I have the good fortune to be among some really great neighbors. We decided we needed to have a block party which we did last Saturday. In spite of the rain, we had a good turnout. I played for just under an hour and had a very fine time. I had several neighbors come up to me surprised that I could sing! I ended with a rousing interactive rendition of the Hokey Pokey much to the elation of lots of wee people and big ones alike. After my set ended, the Flat Tire Trio came on stage and sounded great. Hope to do this again.
My new song, The Picture, was started in my mind shortly after my mother died in 2007. My mother had a first husband before my father. His name was Charlie Burnette. Their story is one of love, risk and ultimately sacrifice and tragedy. This is a story that needs to be told because, as I know, Betty and Charlie loved each other very much and made the most of their short time together. From a file that was found after my mother's death to research about train travel in 1943, The Picture tells this brief and important story of Betty Porter and her first love Charlie Burnette.
My sister found the small folder in our mother's belongings that contained photographs, mementos and letters - evidence of an important but short period of our mother's life. She met Charlie in about 1938. It was obvious that they loved each other very much - all I had to do is look into their eyes in the photographs left behind. The letters he wrote were of mundane subjects but were an indication of his care for her. Sadly, other letters were written by her employer to the War Department desperately seeking answers about Charlie's whereabouts after May 2, 1945 when his plane disappeared from the sky over Borneo.
I hope you will listen to The Picture and think of it not as the sad story it is but as a tribute to two young people, very much in love and willing to take the risk of having some time together. There are no guarantees during wartime.