And Barbara and I did talk endlessly about Lemmy now. I wasn’t trying to plan a way to get to Schenectady since I really thought it was impossible.
One afternoon later that week, Barbara and I were sitting at the kitchen table asking questions of the I Ching and Tarot cards when my first husband Bob, and his best friend Richard showed up for a surprise visit. Bob and Richard and I were inseparable in the early 70’s. Richard later married my sister Lauretta, but they were divorced now and I hadn’t seen him in ages. When Barbara heard me say to him ” You won’t believe it Richard, I’ve found Lemmy!!”, she questioned “You mean you’ve been talking about him since then?” Richard exclaimed “God, she’s been talking about him since I met her…what was it, 1969-70 or so? Look at that Sam Gopal album…it was right there on top of the turntable. “She must have played it about a million times!” It was true. The album was painfully scratched, and the cover was falling apart. “Yes, she’s played it for me”, Barbara said, rolling her eyes. I’d played “Escalator” for Barbara several times as I pointed out the words in “Grass” and how it described that first day with him in Richmond Park, and how “Yesterlove” described how I felt about him leaving my life. She wasn’t really being disparaging of my current obsession with Lemmy, she loved this stuff. We talked about the loves of her life all the time. It was one of our favorite subjects.
“Yeah”, Bob chimed in narrowing his eyes, ” I’ve been meaning to say, I’ve got a bone to pick with you about that. You were always talking about Lemmy back when we were together. That kinda sucked.” I sighed and responded. “What can I say, Bob? I’m sorry…” “Well”, he paused looking down at the floor, “what does Brian think about it?”
“He doesn’t like it either” I admitted.
When Brian and I got together I tried to put Lemmy in the past. “Remember the journal I had from when I was a teenager? It had a photo of Lemmy in it that he gave me. “Remember?” I asked looking back and forth at them. Bob and Richard both nodded. They had seen that portrait of Lemmy, young and smiling. “One of the few things I regret is that I threw that journal into the incinerator where Brian and I first lived on Mattoon Street.” I was trying to sort of pledge my devotion to Brian, and put Lemmy firmly in the past by ritually throwing that photo into the fire. The whole book was important to me. It was a lovely poetic and romantic expression of who I was in my youth, but in truth, it was the photo of Lemmy that I was thinking of as I destroyed it. “That was the stupidest thing to do”, I said, shaking my head. “But, Lemmy is always on my mind, always has been. That’s just the way it is.
I had told Brian that I needed to try to find Lemmy a few years ago, and I sent a letter to the recording company, but the letter was returned to me because the company had folded. I knew of no other avenues I could take to find him. I knew nothing of Hawkwind or Motorhead. For all I knew Lemmy was back in Wales raising horses as he’d told me this was something he’d like to do.
“So you didn’t just get in touch with him now because you found out about Motorhead?” Barbara asked. ” No, Barbara, I’ve been crazy about him for 20 years, since the moment I laid eyes on him on Earls Court Road”, I said, ” I just didn’t find him till now.”
Now, I think this part of the story is amazing! It’s a great “Law of Attraction” story. In case you’re not familiar, the theory and science of it is that you can, in fact, manifest what you want in your life if you can access the feeling of receiving it without having an attachment to it manifesting. So, yes, I wished that I could go see Lemmy in New York, but I put that wish out to the Universe and let it go. Thinking it was impossible, I had made peace with it.
But law of attraction, or fate, or luck, if you will, was at work. I got a call from a friend, asking me to meet her in town. Her name was Kathy. She was a wild woman I’d known for years. She had a reputation for being manic and out of control, running around the streets of Northampton causing scenes. It was unusual for Kathy to call me or make any kind of plan to get together. Our relationship came about randomly when I’d run into her on the street or in the cafe’s. Kathy was financially independent, and could be very generous, but also unpredictable, like the time she offered to get milkshakes for everyone in the park, but then left the ice cream shop impatiently while they were in the midst of making them an disappeared.
