Confronting A Challenge…..#145 (the 70’s)

The 3216 SW 41 St. rental

.  With Christmas falling on a Saturday in 1976,  Jan insisting they drive to Kiowa for Christmas Eve,  spend the night and return after Christmas afternoon dinner, Gary knowing he would feel more like a spectator than a participant .   Upon arrival the musician noticing,  with no formal announcement of their marriage,  there certainly wasn’t any congratulatory conveyances from the family, it was almost like,  if they ignored it, it would go away.  He knew the family was aware of it,  because when the time came to spend the night, Jan’s Sister Gayle, her husband Steve Robb and family took the guest rooms, and there were no raised  eyebrows when Gary and Jan spent the night at the Guest Lodge motel. Gary realizing,  the families acceptance would come with time.

.  It caught Gary by surprise, a change of  management at the Penn Apartments , adding a second alteration to his  and Jan’s life.  The first being when she confirmed her suspicion that she was  expecting,  the second being, Gary’s rental agreement with the apartments manager, who had secured his vacancy painting,  in exchange for his rent and utilities , was no longer acceptable,  the new manager no longer interested in validating the agreement.  The couple beginning a search,  scouring newspaper housing ads for available rentals,  desiring to remain on the southwest side of Oklahoma City.  After several weeks, discovering a suitable three bedroom unfurnished house on Southwest 41st  that accepted pets, the landlord mentioning,  the previous tenants were a rowdy undisciplined group,  and that he and his wife were happy to have the young couple as tenants.

.  Gary asking the congeal owner if there was any way he could waive the deposit, that his wife was expecting their first child,  and there would be a lot of unforeseen expenditures, the owner agreeing to waive the deposit.  The couple encountering a challenge,  having little or no furniture moving from the furnished Penn Apartments, their rental having a lone appliance, a kitchen stove.  The Blind Store,  a composite facility of charitable exhibits,  similar to the salvation army used furniture outlet,   was located at short distance away on Southwest 29th  and Woodland.  The store accommodating most of their larger item needs,  refrigerator, bedding, divan, table, chairs and other household furnishings, all well aged but useable, the  accommodations beginning to project the semblance of a home.

.  Band member Bob Wallace having returned from California, looking up “the Coach”,   Gary having mixed feelings about Wallace after the stunt he pulled,  pawning Marino’s Drums for gas money to drive to California.  Wallace having found work singing with a trio,  headed by a guitarist with a nefarious repetition named Joey Lee, the group working three nights a week at a club on South Shields.   Gary’s Fifties Club booking was about to conclude as was the club, owners,  Bostonian’s Bob and Julie, having made a decision to relinquish their lease.  With the return of  Wallace to Oklahoma,  Kenny Cannada still in the city,  and Jerry Willis still available on weekends,  Gary once again began mulling it over about putting the band back together.  Joey Lee offering Gary a job to play piano with his trio,  after the first week,  letting the bass player go, Gary’s once again adding the keyboard bass.

 .  Joey Lee was going with a striking girl name Fran,  working from 5 to 7 as a nude dancer at a strip club on SW 44th and High St,  on occasion she would sing a few songs with the band, her and Joey able to sound identical to Dale and Grace when singing I’m Leaving It All Up To You.   Gary never felt comfortable around Joey, the pianist aware that Joey and Bob shared the same smoking habit and on one occasion stopping at Joey’s house to meet Wallace,  finding Joey at the kitchen table with two piles of black prescription capsules. It appeared he had bought a ketch of Black Mollie amphetamine’s to sell and was opening each putting half their contents in new empty capsules, selling the cut product, doubling his profit.  Joey Lee  discovering the bands drummer was mesmerized,   coming to work hours early to watch Fran, and fired him.  Bob Wallace resumed playing a make shift set of the drums.  Joey Lee discovering Fran had disappeared, supposedly with a customer,  entering the club with a gun, asking about her, then dropping out of sight.   With Joey not to be seen,  the band continued three nights a week adding a Sunday afternoon jam session. .  

.  The weekend nights going well, but Thursday was slow,  Gary coming up with an idea about an audience participation night based on the popular TV Gong Show, after several weeks his idea got gonged.  It was during a Sunday afternoon jam session,  Joey Marino who’s drums Bob had pawned on the way to California found Wallace,  the drummer sending a person in to tell Bob that he wanted to talk to him outside.  Gary and Jerry both suspected something was up,  expecting  Bob to say something about going with him, but  Bob went outside on his own.   About ten minutes later a battered and bloodied Bob stepped back inside, Gary was concerned with the open gash above Bobs eye, telling him he was going to need stitches, the drummer refusing.   Joey having beat the crap out of the street savvy Bob, Gary suspecting that Wallace offered financial restitution and probably didn’t put up much of a defense when Joey wanted satisfaction,  as well venting all of his accumulated pent-up anger.

.  An outward appearance having arrived, the maternal expediency of Jan becoming prevalent,  accepting an offer from Art and Don to resume a part-time front desk appreciation at the Lincoln Blvd Motel,  the couple welcoming the  financial endowment.  The second bedroom having been spoken for with the upcoming even, the remaining third bedrooms rendering a prospective room for an additional occupant to assist in the rental cost.   Julie, the daughter of the owner of the Island Club on S. Pennsylvania  seeking refuge from a dissevered home life experience  in search of  a  temporary residence finding the Willson’s offer accommodating.  The Islands club providing the introduction of a new drummer, Wallace renegaded to vocals.  Richard an expressed smiling vibrant personality, a definite plus for the band.

 .  The temporal experience during the months of his wife’s pregnancy,  the couple acquiring meaningful time together exploring the realm of Oklahoma City,  the museums,  touring the governing capitol buildings,  traversing to the  surrounding public attractions and a host of opportunities and if nothing else  just browse together at Crossroad Mall.  Gary participating in a new experience,  hand in hand a regular advance to the library on south walker or a preemptive journey to the Blind Store for the low-cost necessities to provide for the coming event.

 .  The musician introduced to a new source of income for the band, the Canadian Club,  an after-hours club just across the Oklahoma County line on highway #152 in Canadian County not far from the small hamlet of Mustang Oklahoma.  The unique club  procuring entertainment commencing at 2:30 a.m. and concluding at 6:30 a.m. but was better known for its backroom wagering sessions, invitation only poker, high stakes pool,  the club dutiful patrol by several well-endowed bouncers.   It wasn’t unusual for disputes to be settled in the parking lot, the Canadian County sheriff’ deputies staying clear of the club, but a hundred yards east just across the county line you could count on a plain clothes or  Oklahoma County sheriffs car on duty monitoring those leaving,  probably more interested in the gambling participants than the afterhours band nightlife.

 .  The double exposure on Friday and Saturday nights, the two gigs encompassing ten hours,  the band finishing at the Island Club at 1:30 a.m.  giving them enough time to tear down and travel the 12 miles to the county line and set up, Gary concluding the monetary compensation was worth the added effort.

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