Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Love That Kept Me Together. Forever!

I shared on Facebook this evening that as a child, I used to pretend that my parents were the 70's singing duo, The Captain and Tennelle. Given the time period: 1976/ 77, I had many duos to chose from: Elton and KiKi, Marilyn McCoo and BIlly Davis jr., Loggins and Messina..but for some reason I picked Daryl and Toni to be my surrogate parents. Why? Well, why not?

Believe it or not, I do remember the day mom brought me their first album from the now defunct Korvettes in Nanuet, NY. Much to my mother's chagrin, I played that "damn" thing over and over until we all had the lyrics to "Love Will Keep Us Together" memorized backwards and forwards. I would carry the album (remember those?) with me to school and actually, I was the envy of my second grade class at Bardonia Elementary school. When I made it home after a hard day of schoolin', I'd prop open the gatefold of the album and talk to "mom and dad". I even knew the names of their Bulldogs: Broderick and Elizabeth. We had good times, the five of us.....good wholesome fun. Daryl was the type of dad I always wanted: kind, loving, quiet. While Toni was everything my mother wasn't: patient, aware and well, quiet. Daryl and Toni loved each other. It was obvious on their weekly television show. They adored each other and I knew that if they knew me, they'd love me, too.
Like Linus and his security blanket, I carried the album with me wherever I went. On one particular day, my mother and I went to visit my aunt Phyllis in her cool bachlorette pad in Mt. Ivy, NY. Remember, this was the 70's so she had a really cool patio covered with potted plants and macramé hangings; very Stevie Nicks, if you will. Well, on this outing, as I was looking over the balcony, my beloved album slipped out of the cover and crashed two stories below. I was inconsolable. I cried all the way home. I cried through dinner. I cried myself to sleep. I cried when I woke up and I cried during school. That was bar none the worst day of my life up to that point. My six year old heart was broken. As broken as my LP. I thought when they cancelled the show I was going to die from the heartache, but this...this was bad.
When I got off the bus that afternoon, mom was waiting at the corner like she always was with a replacement album. She was good like that.
I was back in business!!

Sometime around 1977, I heard my mother talking to said aunt that we were going to be moving to Phoenix, Arizona after the school year. This was news to me. I was horrified. I didn't like change. (I still don't ). I cried and wailed about how everything I knew was there, in the hamlet of Nanuet. Mom being mom knew how to work my angle and asked me, "don't you want to be closer to the Capatain and Tennelle?". Yes. I did. I had my bags packed the next day.
We did move out the Valley of the Sun during the summer of 1978. That October, the state fair came to town. Guess who was playing on opening night? You guessed it!!! I was going to be in the presence of my long lost parents!! We would be reunited just like people are on "The Locator"! Then we'd live happily ever after....
The tickets mom got were so far up in the rafters we could barely see anything, but it didn't matter to me. This was my Beatlemania!!! It was more than my little eight year old heart could handle. I was beside myself with glee. Towards the end of the show, mom let me go all the way down to the stage to get as close as I could. And I did. "Mom" was stunning in a purple staples dress, not unlike the one she wore on that episode of "Love Boat" and dad, he was wearing a Hawaiian shirt with his goofy hat!!! I was so close I was almost positive she looked right at me!!!!!
I could have died that night and been happy with it. I was in seventh heaven.

Just like all things, my Captain and Tennelle era came to an end. I moved on to a single parent situation with Olivia Newton-John. Hey, the times, they were a changin. After that was, of course, Prince. But, he was more of a brother. Or a cousin.

I heard not that long ago that Toni Tennelle could no longer sing and I was truly saddened by that. I also heard that they were living just outside of Prescott, Arizona. A part of me wanted to stop in and say hi to the folks. You know, check on them and see how they've been doing now that I was out of the house and living my life and all, but thought better of it. Maybe it's best that they not know about their secret love child who had been raised by another couple in an Arizona suburb. It might shatter their image.


  1. "single parent situation with Olivia Newton John" LOL!!
    Carolyn, this is such a perfect piece of writing (except for the typos....I'm persnickety). I really mean this. This is worthy of being in The New Yorker. Or in a collection of published essays. Thanks for sharing this!

  2. Thank you, Beth. Sorry about the typos; I'm still getting used to the iPad.

  3. You really capture the mid-70's beautifully but it's still stamped with your own unique experiences. This is wonderful -- I'm looking forward to your next entry!

  4. I know,48^}>?
    That was suoposed to say I know, rifht?
    or I knwo, righrs?
    Fucking touchscren.