Tuesday, August 16, 2022

"So You're the One!"

 So You're the One! 

By Patti Murawski

The Harrison Alliance

Oct/Nov/Dec/Jan 1976-1977


It was one of those rare times in my life filled with positive energies and everything seemed to be going right.  Even the weather, mild for mid-November, seemed to be indicative that something was indeed cooking in the cosmos.

I found myself full of energy and unusually happy for no reason at all.  It all seemed strange; stranger still, I kept having visions of the Dark Horse LP cover during my weekly hatha yoga class, when I was trying to direct my consciousness to relaxing my muscles.

Upon returning from yoga class, I found a note that my good friend Zig had called; he wanted me to call back immediately as the matter was urgent.  Jann and I agreed that something very important must have come up if Zip left a message like that, but little did we know….

When Zig answered the phone, he told me to grab a pencil and paper to copy down a phone number; it was a Boston number.  I was puzzled; “What, why, what is going on?”

“George is in Boston!” I was thunderstruck.  “Blue saw him, he’s doing a press party there, right now.”  Jennie, looking at the expression of disbelief frozen into my face, tugged at my sleeve insistently whispering “what, what is it?!?!”  “Blue saw George in Boston” I managed to gasp; Jenn’s eyes opened wide in disbelief.

“Call the number, ask for Blue.  It’s a phone outside the party.”  Zip said, “at the Copley Plaza.”  Quickly I hung up and we tried repeatedly to call the number until we finally reached our friend, Blue.  She was so filled with excitement that she could hardly tell us what was going on.  What we found was that George was on a promo tour and tonight’s stop was Boston.  Blue was at a phone right outside the room where the party was being held.  George was due to come out soon, so she had to go.

Several short phone calls later, past midnight now, we learned that George was leaving for Washington in the morning.  Tempy figured that he would leave around the time she had seen him leave Chicago, between 9 and 11 am.  Jennie was talking to Blue and Tempy when she suddenly stopped and asked me, “Do you want to go to Boston tonight?”  I asked her if she was kidding; she knew how I felt, one of my best friends had just seen George, and George himself was only a 2 ½ to 3-hour drive away.  She was willing to call in sick to work.

We were on the road at 1:30am and believe me, the Massachusetts turnpike is really spooky at night  There’s not lights on the pike, and we saw maybe ten cars and trucks the whole 100 miles to Boston.  We played the radio loud and opened the windows to let the cold night air in so that we’d stay awake.  We kept assuring ourselves we would see him and prayed that we would.

We were bound for Tempy’s apartment, so we had to get off the expressway at Copley Square.  I looked up at all of the Plaza’s six floors and supposed George was up there asleep; it was maddening to know there was only a few feet of stone and a few hours between us.  By the time we found a parking space on Beacon Street and dragged ourselves upstairs to Tempy’s apartment, it was nearly 4 AM.  After warming up with cups of tea and getting the details about the party and some other trivial conversation.  We decided to try to sleep for a few hours.  We got up at 7:30 to get ready and were soon on our trek to the Plaza.  We stopped at a donut shop for breakfast but hurried, fearing George would leave for the airport sooner than expected.

Tempy, Blue, Jenn, and I invaded the lobby and took strategic seats so that we had both sets of elevators covered.  Like the Plaza in NYC, the Copley Plaza has three exits on different sides of the building; however, the Lord’s grace was on us because at two of the exits renovative work was in progress.  There was only one exit George could use.  We smiled and sat patiently while the bell captain sneered at us from behind his desk and the housemen came through to check how many of us had infiltrated.  There were us four plus an acquaintance of Tempy’s, Tina.

A Warners honcho walked in and went upstairs.  I couldn’t miss the promo sticks on his briefcase of just about every artist on W/E/A.  Then, two Warners people came downstairs to the front desk.  One of them was the one that had just gone upstairs.  Jenn and I decided to take a walk past them and outside scan the street for limos.  Nothing.

Shortly after, Josephine, a middle-aged woman on the tour who coordinated the schedules, came down to the desk and then went to speak to the bell captain.  A garment bag and some cloth luggage soon arrived at the bell captain’s desk.  Tempy recognized it as some of the entourage’s luggage.  Jennie and I volunteered to check for limos again.  We walked past Jo into the tiny foyer and out the door; sitting there, lined p from the corner t the hotel door where four Fleetwoods with matching drivers and a plainclothes cop.  We stayed outside for a few minutes, then went in to alert the others with a quiet “it’s time to go outside.”  We got up and walked out to the street.  Tempy took one look at the limos and said, “this is it” but, she added, we would have to wait until the luggage was packed into the cars.

