December 8, 1980 – John Lennon

There are certain moments in our lives that stand out keenly in our memories.  For me, one of those was learning that John Lennon had been murdered.  I was a high school senior, performing in “Fiddler on the Roof.”  I had a quick-change to do in the wings, because I was not only a villager but also Grandma Tzeitel.  I was in the middle of it when my best friend came in from the wings; she had ushered for the show and had gone home because it was snowing … but turned around when she heard the news on the radio.  She had to tell me; we were both life-long fans of the Beatles.  I was putting on the gold lace overskirt, shawl, and cap that turned me into the grandmother in Tevye’s dream sequence, and I remember the tightness in my chest and throat as I tried not to cry.

I’m still not sure how I got through the performance, to be honest … but I did.  When the final song, “Anatevka,” came along, I was free to let the tears rip … it happened to at least once cast member during every performance.  That night, it was my turn.

Today is the 42nd anniversary of what I still think of as an assassination.  As I look at what is going on in the world around us, I can only think of this song.

Bonus Track: “Happy Santa Claus”

My first exposure to the Portland music scene came when I did something completely out of character for me. It was December 1980, and I skipped school to go downtown for a John Lennon memorial in the aftermath of his murder. A local band called The Malchicks was playing and, honest to God, I thought the lead singer was the most beautiful man I had ever seen. His name was Billy Rancher, and I am sure that my parents grew mightily sick of hearing about him. Of course, I was in huge trouble for ditching school, but I didn’t care. I was a senior with very good grades, knew I would graduate — and had just gotten a tiny taste of the world I hoped to inhabit.Music, Mayhem, and Bad Decisions

Thirty-six years ago today, at age 29, Billy Rancher left us after a lengthy battle with cancer.

Here’s a seasonal tune he wrote and performed. I was there for the record release.


Reminiscing About My First Trip to London

Twenty-two years ago today, I arrived in London for the first time. It was pouring rain (almost the entire week). I saw two plays: “The Mousetrap” (my husband will verify that I’ve never given away the secret), and “Les Miserables.”

I visited Warwick Castle, Stratford-Upon-Avon, the Globe Theatre, Museum of London, British Museum, the Wallace Collection, the Sherlock Holmes Museum, and Madame Tussaud’s. I found a favorite pub (Three Tuns, in the Portman Mews). I shopped at Harrods, Selfridge’s (I loved their bookshop), and Marks & Spencer.

I got lost in Hyde Park after slogging through the rain to Apsley House — which was closed when I got there — and had to get directions from a policeman outside the US Embassy to get back to my hotel.

I also got lost after coming out a different door than that from which I entered St. Bartholomew’s. That time, I picked a direction and started walking. I figured I would use whichever I came across first: a policeman, a cab, or a Tube station. What I found was Ludgate Hill. Having read “Black Beauty” about a million times, I knew that St. Paul’s Cathedral was at the top of Ludgate.

There’s a Tube station there.

Never underestimate the value of reading.

Or my crappy sense of direction, apparently.

Another TikTok Video

It took me almost a week to be ready to put this together, if I’m honest. It Happened in Memphis was one of my favorite projects to research and write, and I took Jerry Lee’s passing hard.

Weekend Reads: “Haunted Destiny”

I went into the Wayback Machine for today’s review, as I wanted to share something fun and spooky during the run-up to Halloween. Enjoy!

Haunted Destiny (Krewe of Hunters, #18)Haunted Destiny by Heather Graham
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The latest Krewe of Hunters story brings the unit back to New Orleans, where they began. This time, they’re tracking a serial killer — and agents Jackson Crow and Jude McCoy think they’re following him onto a cruise ship, the Destiny. They’re right — but not in the way they think.

Enter piano bar entertainer Alexi Cromwell, who can see and talk to the Destiny’s many ghosts. Alexi and Jude are immediately attracted to each other, and they both have things to learn that only the other can teach them. However, as the serial killer’s modus operandi is explored, it soon becomes apparent that Alexi is a target.

This book was an entertaining summer read, with the right combination of romance and paranormal to make it fun. I enjoy this series quite a lot and highly recommend the tales. They can stand alone as individual stories, but getting to know the characters over the course of the series is fun, too.

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