with me. I learned about it from the all-female health class that I attended. Luckily, I was a late-bloomer, so I knew what to expect when the time came.

As my brother Larry grew older, I took him on Saturday mornings to the Fox Theater in downtown Tucson. There we attended The Mickey Mouse Club. They usually showed six cartoons, a Flash Gordon serial, and a full-length feature. Larry and I walked out in the bright sun around noon, and made our way to Georgettes. Wed go in the back door where Mom was working, getting ready for the lunch crowd. She baked pies in the morning, and then shed help the owner at the steam table for the lunch rush.

Shed ask us what we wanted for lunch. Wed get a hamburger, fries and a malt milkshake. Sometimes shed give us fried shrimp or fried scallops as a treat, and wed sit and eat at a small table that was near the back office. There were two chefs: one was Greek, and the other, named Tommy, was from New York City. They were very friendly and chatty with us. They wore large white chef hats. Ill never forget the smell of the cooking grease that would cling to Mothers clothes when she came home.

There was a baseball team in town for spring training in 1955. Georgettes had a large downstairs banquet room, and the team had reserved the space and ordered a buffet meal, setting the time for one in the afternoon. At twelve-forty, a young black man came in and sat at the counter. The waitress said to him, Sorry, we do not serve any Negroes here.He politely started to leave.

Suddenly the baseball team barged in, hungry and ready to eat their meal. The black man was part of the team, and hed arrived first. The team manager found out that Georgettes wouldnt serve him. All of the banquet food went to waste when the team refused to eat there in protest. This was one instance of the segregation at the time.

At night, I listened to radio shows before bed. Ill always remember Orson Wellesbooming voice. As a family, wed sit and listen to The Shadow, Amos and Andy, The Jack Benny Show and Fibber Magee and Molly. On Saturday mornings, there were shows like Lassie and Lets Pretend. My imagination was fueled by the interesting stories that Id hear and the fairy tales that always included the phrase: East of the sun and west of the Moon.

In 1956, when I was in the eighth grade, two songs came out: Rock Around the Clockand Heartbreak Hotel.This new sound, rock nroll, was infectious and exuberant. Everyone my age felt this excitement. Previously, crooners were the norm, in addition to innocuous fluff like How Much Is That Doggie in the Window.Rock nroll captured the rebellious feeling of the time. There was a general air of wanting to break from conformity and I was part of it.

Larry had been whining for a television set, and Daddy Gus finally conceded, bringing home a large wood console with a small black and white picture. We were one of the last people in the neighborhood to buy a TV. Now, Larry glued himself to the set, and didnt have to go to the neighbors to see westerns or Howdy Doody.

I enrolled in Pueblo High School in 1958. This was a fully- integrated school, with whites, blacks and Mexicans. My friends Josie and Bertha, two Latinas, had carried over from junior high to the first semester of our freshman year. Josie was my neighbor. She and I were alike in many respects: Latina, but not traditional in our outlook. On weekends, wed go hiking and spend time talking about our classmates and different kinds of music. She and her sister lived with their grandmother. After school, Josie and I rushed home to catch Dick Clarks American Bandstand. We scrutinized the East Coast fashions and dancing styles, hearing the latest hit songs by the Everly Brothers, Bobby Vinton and Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers.

In my sophomore year, I joined the school newspaper as a cub reporter. I wrote several articles for the paper. One of them was critical about a group of Varsity youths who stood in a row against the back wall, loitering during change of classes, hovering as everyone passed by in the hall. I encouraged the girls to try to take their spot, to displace these youths from eyeing everyone. I found the Varsity boys annoying. My piece in the paper caused resentment, but I had my supporters who thought it was a funny article.

Josie had met a young man at the University of Arizona who belonged to a fraternity. He had a friend, Jim Graves, and Josie asked me if I wanted to join them on a double date. He was three years older than me. Jim was tall and thin, fine featured with a crew cut. He drove a 1955 red Chevrolet. We all went to a fraternity party, after a U of A football game. I didnt tell Mother about this. It was a thrill to be among older boys. Everyone was full of vitality, sophistication and new ideas. High school was childish compared to the college scene.