It was mild and sunny out; everyone began to light readings and adjust their cameras.  We tried to think of some way to get George’s attention to stop him for a few minutes.  Since I was the only one without a camera, I was elected to “run interference” so to speak.  The night before I’d grabbed two copies of the picture that ran in Billboard of George and Mo Ostin, thinking that if he was in the mood, maybe he’d sign for someone, and then I could get in on it too; but, I didn’t want to be the one to ask, since he’d been noted for an aversion in that respect.  However, it seemed that for me to ask would be the only way to stall him somewhat, so I mustered up all my courage and agreed.  I told the others I didn’t want to ask, but Tempy and Blue assured me he was in a great state of mind and that he had signed for countless people last night at the party, so one more person asking wouldn’t hurt.

As it happened, I was also wearing a Friar Park Studios t-shirt exactly like the ones I sent him last fall.  Since it was warm, I could wear my coat open, creating the perfect opportunity for him to notice; everyone kept saying the shirt would get his attention and perhaps stall him, but I kept saying, “What if he doesn’t notice?”

I began to get a case of nerves as the parade of luggage started out the door.  Assorted suitcases, cardboard boxes, and garment bags were quickly packed into the cars; the last item in line was George’s acoustic guitar packed in a blue travel case.  It was carefully taken into the back seat of one of the lead cars.

This is the picture of the November 13, 1976 ad from Billboard Magazine that she had Mo and George sign

Warners people began to filter out and find places in the car.  Mo Ostin came out the door and remembering that George had gotten a kick out of someone who had Mo sign the Billboard ad too, the night before, I slowly started over to him.  Tempy whispered, “Get Mo’s.”  I called to him as he passed me.  “Would you mind signing?”  I asked.  He chuckled at the picture as he took the pen from me.  “Let’s see if I can do this.” He began as he signed one.  He started to hand the pen back to me, then realized there was another to he signed.  He signed both of them on the note bad on the desk in the picture.  “Thank You,” I said as he gave me back the pen; “Thank you,” he said enthusiastically as he took a step towards the car, smiling.  He had put me totally at ease.

Some of my nervousness had melted away with the encounter with Mo, but I still felt a bit apprehensive about George.  More Warners people walked out, along with James Montgomery, the Blues artist.  Jo came out next; she silently walked past us.  As she was getting into the car the plainclothes cop asked her if it was alright to take photos and I heard Jo tell the cop, “It should be about five minutes.”

My eyes were glued to the door; no sooner had she said that when some Warners people came though the foyer door; through the glass I could see right behind them a fellow with a mass of long dark wavy hair wearing a grey and brown plaid cap, his head down as he started through the foyer door.  I was momentarily stunned.

‘Here he comes” I said quietly, now feeling totally at ease.  He came through the foyer door.  “There he is” Blue said excitedly.  He hesitated at the outer door.  George stood behind the glass for a split second, panning the five of us and the car; as he started out, his head came peeking around the glass first.  Everyone greeted him with a “hi” or “hello George” and cheery smiles; he smiled and said “ello” as he hesitated.  He started walking slowly down and across the sidewalk to the car.  I slowly approached him; as I took my first step /I noticed he had a yellow travel bag in one hand and a lit cigarette and his bicentennial sunglasses in the other.  I thought, “Oh, he won’t want to sign, he’s got his hands full.”

My first question was, “George do you got a minute?”  He looked at me and said, “Sure!”  “Would you mind signing?” I said gesturing with the ads and the already uncapped pen.