I was intrigued by this request to meet her. I imagined she had an issue with her boyfriend Robbie that she needed to talk about, and I was happy to help if I could, so we agreed to meet in the park while Sylvie and her friends played. Kathy and I sat on the park bench talking for quite a long time but she never mentioned why she wanted to see me. I took it in stride because that was just Kathy. We eventually transferred to Bart’s, the cafe across the street, and Sylvie fell asleep while Kathy and I talked. Matt, a friend of both of us, joined in our uneventful conversation.
Out of the blue, Kathy looked me in the eye and said “I want to give you some money!”, then she turned to Matt and said “and I’m going to give you some too”. Matt and I looked at each other quizzically, and looked back to Kathy with nothing to say. “Write out your correct names for me”, she said, handing me a slip of paper and pen. Matt and I didn’t question her request, but did what she asked and she left. Finally we looked at each other and I asked Matt “How long do you think we should sit here?” Matt grinned. We both felt the chances of Kathy coming back were slim, but Sylvie had fallen asleep in my arms, so I wasn’t going anywhere right now.
Fifteen minutes later Kathy fairly flew threw the door and handed us each a money order, saying “ Cynthia, give $5,000 to John, will you?” John was a tall good looking black man who wandered around town barefooted most of the year, cleaning the sidewalks and charming the ladies. I had heard that he once worked on Wall Street and had decided to walk away from that life, and here he was, a fixture in Northampton. Technically, I guess he was homeless, but I knew that wasn’t quite the truth because some of the women around town found him very attractive and he always had a place with one of them, primarily with Margie, a friend of mine, because we were both raising children, and had a “hippie” or at least “alternative” lifestyle to some degree, she much more than myself.
Matt and I looked up at her questioningly and in complete surprise as we took the papers from her hand. She ran out the door as fast as she had come. We had no time to thank her or question her. She was gone.
We looked at the checks in our hands. Matts’ check was for $20,000, and mine was for $40,000. “Can this be real?” we both wondered. “What should we do? I asked Matt. Do you think she’ll come back? Should we go to the bank? I don’t even have any identification with me” I mused.
“Okay”, Matt suggested, “ let’s go to the bank together and see. I’ll hold Sylvie while you go get your license, and we’ll go to the bank right now”. That sounded like a good plan, so I laid Sylvie gently in his lap, and ran like to wind all the way home to grab my license.
Brian was at the sink washing dishes when I ran into the kitchen, grabbed my wallet, and headed for the door. “What’s going on” he asked, “where’s Sylvie?’. “She’s asleep with Matt Hershler up at Barts’. Kathy just gave me a check for $40,000, and she gave Matt a check for $20,000. Matt and I are going to the bank”. Brian dropped the bowl in the sink. I kept going, and ran out the door without further explanation, mostly because I wasn’t used to leaving Sylvie like that and I didn’t want her to wake up before I returned.
Sylvie was still blissfully asleep when I got back to Bart’s. I gathered her up and Matt and I walked down to the bank the money orders were drawn on on the corner of King and Main Street. (What was that now defunct bank called?”)
We sat primly, and yet breathless, in front of the bank lady who asked “So what can I do for you today?” Matt said “ a friend of ours just gave us these money orders for no apparent reason.” We handed them to her. “Can we open accounts?” She looked at the money orders, and then at us as if to say “ Yeah, right” with a besmirched look on her face, and carried on dryly with business of opening up accounts for us and depositing the money. When she had finished asking us all the questions, filling out all the forms and getting our signatures she handed each of us the paperwork. “So…Can we have some of the money then?” Matt asked. “Of course” she said without expression, “how much do you want?” We looked at each other and I said “a $1,000 dollars?” Matt nodded and responded that that sounded good. Walking out of the bank, money in hand, we now knew it was for real.
This “simple twist of fate” made it possible for me to go see Lemmy again after 20 long years.
…to be continued.