The following weekend, the fraternity had a barbecue cookout in nearby Sabino Canyon. The guys brought a keg of beer. It was my first time drinking beer. It had a terrible taste. I remember the lads singing Tom Dooleywhile one of them played guitar. Id accompanied Jim at these and future parties. We were unofficially dating. That night, I arrived home late from the barbecue, at one in the morning.

Marcus had returned from his military service, and he was waiting up with my mother when Jim dropped me off. Marcus asked solemnly, Who is the guy with the red Chevy?Feeling a pang of guilt and fear of discovery, I muttered, Just a boy I met.I could see that Mother was concerned that Id follow in Bernices footsteps. Marcus was living at home now, and he became concerned about my conduct. One afternoon, he even went on a search at the University to find the red car that had dropped me off.

When Jim called me at the house a few days later, Marcus intercepted the phone. Who is this?Marcus asked. Jim wanted to come over to the house and speak to my mother. Marcus agreed. Jim arrived, sat in our living room and asked my mother for permission to date me. His proper approach went over well with my mother, so she gave consent. Jim and I continued to date, but when the summer rolled around, he went back home to Maryland. He and I corresponded that summer, but something I wrote upset him so much he replied saying that I was immature and that he no longer wanted to see me.

Marcus, culturally enriched by his experiences overseas, had a collection of jazz LPs: Gerry Mulligan, Miles Davis, Dave Brubeck and Tito Puente. Jazz filled our home with new sounds, and I could sense Marcusrestless nature. He bought a Triumph motorcycle and spent weekend days with friends, riding out in the desert. Sometimes Id ride with him on the jump seat, both of us without helmets. Marcus had decided to return to school on the G.I. Bill.

When Hugo completed his military service and returned home, his love for East Coast jazz was evident. His record collection included Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie and Lester Young. He also had a rhythm and blues compilation that included songs later re-recorded by more mainstream artists. Dance with Me Henryand Tutti Frutti: Pat Boone did clean-cut versions of those two songs, originally performed by black artists. Our old RCA console was getting a lot of use. Mother enjoyed all the new sounds, and having her sons back from military duty, although their music competed with her beloved Mariachis.

That fall, I met Jon Kamman, a handsome and bespectacled fellow student. We had an English class together. One afternoon he was walking by our house when I was outside watering plants, and he said hello. We chatted for a while out front, and I realized how charming and intelligent he was. We had a mutual crush that deepened each day as he walked me home from school. Marcus had taught me to play chess, and Jonny and I played it a lot together. We double dated with another couple, Jack Murietta and Nancy Lynch. The four of us attended the junior prom together. This was a very innocent time. Jonny was kind, sweet, considerate, and we both felt a lot of attraction for each other. Wed go to the drive-in movies, and Id neck in the front seat with Jonny. He drove his moms Buick. We were going steady.

Jonny was very loving. We were getting more serious, but it was an innocent teenage love: I was still a virgin. Jonnys mother was divorced. She did not like me, and thought that my romance with Jonny would be short-lived. He relayed to me her skeptical attitude that our petting might go too far.

I was seventeen when the school paper assigned me the job of student correspondent for Tucsons morning newspaper, Arizona Daily Star. This was to become a touchstone for me. I realized I wanted to have a career in journalism. Tucson, Arizona was not known for its opportunities. Salesgirl or waitress were the choices for a Latina high school graduate in the late 1950s. I decided I wanted to be a journalist in Los Angeles: it was a big city that ignored ones ethnic background, or so I thought.

