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

Gary Willson, the Wurlitzer and the Spinet.

The continued success of Jerry Willis guitar annotation  on Friday and Saturday nights convinced Herb  to prospect for an additional guitar virtuoso for the other four nights of the week.  Owner  Herb  Carpenter was not a connoisseur of musical attributes,  his aptitude of quality was somewhat questionable and paralleled that of most business applications using a bottom-line ledger protocol as a determining agent for hiring.   Gary and  Jan were both perplexed at the results of Herbie’s search,  anticipating a guitarist,  finding his quest resulting in an alto saxophonist from Kissimmee Florida.  Bob was new to the Oklahoma City area,  he and his wife residing in a Bethany apartment complex,  the two having found employment participating in its management.   Bob having played alto since his school years,  experiencing a band in Florida and was currently sitting-in with various city groups for enjoyment  when discovered and approached by Herbie.   Gary finding Bob very amiable, possessing a good stage presence and pristine ownership of the sound that flowed from the E Flat Sax.   The pianist was curious as to how Herb had approached him,  Bob relating how this customer, whom turned out to be Herb,  kept requesting the same song over and over again,  a disclosure indicating that the person may have sampled an abundance of liquid beverage.   Bob’s narrative continuing,  Gary’s suspicion being confirmed when he  acknowledged the repeated requested song’s title,  it was Boots Randolph’s current big hit Yakety-Sax.   Those familiar with the Pirates Cove club owner were aware Herb upon arresting several drinks his predilection of music would change from the quiescent pop songs to the more obstreperous  buoyancy of  country western.

Jan - the proud owner of a 1970 Olds convertible

Jan – the proud owner of a 1970 Olds convertible

It was totally unexpected, the sounding of the horn outside of his SW 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 steering wheel was none other than Jan Lawhon.  Gary approaching, noticing the wide grin on Jan’s face, without hesitation she blurted out that the car was her graduation present, having just picked it up and wanted to share it with someone and it seems that afternoon he was the only person she could think of that might be home.  It was a hot afternoon and the 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.

NW 68th St. entrance to the Haunted House

NW 68th St. entrance to the Haunted House

The Haunted House

The main dining room

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 NW 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 dinning 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 she, after her acquittal, died of an apparent drug overdose.  Gary discovering the location was supposed to be on NE 68th but it ended just east of N. Kelly then resumed 1 1/2 miles further east in a wilderness section off of Miramar Blvd,  68th Ave coming  to a dead-end at the Haunted House.  If the entry road was any hint of what was in store for  dinning, 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.

New Ramada opening across from the Holiday Inn West

Gary was reluctantly 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 Transport…………………#129 (the 70’s)”

  1. jim garvie Says:

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

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