A Celebrated Arrival………….#108 (the 60’s)

Never to young to start – Dorson Scott Willson

  On Saturday July 11 1963, Gary’s wife Kaye giving birth at Mercy Hospital to a 6 lb. 8 oz. boy named after his great-grandfather Dorson Willson and the couple agreeing on a middle name of Scott, tantamount to one of the seven mercury astronauts Scott Carpenter.  The couple also deciding he would be Scott, not to saddle a new-born with an elderly sounding name such as Dorson.  The new-born being the center of  two grandmothers attention with the arrival of Gary’s mother having flown in from Oakland and Kaye’s mother Helen.  Gary omnibus and having to laugh when told the two survived a five-inch downpour  when driving to the hospital and when exiting the Exchange Avenue bridge in the deluge, Helen was unaware of  the standing high water,  the car coming to an abrupt halt.

Dad and his 56 Plymouth with a swamp cooler

Mom, Dad, baby Scott, Kaye & Gary

Kaye and Scott

Gary’s San Francisco Bay Area Dad and sister Nancy, having braved the Mojave Desert, then crossing Arizona, New Mexico and experiencing the humidity of Oklahoma in July arriving to retrieved his mother.  His dad experimenting with a new novelty, a window swamp cooler for his 56 Plymouth but soon discovering that it was no match for the desert or the high plains southwest heat.  With their departure came a new realm of responsibility with new-born, the couple soon discovering the proximity Kaye’s Mother and Grandmother living but four doors away was a blessing.   With the family expansion and Kaye’s return to work, Gary continuing to pursue his night-time musical ambitions, but finding it necessary to adjust his daytime schedule to  accommodate the new commitment.   A learning experience was enhanced,  a 2:00 a.m rocking chair and bottle feeding when coming home from the club,  an early morning wake-up call, rising each weekday morning to fashioning twelve bottles of formula from condensed milk and corn syrup in a sterilized,  but drawing the line with washing diapers, placing a call to  employ a scheduled diaper service.  Adjusting to life’s new atmosphere, so ever grateful and thankful for the willingness of Grandma Sarah to attend to Scott when needed, allowing him to pursue his avocation  and retain a measure of diversified activity.

The Righteous Brothers

The Righteous Brothers

The amphitheater at Spring-Lake

A lull from the newly acquired road trips finding the The Untouchables engaged at Gene’s Spa-Yen Club at the corner of S.E. 29th and Air Depot Blvd.  in Midwest City,  the crossroads ascertained as the northwest boundary of  the prestigious Tinker Air Force Base.   William Eugene Anthony’s  enterprising business was circuitous,  a private club, a  restaurant – bar and liquor store all  encompassing this paramount corner location.    Gary finding Gene and his  wife Ruby very affable and their business practice somewhat anomalous, the clubs distinctive clientele adhering to strict procedures and dress code.  Non members desiring to secure club admittance were required to sign in as guest and a requirement that all male customers entering after 8:00 p.m. to address a dress code that included a tie, which could be borrowed from an ample supply held in custody at the entrance.

During an evening performance, Gary became aware of an inquisitive person giving his Fender Rhoades #112 the once over.  During a fifteen minute break, the  person approached Gary, introducing himself as the pianist with the Righteous Brothers and that the touring recording artist would be performing tomorrows afternoon and evening  at the Spring Lake Amphitheater.   He related he had called several  music stores in search of replacement reeds for his Wurlitzer electric piano,  only to discover none were available,  but a person at the Hammond Organ store mentioned that Gary had the only Wurlitzer electric in the City and that he was playing at the Spa Yen.  Gary having discovering long ago from experience, to keep a supply of the hard to find Wurlitzer replacement reeds.  Without hesitation he offered what the Righteous Brother pianist needed and in exchange he was issued an invitation to attend the matinée as a guest and a introduction to Bill Medley and Bobby Hatfield.  The following afternoon, Gary and Kaye arrived at the amphitheater,  Gary mentioning the situation at gate, the two waiting but apparently the pianist was too involved with the show to give Gary the promised recognition.  The couple remained seated with the crowd enjoying the show, Gary giving thought at its conclusion about approaching the pianist once more, but deciding  it wasn’t that important.

The bar at the exclusive Sportsman Country Club

The bar at the exclusive Sportsman Country Club

An unexpected phone call from Ruth Sallee Productions inquiring if the Untouchables would be available for a private engagement two weeks from Saturday at the exclusive Sportsman’s Country Club at  N.W. 39th and Meridian Ave.   Ruth then extended a question to Gary that had never before been queried,  ”would you have problems playing a Gay function?”   Gary hesitated,  speaking for himself,  saying that “he didn’t having a problem with the clientele but would like to confer with the other member of the band”.  Gary never having been in the Sportsman’s Club asking about the facility. Ruth explaining,  the Sportsman’s Country Club was a gated estate with on-ground parking and for this booking, off duty Oklahoma City Police officers would be present for security and payment would be made by Robinson Janitorial Service, a downtown company that serviced high-rise business offices.

Gary placing calls to the other members of the band relating the  particulars of the engagement.  When explained  Glenn’s reaction was one of curiosity as was sax player Larry Burns.   Jerry never questioned or commented when told of a Gay booking.  Ruth was correct about the security,  an uniformed officer was at the entrance gate directing passage to the parking area  where another officer stood watch over the parking that was rapidly being consumed with luxurious Lincolns and Cadillac’s.   Upon entering,  the Untouchables finding the stage addressing a large dance floor and banquet area, the participants already beginning to encompass the ballroom.  Gary’s curiosity was fastened,  having faltered about groups such as this  but never acquiring an association.   Surveying the assembly,  discovering the men outnumbering the women,  four to one,  which for a dance wasn’t  unusual,  the well attired age grouping covering a wide spectrum,  giving an appearance of normalcy.   The first songs finding a listening audience,  but when the dancing commenced Gary immediately recognized something was amiss with guitar playing Jerry,  he seemed to be paralyzed,  his expression was one of perplexity, then realizing he was trying to make sense of the scene before him,  the couples on the dance floor all dancing with like genders.   It was obvious, it became apparent that Jerry failed to comprehend when  being informed of the distinction,  he mistaken the meaning of the word Gay as denoting happy.  During an intermission Gary made the acquaintance of the Robinson’s the custodian of the gay groups association, finding the steward and his wife participating only as administrators and organizers for the activities of the gay alliance.  It became very apparent that many prominent business celebrities were active member of this shadowed community.   The band concluding their engagement to a very divergent but appreciative audience,  discerning their first exposure to a new culture diversity and an experience of empathy.


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