The Dawning of Essence…#104 (the 60’s)

Gary and Kaye (Kermece)

It was Sunday February 18th, and the horseshoe clubs affable bartender Jay’s birthday,    Gary stopping by the club that evening.   Among the many in attendance was Helen Streets daughter Kermece, or Kaye as she was perceived by non-family.  An introduction found the musician impressed with her quiescent demeanor, Helen having painted an exacting picture.  Gary experiencing the introduction as an inaugural of something more meaningful to come. It wasn’t long before an attentive relationship began building,  finding the two spending more and more time together.

Gary being introduced to  and feeling very comfortable with the family, the collected Kaye Rice was an only child as was Helen.  also residing at the residence was her grandmother Sarah, and Sarah’s elderly and somewhat disabled husband,  E. W.  Jones, allaying an onset of dementia.  Her mother Helen,  a  vibrant lady having experienced the concaves of being married several times, but knowing the value and security of full time employment,  having worked for the federal government since World War II,  still continuing with an important  position at Tinker Air Force Base.  Kaye having followed suit with government service, employed with the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA)  shortly after graduating from High School.

The band having its ups and downs and with it Gary’s financial situation having suffered, his Desoto payment in arrears.  Sharing his problem with  Kaye, her immediately reaction was to help, inquiring about the particulars of his account,  then discerning she would like to contribute by making the late payments, and to his consternation discovering she took it upon herself to discharge the entire remaining quantum without reservation.

The summer found fellow FAA employee and good friend  Deana 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 Avenue on southwest 53rd.  Kaye somewhat hesitant, but after considerate contemplation acknowledged her acceptance to the invitation.

The inception of the summer heat,  found Gary and the air-conditioned Desoto journeying to and from the FAA 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,  Deana recognizing the contingency, espousing the musician with a like invitation to reside at her residence.  Gary tarried with the offer, his concern was for Kaye and the impression it would have on her family.  After considerable deliberation, leaving the final decision up to Kaye, found Gary giving W.E. Curry, his realtor friend his notice of vacancy, accepting Deena’s offer of residency.

Bobby and the Runaways,  a Chicago combo,  dressed in black or powder blue tuxedo’s, an impressive group entertaining several nights at the Embers Club at Northwest 10th and North May Avenue for an extended engagement.   The lead guitar and featured vocalist,  a Bobby Vinton clone.   Gary was first aware of the Runaways arrival,  when Kaye acknowledged Deana was smitten with the bands drummer.  Gary somewhat curious about a Chicago based band playing at the Embers,  rather than the Copa Club in the Habana   Inn, or one of the other large motels that highlighted established out-of-town bands.

Glenn, The Untouchables drummer was under stress with financial and  family matters,  accepting part-time employment through the week with his father in-law in Lawton, and without a drummer the bands engagements were reduced to week-end status.  Guitarist Jerry Willis  having established a serious relationship with Darlene Philips, her position as a full-time employee at Cattlemen’s Café,  finding the musician occupying his off nights minding her three young siblings during her employment hours.   Gary recognizing the bands situation with Glenn,  and with Jerry somewhat preoccupied, the incentive to progress and give the band direction was stymied.

The pianist desiring a more fruitful source of income , and after a personal introduction to the Runaways by Deena, discovered the group had heard the Untouchables and Gary’s piano,  and was surprised when Bobby made him an offer for him to join the group.  Hesitating, the pianist acknowledged the offer, replying he would give it some thought. Gary visiting with Glenn and Jerry about the offer, not wanting to jeopardize the bands bookings, both agreeing it was his decision to make, that they could find a bass and guitar player,  leaving it up to him to decide to remain or leave.  With Glens current situation and no end in sight, the keyboard musician accepted The Runaways offer.

The management of the Embers Club making an exception in their booking schedule for The Runaways, the band featured five nights with an almost nightly capacity crowd, but as the weeks progressed it began to fade.  Gary could see the handwriting on the wall, Bobby and the Runaways tarry in Oklahoma City would be coming to a close.  Bobby having mention in the past their intentions to move on to Albuquerque.  Gary wasn’t surprised at the suddenness of the band leaving town, finishing a weekend, the next day they were gone, not saying goodbye or asking for the return of the two tuxedo’s given him,  the keyboard musician having become suspicious of the Chicago group,  when discovering the inner label of the tuxedo’s bore the tags of a Chicago uniform rental company.

The following Saturday night Gary paying a visit with Glenn and Jerry at the Tempo Club about resuming his association with the band,  the two welcoming his decision to return.  What was more enlightening was discovering a renewed purpose with added resolve,  a new horizon,  Glenn would be moving his family from Lawton to Oklahoma City, enabling the addition of  productive weekday engagements.

It was the evening of September 10th,  Gary having visualized this moment more than once in the last months,  there was a desire to express himself in some poetic way, but for some reason he was at lost for words.  Looking at Kaye, the two having bonded  expressing their love for each other,  finally concluding to put forth the time honored question    “Will you marry Me” .    kneeling  down,  Her glowing radiance over powering him. Then the answer.   Yes   Her reply giving life a meaning.

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