Prelude To A Command Performance..#104 (the 60’s)

A Bobby Vinton clone

A Bobby Vinton clone

   Bobby and the Runaways,  a Chicago combo,  dressed in tuxedo’s, black or powder blue, an impressive group with Bobby,  the lead guitar and featured vocalist,  a Bobby Vinton clone.   Gary was first aware of the Runaways arrival when Kermece Rice,  a young lady of interest whom Gary approached after discerning her mothers accolades at the Horseshoe Club.  Kaye, as she was known, acknowledging  her friend and co-worker Deana Bray was smitten with the bands drummer.   The Runaways, a four piece band from Chicago entertaining several nights at the Embers Club at N.W. 10th and N. May Ave for an extended engagement, Gary somewhat curious about a Chicago based band playing at Embers rather than the Copa, or one the other large motels that highlighted established out-of-town bands.

Kermece and her familie's S.W. 46 Terrace residence

Kermece and her families’ S.W. 46 Terrace residence

Helen, Sarah and E.W.

Helen, Sarah and E.W.

   An attentive relationship was building between Gary and Kaye, finding the two bestowing their leisure hours together.  An introduction to her kindred history,  discovering the delicate lady was an only child,  as was her mother,  the grandmother Sarah although a quiet person was  the luminary in the family.   Gary feeling very comfortable with Kermece’s family,  a mutual regard especially for Sarah the grandmother, her being  the matriarch and responsible for rising her granddaughter.  Also in the home was Sarah’s elderly ill husband E.W. Jones, Gary recognizing his onset of diminished mental capacity.  A vibrant Helen having experienced the concave of being married several times, knowing the value of employment security having been in government service since World War II, still retaining an important  civilian position at Tinker Air Force Base.  Her daughter  following suit with government service,  retaining a position with the FAA shortly after graduating from High School.  Gary’s financial situation having suffered with the bands decline, his DeSoto  payment in arrears.  Sharing his problem with  Kaye,  her immediately reaction was to help,  inquiring about his account then discerning she would like to compensate for the late payments and to his consternation taking it upon herself to discharge the entire remaining quantum without reservation..

The steward of the house - Dean Bray

The steward of the house – Deana Bray

   Kermece or Kaye as she was perceived by non-family,  endured with her mother and grandmother on  S.W. 46 Terrace, her good friend Dean Bray extending an invitation for Kaye to move in with her.  Deana, a widow with a young daughter, occupied a very spacious three bedroom home just east of May Ave on S.W. 53rd St. and after  considerate contemplation Kaye acknowledged her  acceptance to the invitation.  The incinerate summer heat found Gary and the air-conditioned DeSoto journeying to and from the Federal Aviation Agency record division office in the Home State Life building at 6th and Robinson,  ferrying the work empowered Kaye and Deana.  The affinity between the musician and his new-found Desire endured and Deana recognizing the contingency, espousing  the musician with a like invitation to reside at her residency.  Gary tarried with the offer, but his concern was for Kaye and the impression it would have on her family.  After considerable deliberation, leaving the final decision up to Kaye, Gary giving W.E. Curry, his Reality friend his notice of vacancy having accepted Deana’s offer of residency on S.W. 53rd St.

The Embers Club - NW 1oth & N.May Ave.

The Embers Club – NW 1oth & N.May Ave.

   Glenn, The Untouchables drummer was under stress with financial and  family matters,  accepting part-time employment with his father in-law in Lawton through the week, without a drummer the bands engagements were reduced to week-ends status.  Guitarist Jerry Willis  establishing a serious relationship with Darlene Philips, her position as a full-time employee at Cattlemen’s Cafe finding the musician occupying his off nights minding her three young siblings during her employment hours.   Gary recognizing the bands situation with Glenn and Jerry somewhat preoccupied, the incentive to progress and give the band direction was stymied.   The pianist desiring a more fruitful source of income  and with a personal introduction to the Runaways by Deana, discovering that the group having heard the Untouchables and Gary’s piano and to his  surprising asking if he would be interested in joining their group.  Hesitating the pianist acknowledged the offer, replying he would give it some thought,  Gary visiting with Glenn and Jerry both leaving it up to him to decided.  With the current lack of enthusiasm and the defection displayed and if nothing else it would be a learning experience, the keyboard musician accepting The Runaways offer.  The Embers Club making an exception in their booking schedule for The Runaways, the band featured five nights with an almost capacity crowd, but as the weeks progressed as did the nightly visitors to other live entertainment clubs.  Gary could see the handwriting on the wall, Bobby and the Runaways tarry in Oklahoma City would be short-lived.  Bobby giving Gary notice of their intension to move on,  a previous booking the reason for their departure. With the notice was an offer for him to join them on the road, but the Pianist declining,  there being a far better inducement to remain in Oklahoma City,  in the person of Kaye.
The keyboard musician was always somewhat suspicious of the Chicago group, still having the two tuxedo’s issued to him,  discovering the inner  label bore the registration of a Chicago uniform rental company.  Gary having talked with Glenn and Jerry about resuming his association with the band and to his surprise discovering a renewed purpose with added resolve,  a new horizon  Glenn moving his family from Lawton to Oklahoma City enabling the added productive weekday engagements.  The pianist to rejoin the Untouchables, the guitar and bass players employed to replace him were novice and like many that addressed  a bandstand,  just instruments on a stage.   Gary’s keyboard bass and piano once again initiating a semblance of arrangements  instilling the enthusiasm and avidity to a composition and highlighting the  bands presence.

Gary & Kermece (soon to be the Willson's)

Gary & Kermece (soon to be the Willson’s)

   It was a Sunday evening, September 16th,  the time having arrived, having visualized this moment more than once,  wanting to express himself in some poetic way.  Looking at Kaye having expressed his love for her he finally  just said it, “will you many me” and then adding a gesture,  he kneeled down, “I’m on bended knee”  the prelude to their command performance accomplished.


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