In my senior year, I became the editor of the high school newspaper, El Guerrero. I wrote an article about the prom: I didnt feel that formal wear had to be a necessity, since a lot of the kids could not afford the rental or purchase. There was an immense backlash against my article. I felt stunned that even the financially-challenged students were not more sympathetic. Sherilyn January and I were good friends, and she was the assistant editor of the paper. She said about the article, Conflict is good. It makes people think.She was a very observant, smart kid. There was a question as to whether communism should be taught in schools. Sherilyn said, Of course it should. How will anyone know whether they are for or against something if they dont know what it represents?One of her humorous anecdotes was, The reason kids run away from home now is because of the ten-cent hamburger.

I learned about financial reality and fashion in Tucson, when I took a part-time weekend job at Lerner, a womens apparel store. I earned fifty cents an hour, which was low even in those days. Discounts were offered to employees. Despite the pay, I increased my wardrobe and had a small budget for attending films and music events.

That October, Tito Puentes Latin Orchestra came to Tucson, performing at the Ramada Inn downtown. Id become familiar with their music from Marcusvinyl records. I encouraged Josie and Sherri to join me at the show. It was an evening performance on a Friday night.

We drove in Sherris MG convertible to the Ramada Inn, and found a table up close to the stage. We ordered Cokes. We admired the large stage set up for the twelve-piece band, with podium partitions emblazoned with Tito Puente Orchestra.The band took the stage, and their music immediately stirred up the audience to dance. There were a large number of people in attendance of all ages. We were the youngest ones there. Young men approached us, and asked all three of us to dance to the joyful, spirited salsa music.

After the first set, the band took a break and the flute player, whose name I later learned was Peter Fanelli, and his friend walked past our table. He looked me in the eye and said, Shes the cutest girl in here,within earshot as he passed by us. Josie, Sherri and I laughed at the flirtation. He was a mature, suave, handsome man with Italian good looks and an air of East Coast sophistication, wearing black horn-rim glasses.

During the next set, I noticed Peter was smiling, keeping his eye on me. I was flattered, and smiled back from the table. The music was compelling and seductive, full of sensual energy. It was a heady feeling. When the show ended, Sherri and Josie were preparing to leave. Peter crossed the stage as the other musicians were packing up and took me aside, asking, Can you join me for breakfast tomorrow? Were going to Phoenix in the afternoon. Room 204.I nodded.

I felt a tremendous rush of warmth and excitement at the thought of spending time alone with Peter. I didnt keep this invitation secret for long. What did he ask you?Sherri said as we got into her car.

He asked if I wanted to join him for breakfast.The girls squealed with delight. What are you going to do?Sherri asked.

Well, do you think you can give me a ride in the morning?

Of course!she said.

At home, I decided what Id wear the next day. I chose a striped, silk, boat-neck dress, with ballet flats. I was thrilled to think about what Peter and I would talk about. I had a lot of questions about the East Coast, because Sherri and I had seen Breakfast at Tiffanys, and had become fascinated by New York City. Moon Riverwas becoming a hit, and Sherri called me her Huckleberry friend.We always dreamed of going to New York together. Wed stay up late Friday nights to watch The Jack Parr Show. Peter was significantly older than I was, and seemed very cosmopolitan.

The following morning, Sherri picked me up at nine oclock. We drove to the motel and she said excitedly, Arent you glad I made you get a diaphragm?She had been dating a foreign student from Brazil who attended the U of A, and was taking no chances in getting pregnant. She had encouraged me to make an appointment with her doctor for a fitting, which I did. This would be the first time I would use it.

We arrived at the Ramada Inn. Sherri wished me luck. I walked into the empty restaurant. I mustered up my courage, walked up the stairway to the second floor, and gingerly knocked on the door. Peter answered the door in a crisp, white, untucked dress shirt hanging over Herringbone black and white slacks. Wow, you are early,he said, as he took my hand and pulled me gently toward him, sliding my purse out of my hand and closing the door behind me.

