Essence Of Change…………………#129 (the 70’s)


The continued success of Jerry Willis guitar annotation on Friday and Saturday nights at the Pirates Cove, having convinced Gary a need to ask Herb Carpenter about the prospect for an additional guitar virtuoso for the other four nights of the week.   Unexpectedly, Herb took it upon himself,  Gary and Jan were both totally surprised,  anticipating a guitarist,  finding the owners quest resulting in an alto saxophonist from Kissimmee Florida.

Bob having played alto since his school band year, and a combo in Florida,   and currently sitting-in with various city groups for enjoyment when approached by Herb.   The pianist was curious as to how Herbie had approached him,  Bob relating how this customer, having arrested several drinks, kept requesting the same song over and over, Boots Randolph’s Yackety-sax.  It was Herbie.   Gary finding Bob very amiable, possessing a good stage presence and pristine ownership of the sound that flowed from the E Flat Sax.

It was totally unexpected,  the sounding of the horn outside of his southwest 46th Terrace residence drawing his attention,  Gary going to the window,  curious as to who was causing the commotion.  Parked at the curb was a new red 1970 Oldsmobile Convertible,  and sitting behind the wheel was none other than Jan Law hon.  Gary approaching,  noticing the wide grin on Jan’s face, without hesitation she blurted out,  the car was her OU graduation present from her Dad, having just picked it up and wanted to share it with someone,  and it seemed you were the only person I could think of that might be home.  It was a hot afternoon and a first time the pianist had ever cruised around Oklahoma City in a convertible with the top down and the air conditioning running, but apparently it made the college graduate happy.

It wasn’t unusual that on occasion Jan would call inviting Gary and Kaye to dine with her at the Steak & Ale,  or when the Sportsman Club on Northwest 39th street opened their dinning facility to the public, it was front and center for the three.  The most unusual invitation was to one of Oklahoma City’s most little known restaurants, The Haunted House, the only means to find its non-publicized location was to call and make a reservation.  It had been reputed that a murder had been committed in this large mansion,  now fashioned as an upscale dining facility with valet parking.

.    The gabled flagstone building, built in 1935 by automobile dealer Martin Carriker, featured flashy amenities for its time,  sporting a wet bar in the basement, a gas fireplace and a three-car garage. In 1963, the 74-year-old Carriker allegedly was shot in the head by his stepdaughter and two handymen.  Before his stepdaughter was tried for the murder, her mother died,  and then after her acquittal,  she died of an apparent drug overdose.  Gary discovering the location was supposed to be on Northeast 68th,  but it ended just east of North Kelly, then resumed 1 1/2 miles further east in a wilderness section off of Miramar Boulevard,  68th coming  to a dead-end at the Haunted House.  If the entry road was any hint of what was in store for  dining,  there was no doubt it would be a  fulfilling experience

The addition of the Floridian sax player was concurrent with Jerry guitar on Friday and Saturday Nights, the club now sponsoring a trio thru the week and a quartet testing the weekend.   Jan Lawhon’s two years music interest at the Cove was beginning wane,  her studies at Oklahoma University were accomplished and  a law degree was her next ambition.   A possible marriage also was on the horizon, her longtime boyfriend Len Cason completing Air Force flight training and was commandeered for duty in Vietnam.   As time passed it came as no surprise to the pianist that  Jan served  notice and would be leaving.

Gary was reluctant with the transition, a new era was exhibited at the Holiday Inn West and Pirates Cove,  an expansion to the Inn having been fulfilled with an 81 room complement and the addition of suites.   A search for Jan’s replacement having been promulgated,  an attractive folk singing  talent Carole Boyd auditioning with an array of exquisite vocal selections augmented with her 12 string guitar.  With the loss of Jan and the advent of Carole another requirement was necessary, the procurement of a drummer.  Gary was lamenting, he was back in the band business,  having journeyed this road before at Bob and Jerry’s Apartment Key Club,  witnessing two expansion and the demise of business,   To his surprise, The Pirates Cove maintained its level of capacity,  in defiance of the addition of a Hilton,  Sheraton, and Ramada Inn on the once secluded South Meridian Ave.

Carole attracting her own following,  delivering a moderate style of vocal conveyance,  Gary noticing the difference between Carole and Jan in their musical adroitness, Carole having to rehearse,  Gary arranging to meet with her several afternoon at the club on a regular basis to go over new material.   The regular rehearsal time was after lunch and before happy-hour,  a slow time at the club but soon attracted several regulars to witness the behind the scenes display.  On occasion the two would take the time to play request, the pianist introduced to George Grube and his younger lady friend Jimmie Joe.

Gary was aware that George was the owner of the Grube Advertisement Agency that did advertisements and bookings  for most the movie theatres, Springlake and Wedgewood Village Amusement Park.  He also became aware that Jimmie Joe wasn’t George’s wife,  but appropriately her favorite song was ‘The Sounds of Silence’.   As the months progressed the past recollections of a Jan Lawhon haunted the chambered abode of the Pirate Cove, a  silent apparition for her return must have found an essence of transport.  Gary not having visited with Jan in months noticing one evening that she had entered and was immersed in a conversation with Herb.  The pianist could tell from a distance that she had a desire to return to the Cove and unfortunately so could Carole.

One Response to “Essence Of Change…………………#129 (the 70’s)”

  1. jim garvie Says:

    I worked at The Pirates Cove for Herb Carpenter. Great man!

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