I was in the swimming pool at the Rec-Plex at my aqua aerobics class the other morning, when the song “Love Potion Number Nine” came over the speaker.
“I took my troubles down to Madame Rue. You know that gypsy with the gold capped tooth.”
No matter where I am or what I’m doing, when I hear this song, it takes me back to the mid-1960s and one of our family Christmas gatherings. My mom was from a big familty, eight children in all and when the families started expanding, the brothers and sisters took turns hosting our annual Christmas get-together.
So why does this song take me back? My older brother, Darrell. Darrell loved to play the drums. I’ve never forgotten that evening with him sitting on the side of a twin bed in one of my cousins’ bedrooms and just drumming away with his hands on the edge of the nightstand to “Love Potion Number Nine”. It is such a poignant memory because it was the first time I remember hearing him drum to the beat to a song and dern, he was good! This was the start of a life-long love of his.
Darrell always marched to the beat of a different drummer. Our dad owned a Sinclair gas station and he wanted Darrell to work for him, but what Darrell wanted to do was write. He loved to write, and he was really good at it. He got his Masters Degree in Journalism one weekend in June, 1980 and married his fiancee the next. True to his love of drumming, he played drums with the band (back in the day when you had live music) at his wedding reception . His specialty was the drum solo in ” Wipeout”. It’s I’m long, but as they say now, take a listen.
He went on to write professionally with the St. Louis Globe Democrat and his dream job with the short-lived St. Louis Sun.
I guess our parents must have recognized Darrell’s talent because they indulged his passion and bought him his first drum set.
Our basement routinely hummed (that’s not the right word, more like rattled) to the beat of his drums, first to the loud music from the 45 spinning on the portable record player and later to his basement band.
When the band got together, it wasn’t only our house that rocked but so did our neighbors. This was at a time though that everyone knew everyone else in the neighborhood and were more tolerant and our house was the neighborhood hangout so parents always knew where their kids were.
The young boys in this picture are only memories now. None of them got to live to their golden years. The neighbor boy Bill on the left (1950-2007), in the center is my brother Steve (1958-2021) and Darrell on the right (1952-1993).
If only Madame Rue had a longevity potion.