Obviously at some point in your life, you have asked the question, "What if I was switched at birth and my real parents lived somewhere else". I wish that I could take back all the time wasted on that thought and the pondering of that question as a younger person. It seems so wrong to speculate on something that never happened or might have happened. Humans have this tendency to always want what may lie on the greener side of their own fence. Whenever my reality went awry all I could think about was that there must be greener fields than in my own yard. My secret castle was hidden in the air. I know I dreamed that on a daily basis. I wanted to jump the fence and take off running so that no one could ever find me and my life would be fabulous grazing that greener pasture. I often believed that someday I would find that green space and all the fame and fortune that went with it. It was to be all that I asked for and I would have all the bells and whistles that came with it. I suppose that being young gives you a certain amount of fantasy based on your lack of life's knowledge, but I was given an abundance of dreams. The fantasies grew daily in my head like a seed that needed to bust through the ground in order to get to the light of the sun. For me that was daily, an urgency that I did not know how to squelch. I just ran with it, for, at times it would become my salvation when all else seemed bleak.
While the dreams and fantasies were good they lacked a lot of information that comes from having everything that you want. Reality is the hard lesson to learn when you really get what you want.
When you begin your ascent into your hopes and dreams make sure you have thought everything through. It's the things that come along for the ride that will trick you up all the time.
My wishes have pretty much all materialized but the added unknown extras that came with them made the reality price go up tremendously.
I began to become more aware of things more in the spring of 1962. I actually got a bit of notoriety for my shows at the center and did a few more singing shows for local day clubs around town and actually made a bit of money. It contributed greatly to my ridiculous vinyl habit. I also became more enraptured in the hair salon my mother went to. I seemed to have developed a thirst for hair knowledge and my ability to understand all of it came very easy for me. A huge opportunity would come for me in the form of a cancellation from "MISS BEATRICE" Mother's hairdresser. She was ill and would be out for two weeks. This was unfortunate for Mother but afforded me an opportunity to show off what I had learned from those many trips to the salon. All the questions that were answered for my understanding surprisingly paid off, much to my Mother's happiness. I suggested that I do her hair for her. I told her that I could set her hair and all we needed were the rollers that "Miss Bea" used and the setting gel for curl support. She laughingly brushed the whole idea off as if I couldn't really do it. She finally gave in and off we went to make our purchases of the things needed. I was overwhelmed at the huge inventory of hair items at the store as I never ventured beyond the record department in any store before. LADY CLAIROL christened me that day as I made my first color application of "Coffee Brown" to my Mother's hair and whipped out her set in 10 minutes after the color was washed off. It was a total shock to my Mother's system as she asked for her bottle of Miles Nervine. While she was unknowingly giving me a huge ego boost, I guess her nerves were just beginning to realize that I really was one those "SPECIAL" boys, she heard talk about. Now mind you that the color and set was not that big of a deal, it would be the final comb out that would make or break the situation. It was also nice that my brother was out of town with my Dad as they had gone fishing and I would not be tortured with remarks about my opportunity.
As the moment of truth was prevailing, I brushed out the rolled set and took that styling comb and took my first stab at teasing hair. In my minds eye and for all the pictures I had seen of the bouffant styles I eagerly attacked with no fear that I could not make it look like those pictures that I had seen. It seemed a little awkward at first and then I remembered how "Miss Bea" would flick her wrist and push down and then I quickly maneuvered the comb to copy her technique. I completed the teasing. I delighted in a giggle from the pain that was caused by my hanging onto her hair for dear life, but let me assure you it was teased. After her quick cigarette break and the drying of the hairspray my moment to shine was just around the corner. It was as if I had done this many times before as Deja-vu spun out of control and I duplicated what I had seen Bea do on many occasions. With no mirror in front of us, I awaited my Mother's viewing results from the bathroom. If there ever was a moment in your life when parental approval was needed this would have been my moment. As an exclamation of "Jesus Christ" loudly expelled from her mouth, I feared the worse but was amazingly surprised as she lauded my creation. "How in the Hell did you do that" she asked.......I had absolutely no idea......I didn't know I couldn't.
Mother had seen me in an entirely different light after that afternoon and it gave me an assurance that I really was not like the rest. I took pride in that knowledge as it would become an indelible part of me. That afternoon took me to a new place that I was totally unprepared for. I had spun ideas of being switched at birth but I knew from that moment on that I was with the right parents. What mother would have let their nine year old do their hair and give him the chance to prove he could succeed.
The greener pastures still would beckon me in my youth but on that day the other side of the fence was not the least bit enticing. It was in my own yard that the grass gleamed. Whether is was from my proving something to myself or the gratitude from my Mother, I was more aware that I was following my path to myself. I would still get caught up in the throws of fame and fortune but it would be some time yet before I understood just how really green my grass was all the time. I don't expect the shooting stars to arrive when those awareness moments occur, I just quietly revel in them. I can feel them....... as they are just points of interest along my sky way.