Youre much sweeter than I remember you.He enfolded me in his arms and began kissing my neck, my face and finally my lips. He had just shaved and his aftershave was a scent of Jean Naté. I had to catch my breath. I was overcome with excitement, and a passion quite new to me. My body trembled as he sat on the edge of the unmade bed and began to unbutton the front of my dress. Removing the dress along with the light trench coat I was wearing, he easily managed to slide them off me. I stood in my slip. He picked me up and lay me on the bed. One shoe fell off my foot as I slowly kicked the other off.

He looked down at me smiling as he unbuttoned his shirt, placing it on the back of a chair and slipping off his pants. We began with tender kisses that exploded into uninhibited passion. He seemed to explore every part of my body as he stripped off my underwear. Im wearing a diaphragm,I murmured in his ear, as I bit it gently. This melted any reservation he might have had. His naked body pressed against me and he pushed inside me, finding resistance, but he successfully overcame it, much to the initial pain and pleasure I experienced. It was over quickly and he said, Lets shower and go downstairs and grab a bite to eat.

He ran the shower and we got in together. I felt embarrassed and timid; Id never showered with a man. My dear, you are a beautiful young woman... dont be ashamed of your body.He began soaping my breasts as I tried to keep my hair from getting wet.

Downstairs we met up with his friend Shep. We ordered breakfast and other members of the band came down. Some were with girls, who had obviously spent the night: they still had their evening dresses on. Peter laid out a plan. The band had a gig that night in Phoenix, and they were traveling in a bus. He gave me the money to take a Greyhound to meet him there, since I couldnt join them. Tito did not allow anyone but members of the band on the tour bus.

I was more than excited. It was Saturday morning and I took a cab home, and asked the cab to wait. Mom was working and Larry was sitting in front of the television watching cartoons. I quietly went into my room and got another dress, some underwear, Capri pants and a blouse. As I was stuffing them in an overnight case, ten year old Larry came in and asked, Where are you going?

Im going to Sherris. Ill be back later.

I ran to the waiting cab, which took me to the Greyhound bus depot, where I bought a ticket to Phoenix.

All the way during the two-hour trip, I thought about my actions, this unbridled surrender to someone I didnt know. I wondered what Jonny would think. Id have to tell him when I returned. I was hoping Id get back in time for school on Monday, for the editorial meeting. Then I worried about my poor mother, who was probably wondering about me at this point.

Peter told me to meet him at a motel on Jefferson Boulevard in Phoenix. The band was supposed to play at a club called, appropriately, El Calderon (the cauldron). Bernice was now divorced and lived in Phoenix, so I wasnt worried about being a stranger in the city. The bus pulled into the station, and I took a cab to the motel on Jefferson. I went to the front desk to ask what room Peter was in, when I saw him in the lobby. He had stayed there before, and the owners were behind the front desk, discussing magic tricks with him.

The owner was a performing magician, and his wife a hypnotist. Peter saw me and gave me a big hug. Here she is!he said. The front desk couple smiled at me. Suddenly I felt like a true adult, independent, and free to do as I pleased. We went to Peters room, and made love all the afternoon, until it was time for him to get ready for his performance. We had dinner together at a bar and grill across the street from the motel. I had a bacon-lettuce-tomato sandwich and he had a club sandwich.

All of the other musicians were friendly and welcomed me. I was happy to see Tito Puentes performance at El Calderon that night. I was asked to dance, but I stayed at a front table and watched Peter play flute and smile at me encouragingly. I hadnt called Bernice, and I certainly hadnt called my mother, but I tried not to think about that. The band played pretty much the same sets as the night before.

After the show, Peter and I returned to the motel. We made love again, and he began to fall asleep. I have an early wake up call. The band has to catch a flight to Frisco in the morning,he said. I closed my eyes and wondered what San Francisco was like.

In the morning, he asked, Are you going back to Tucson?

I was crestfallen and confused; I didnt know what to do. He offered to pay my return ticket home, and I accepted, embarrassed. Were going to be in LA next weekend. Maybe you can come out. Well be there a while. Titos recording an album at some Hollywood studio. Well be at the Lido Hotel. You can reach me there.He finished dressing. Check-out is eleven. You can sleep in til then.He placed some cash on the night table.

