Wednesday, April 16, 2008

My first broken heart


I've been indulging myself again. Not with food, or shopping sprees, or even those blissful moments of solitude in a steaming tub of fragrant bath oils. Nope, I've been right here, at my computer desk, chasing down my teenage heart throb. Not many people outside my family know about such silly secrets, but I'll share them with you.


Once upon a time, at the tender age of 9 1/2 years old, I watched a television show called: Three Dog Night's Rockin' New Year aboard the Queen Mary. As I watched Three Dog Night sing their #1 single for the year 1971 - Joy to the World, I fell completely and hopelessly in love with one of the lead singers of the group, Chuck Negron. He was, without a doubt, going to be my future husband. The minute that I laid eyes on him, I KNEW this to be true. From that moment on, my every thought revolved around him. I began collecting all of the Three Dog Night albums (12 in all), gathering every tiny bit of information that I could find about him, and the group, and committing it all to memory. I was certain that when I became Mrs. Chuck Negron, all of this would be invaluable information.

Later, during my 7th grade year, my two BFFs fell in love with the other two lead singers, (Danny Hutton and Cory Wells) and became my co-conspirators in romantic fantasy. My world was complete. Not only would I eventually have the most glamorous and envied life of any girl, but my two best friends would share it with me ! What more could I ask for?


For almost a year my friends and I lived in our dreamland, just waiting for the day that Three Dog Night came to town and swept us away with them. Of course, the waiting wasn't easy. My brothers laughed, mocked, and ridiculed our dreams. More than once, my mother tried to calmly and rationally explain why I couldn't possibly be in love with a Rock star, 20 years my senior, who I had never met. But, It didn't matter what anyone said, or thought. It was simply a truer love than they could comprehend - it was destiny ! (Chuck, Danny, and Cory would realise this - as soon as they met us.)


After years of waiting and planning, my love for Chuck had finally reached perfection, and the fates arranged for Three Dog Night to play in my town. It was perfect, a Friday night, at an outdoor concert - we would meet, and fall in love under the stars. *SIGH*


My girl friends and I had less than a month to plan. We would have to shop for new outfits, buy new make up, choose the right perfume, have out hair and nails done to perfection. Everything had to be perfect for the night that we would meet our soul mates - our destiny. And of course, we had to buy our concert tickets and get permission from our moms.

I went to my mom to give her the happy news. Without even looking up from her news paper, my mother said, "I'm sorry, but you can't go. The whole family will be in Arizona the week of the concert, visiting my brother and his family."

I couldn't believe it!! I was devastated. No matter how much I begged and pleaded, there was no way of getting out of it, or making other arrangements so that I could go. Even worse, my other two friends weren't allowed to go either - some crap about 14 year old girls being too young to go to a rock concert by themselves.

That was my first broken heart. I cried every night until we got on the plane for Arizona. I spoke very little the entire trip. When we got home, I couldn't listen to my albums any more, it made me too sad. A year later, in 1975, Three Dog Night broke up. Shortly after that, my girlfriends moved away and we lost touch. I have no idea what finally happened to all my albums and my scrap book filled with information and all our plans. Eventually, life went on, but it was never really the same, never as magical, or as dream filled, as I remember it used to be.

About a year ago, I stumbled upon a book in the library called Three Dog Nightmare. It's an auto biography written by Chuck Negron. (who is now, 65 years old) For the first few chapters, he chronicled his childhood and the early years of Three Dog Night, much of which I knew by heart. Then, he began to write about what was happening to his life behind the scenes. That in his teen years, he started getting high on cough syrup, and then he moved on alcohol, pot and and other drugs. By the time they filmed Three Dog Night's Rockin' New Year s Eve aboard the Queen Mary, he was a hard core Heroin addict. By the time that they played in Kansas City, the day my heart was broken, his whole life was about heroin. Not long after the band's break up, he was penniless, had sold all of his gold albums for drug money, and was living on the street. He did eventually turn his life around, and formed a rehab support group for musicians addicted to drugs. It's a very sad and shocking story. When I finished the book, I realised that if I had met him, I never would have even liked him, much less loved him.

Only a few weeks after I read his book, I was channel surfing and happened upon a show called Intervention. It's a reality show about families that do intervention for family members and friends that are worst case drug addicts and alcoholics - sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't. Chuck Negron and his ex-wife were doing an intervention for his son Chuck Jr., who is also a heroin addict. In his case, the intervention failed, and his son is now serving time in prison. Very, very sad.

Chuck has gone back to singing solo, but mostly at small engagements like community fairs and festivals. In fact, the inspiration for this blog came about, because last night, while I was playing around on You tube, I came upon clip of Chuck Negron preforming here in Olathe for our annual Labor Day festival, Bull Whacker Days. Only 6 months ago, in September 2008, He was singing less that 3 miles from my house, and I had no idea. I remember that my kids really tried to get me to go to the festival, but I refused. Thirty years ago, I would have traded my soul just to be that close to him.

Honestly and truly, I have no idea what the moral of this story is. Maybe, it's pointless ? If you figure it out, I'd love to know.

Strangely, that is what has been floating around in my mind lately.


Good night all,
Love,
Susan

3 howled back:

sparsely kate said...

You know, I loved reading this story. My first love affair was with Boy George from Culture Club and I also had a soft spot for a very negro looking Michael Jackson. But Boy George - never mind he wore women's clothing and eye liner like an inner city crack whore - I loved him. I still do love him deep down :)

I think the love that we feel at that young age is so passionate and real and I can imagine how much you would have wanted to meet him, to see him or be in the same room as him. sigh.
If only we could take that sort of love and put it into something real, like reality but sadly for most of us, that overwhelming love doesn't fold over into day to day stuff. Fooey.
The first love is always the best.

And you know what happened to my darling Boy George? He's now up on some charges for binding and tying up a male escort worker who was sure he was going to be chopped up and dismembered by a stoned George.

Yours is a washed up junkie, mine is a deviant sex fiend.
Ah, love it.

Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

The story isn’t pointless: memories never are pointless.

Catherine said...

As I see it, your story could have several meanings but only you could determine the actual meaning, I have listed a few ofr ya below! I enjoy your blog and wanted to thank you so very much for you comment on my page - knowing that I am not alone is really important to me at this stage - Thank you! Cat
1.) Mother is always right! ( ha!)
2.) Childhood dreams happen in childhood for a reason.
3.) Life happens even when you are in Arizona.
4.) Memories last a lifetime ( that sounds like a hallmark moment!)
5.) who you think people are, is not who they really appear to be.