Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Rhthymettes

When I started this blog, Erika suggested I write something about my days with the Rhythmettes, and the other day Lisa Hufft Wacklin wanted to know how I met my husband.  Now, my kids know that I do not enjoy ambling down Memory Lane. That's the past.  It's over.  It's done.  Let's move on!  But I guess a short stroll would be OK.

In the late 40's, I was a member of The Rhythmettes,  an all-girl dance trio.  We played in what were called "supper clubs" back in the day, which were restaurant/bars, with dance floors. There was Joanne, who was our drummer and doubled on trumpet.  She was a blue-eyed blond, whose grandparents came from Czechoslovakia. All her extra money went to support a  horse that she kept at her parents' place up in Oregon. Then there was Marian, half French Canadian and half Assiniboine Indian.  She was a beautiful girl with raven-black hair and a stride which we used to tell her looked like she was crossing a plowed field. She played alto sax and was essentially our manager, dealing with the agents and bookings and so on. And  there was Jeannie, with the light brown hair, on piano.  (Actually, we hennaed it for awhile, so there would be one of each, but it was pretty reddish to start with so it didn't make much difference.) We spent part of one summer and fall in Illinois and Wisconsin, but mostly our dates were in the Western States, including Wolf Point, Montana, which was Marian's home town.  Indians were not allowed into establishments that sold liquor in those days, so that Marian's family never got to hear us play.  We traveled by car where I was usually wedged into the back seat with Jo's drum set.  We lived in quarters provided by whatever club we were appearing in.   The pay was good, we were young and footloose and fancy-free and we had a lot of fun.  We were together for almost three years until I met the father of Mrs. Wacklin's Ina Drive buddies.  After the combo broke up, I lost contact with the other two girls and I have no idea what happened to them.

We were playing a date in Redding, California at a club called El Capitan, when a young engineer from Sweden began  to drop in most evenings.  He was good-looking and charming with an endearing accent.  He drove the most gorgeous new Packard anyone in those parts had ever seen.  In due time, we linked up, I left the Rhythmettes, and became a suburban housewife, piano teacher, and mother of three human beings who have enriched my life.

Okay.  Back to the present.

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