He gathered his things and left the room, suitcase in hand. I felt alone, deserted and sad as I lay in bed. I awoke an hour later, and decided to call Bernice.

She answered.Boy, is Mother mad at you. Shes been calling all over for you. Where are you?I told Bernice I was in Phoenix, and asked if I could come over. She said yes, so I quickly got dressed and took a cab to her house.

Bernice met me at the door, clearly irritated. I walked in with my small suitcase. Her young children, Mike and Cathy, were sitting at the breakfast table eating cereal. I sat down in the living room and told Bernice the whole story. Bernice listened quietly. Finally she said, Moms so mad, I dont think she wants you back. I think youre on your own now.Bernices words were painful to hear. Is it all right if I stay here for the week?I asked. Bernice agreed. Sure, you can babysit.

As the week passed, my thoughts drifted to a departure to Los Angeles. I counted the money I had, and it was just enough for a bus ticket. I called Sherri and told her that my mother was so angry shed thrown me out of the house.

Everyones wondering when youre returning. We had the editorial meeting on Monday, and Im the interim editor. Arent you coming back to school?

I dont know what Im doing. Ive been invited to Los Angeles this weekend to meet Peter.

Are you crazy?Sherri asked. Dolores, come back home while theres still a chance. Jonny asked me what happened to you. I havent said anything.

At that moment, my Tucson life seemed irrelevant, part of the past. All I could think of was getting to LA and being with Peter. Ill let you know what Im going to do after I go to Los Angeles,I told Sherri.

It may be too late by then,she said. That newspaper isnt going to wait for you.

I could care less about the newspaper,I said, still angry about the reaction to the prom article Id written. It all seemed petty and childish. We said goodbye.

The week dragged. I did housework and took care of Bernices kids. On Friday afternoon, I called the Lido Hotel, and the band still hadnt arrived. I wondered if Peter had told me the truth. I asked Bernice to loan me fifty dollars and borrowed some clothes from her. That night, I took the bus to Los Angeles, not knowing if Peter would be there. I had cousins in Los Angeles, so I thought the trip would do me good either way.

The bus pulled into the Hollywood stop. I stepped off and phoned the Lido Hotel. This time, the band had checked in. I asked for Peters room, and they transferred me. It was seven in the morning. Peter answered the phone, half-asleep.

Hi, its Dolores,I said.

Hey kiddo. Are you coming to LA?

Im here,I muttered.In Hollywood.

Get yourself down here!he said with happiness. Its on Yucca near Hollywood Boulevard. Im in room three-fifteen.

Elated, I hung up the phone and I walked to the hotel. Hollywood Boulevard, a quiet place in 1961, was just waking up, early on a Saturday morning. Some of the stores were just opening, and very few people were out. I got to the hotel, and found Peters room, and knocked on the door. Its open,he said from inside.

I walked in, and the shades were drawn. It was dark. Peter was in bed, naked. Come and join me,he said. I slipped off my clothes and got under the sheets with him. Wow, youre cold!he said.Let me warm you up.

That afternoon, we woke up for breakfast. Peter was happy to be with me. Titos band was performing at the Hollywood Palladium that evening, a ballroom on Sunset Boulevard. After we spent the afternoon together, Peter had to dash for sound check. I changed into eveningwear and joined him, again seeing the familiar faces of the band members. Their lively Puerto Rican and Cuban New York accents echoed through the large hall as they playfully argued about the Yankees and travel conditions.

It was interesting to be behind the scenes and watch the musicians preparing for their show. It was a large on-stage set up of piano, horn and percussion, congas, timbale, vibes. It was good to forget my own problems for a while. That evening, as the ballroom filled, the audience arrived, all dressed up. The men wore suits and skinny ties, and the women, with bouffant hairdos and stiletto heels, wore tight cocktail dresses. The band put on a rousing set as usual, and there was very little room on the dance floor.


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