He stopped and put the bag down; a Warners person scooped it up.  I don’t know where the cigarette and sunglasses disappeared to.  I held the ads from underneath with one hand, and stepped closer to him; his left hand went under the ad to support it too.  He reached over to take the pen from me, grabbed a few of my fingers, and managing to place a blue ink streak across one of my fingers.  As he took the pen from me he noticed Mo had signed the ad.  He pointed to Mo’s signature; “Oh, you had Mo sign!” he said gleefully with a smile on his face, then added with much enthusiasm, respect, and affection, “Mo, he’s so GREAT!”  “Yeah!” I said agreeing as I watched him signing the ad across the belly in the picture.  I was searching my mind for something else to say and was about to say something about WB when Jenn spoke up.  She had realized George wasn’t noticing the FPS t-shirt.  “George…” she began.  He looked up at her; she gestured toward me and said, “Patti’s the one who sent you the shirts.”  He leaned over to see my shirt, then looked down at the ad for a moment.  He began to pick his head up and turn towards me.  I thought, “Oh no.  I can’t look….” Knowing he was going to look me in the eye, but I just had to!  His head came up and he looked me straight in my eyes with his intense dark eyes and said sweetly, “Oh, so you’re the one who sent them!”  “Yeah,” I said quietly.  He glanced down as he finished signing the first ad and looked up at me again, “Did you get the note I sent?” (referring to the postcard he sent me last year).  “Yeah!  Thanks!” I said, but at the same time he also said “thanks.”  He sort of leaned over to look at the shirt again and exclaimed, “I don’t know why nobody else noticed it.”

I asked him to sign the second ad for Jennie; he said, “Sure.”  I could hear all the cameras snapping away.  I noticed his hair was longer than the ad picture which had been photographed just weeks before.  He needed a shave.  Jenn and I both noticed that his hair and eyes are a beautiful matching deep brown.  He was wearing a green jacket styled after an army field jacket; on the left shoulder was a patch for the World Wildlife Fund with a Panda picture on it.  Under the jacket, he was wearing a sweater similar to the one he wore in the Billboard ad (not the same one though, it was of different colors) and a t-shirt.  He was wearing washed-out light blue jeans and his belt bore the familiar Dark Horse belt buckle.


As he was signing for Jenn he gestured with the pen and glanced up at me asking, “Where did you get these?” meaning the pictures from the ad.  “From Billboard” I answered.  “Oh, you bought Billboard!”  he said rather cutely as if to really say, “You don’t usually buy Billboard, but I know why you bought Billboard because Mo and I are in it!”  Tina asked him to sign an “All Things Must Pass” music book as he said the thing about Billboard.  He had a huge smile on his face as he finished signing for us.

He took a step to the side and raised his hand as if to wave “Well, I’ll see ya,” he said as he started for the car.  Everyone said goodbye and thanks; as he walked away from me, I said, “Enjoy your trip, George!” He glanced over his shoulder and called “Thanks!”

He walked to the car; it was funny how he climbed in.  He bent forward at the waist, his head going into the car fist; his legs and bum followed as he literally climbed into the car and sat down in the middle of the back seat.

Tempy, Blue, and Tina started to walk toward the square up the block.  “Well, what do you want to do now?”  I noticed the cars weren’t moving because the light was red and the cars were parked from the corner to the door.  I took a few steps up the walk where I could see George in the car, and strained to look through the glare on the window.  “Let’s wave,” I said, waving, gesturing to the others that the car wasn’t moving.  George leaned over and waved back.  The car moved a bit, then stopped.  George was watching, Jenn and I watched him; he began to talk to the person on his right.  You could tell he was talking about us as he would glance back and forth from the person to the window; he was smiling at us, then pointed to us, and turned to talk.  Jim Montgomery moved up in his seat and looked out the window; George leaned over further so that he could see us too.  I leaned over towards Jenn and said, “They’re talking about us…”  Then I started realizing why and laughed, “They’re talking about the shirt!”  I Was wearing a double-breasted coat and the flap on the front had closed over the Friar Park Studios shirt.  Deadpan, I reach over and pull the right side of my coat all the way open.  George began to laugh and pointed excitedly to me, shaking his finger to emphasize the fact that Jim should look now to see the FPS shirt.  Jim appeared in the window again to see what George was so excited about.  Jenn and I were standing n the sidewalk smiling; he was so cute, like a little kid!  He was getting a kick out of us getting a kick out of his reaction.  It felt good to make him laugh.

The car made move to pull away; George waved goodbye.  We waved back.  The car stopped for a second; the light turned green and as the car pulled away, he was smiling and waving goodbye to us once again; we waved goodbye for the last time.  The car pulled into traffic and down to the red light in the next block; the last thing I remembered as the light turned green was seeing his brown and grey cap bobbing the back window as he settled into the seat for the drive to the airport.



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