(She gave me all her numbers, gave me all her names”). Too Good To Be True
I am 37 years old, I’m married (to Brian, who was born December 21, 1945, 3 days before Lemmy. He is, in some small ways, similar to Lemmy.) I have 2 children, Sun, 10 years old, and Sylvie, 2 years old. I’ve had an interesting life during these years, though not altogether easy. Those years are best left to another story. Brian is a Vietnam veteran with a PTSD disability, so we have very little money, but it’s OK and I’m enjoying raising my children.
In 1973, before Brian, Sun, and Sylvie were a part of my life, I had gone back to London for a visit, and hoped to find Lemmy, with little expectation of that being possible, or any idea how to go about it, and it was to no avail.
Somewhere around 1982-84, I was hardly old, early thirties, but suddenly coming to the realization that I was getting older, and feeling sad about Lemmy and my youth fading away into the past. I decided to write to the record label “Escalator” was recorded on, to see if I could find Lemmy, but my letter was returned to me, address unknown.
Now, in 1988, with Brian, I had been busy raising children, homeschooling, and (okay, don’t laugh…) listening to Rod Stewart.
It’s amazing to me that I hadn’t hear about Motorhead or Lemmy sooner than this, but there you are.
It was early December. Brian, the kids and I had just gone to Haymarket Cafe’ in Northampton for morning coffee, our daily ritual. Carrying Sylvie in my arms as we walked down Main Street, out of the corner of my eye, as we passed Main Street Records, I saw “Motorhead” in the window. I did a double take, only glancing momentairlily at the silhouettes on the Ace of Spades album cover. (“Who the hell are these three Mexican’s and how do they play so fast?!?” Scott Ian). The only time I’d ever heard the word motorhead was when Lemmy excitedly told me Leo had called him motorhead back in 1968 in Earls Court Station. I kept it to myself for the moment and walked on home with my family. Somehow I knew it was related to Lemmy. Recalling it as I write now, I again feel the nervous anticipation I felt in the pit of my stomach that afternoon after seeing those albums in the window.
As soon as the kids were settled, Sylvie napping and Sun reading, I told Brian I had to get some things for lunch at State Street Market. He was rather controlling, jealous and suspicious, you see. I didn’t want to let on at this point, because it would be an issue whether I ever actually contacted Lemmy or not. I ran up to town, and after staring at the album covers in the window, thinking “that could be Lemmy… those look like his legs”, I went inside and looked for Motorhead albums. I’ll never forget that moment when I picked up an album and slowly turned it over and saw the circular photo of Lemmy on the back. I gasped, realizing it really was him. Maybe I’d actually be able to find him…
Holding the album in my hand, I went up to the counter. “Do you know anything about this band?” I asked. “Oh, she said, they’re kind of a heavy metal band. Their best known song is “Ace of Spades”. They’re playing at the Hartford Civic Center tonight”. Oh my God…Lemmy was less than an hour away from me.
I left the store and slowly walked down the street, thoughts spinning in my head. It wasn’t possible for me to go with my first instinct, jump in the car and drive down there. We had no car, I had no money, I had nothing nice to wear, I had children to care for. Sun was fairly independent at the age of 10, but Sylvie was with me all the time other than when playing with her friends in the park, with the collective of mothers taking turns watching them. Even Brian didn’t spend much time alone with the kids. They were almost always with me.
As I walked towards home wondering what to do I passed by a couple of punk kids sitting on the curb. Both of them wearing black, boots, and leather jackets studded and spiked. They both had long hair, and one of them had a brimmed hat circled with red and white dingleberry trim. (an odd choice!). I didn’t hear what they were saying, just “Lemmy” stood out in the midst of the conversation. This was the first time I’d ever heard anyone say his name other than when I spoke of him to my friends or family. I could hardly believe it. It seemed so strange, just moments after finding the album to hear someone speak his name. It was as if some magical portal had been opened and after being invisible to me for all these years I could now see him.
As I walked home I made a decision. I would call the Hartford Civic Center as soon as I got home and try to connect with Lemmy while he was there. Brian already knew about Lemmy (everyone I knew did). I knew he wouldn’t like it, but I had to do this and Brian would just have to deal with it.
I spoke with a woman who worked in the office. My conversation with her went something like this: “ Hi, I just found out this afternoon that my first love, when I was 16, is playing there tonight with Motorhead. I haven’t seen him in twenty years. Would you please get a message to him?” She was very sweet, and understanding how how I was feeling, said she would be happy to. “Oh thank you so much!” I said. “My name was Cynthia Palcynski back then, and his name was Lemmy Willis. My name is Cynthia Jensen now, and his name is Lemmy Kilmister now. Here’s my phone number….please ask him to call.”
I gave her my number, thanked her sincerely and hung up. I took a deep breath. Would he call? Would he remember me? What will I say?
Actually, I knew what I wanted to say. I wanted to thank him for respecting my innocence. He was 22 when I met him and I was only 16, a big difference in age in the teen years, and he had been a gentleman, always. I think I might have done whatever he wanted, I was so crazy about him, but he was neither aggressive or even assertive. I think Lemmy took my inexperience for apprehension so my experience with him remained sensual rather than sexual.
(“Rings of uncertainty carry you from me, or does your minds eye shed lonely tears?”)
He called the next day.
My friend Barbara was there when he called. I had just met her recently and she was often at my house. We’d drink tea and talk endlessly, often about men, reading tarot cards and using the I Ching. Now, with excited anticipation, we talked of nothing else but Lemmy since I’d left the message the day before. I told her everything, how much he meant to me, so she knew what a big deal this was for me. When the phone rang and I gave her the nod that it was him, she kept Sylvie occupied while I talked to Lemmy.
Surprisingly, I was not nervous when I spoke with him. I think I had no real expectations at this point, I just wanted to talk to him. “ Hello? Is this Cynthia? You left a message for me to call? I’m not sure I know who you are” he said”. “Lemmy, I can’t believe it’s you! You knew me in 1968. In Earls Court when you lived on Philbeach Gardens. I was at the Royal Ballet School” I said. “Hmm, he paused, I knew knew a lot of girls who were ballet dancers back then” he said. My heart sunk, but I said “Well, I suppose it doesn’t matter really…”
“So why did you call?” he asked quickly. He was obviously curious. “I called because I wanted to thank you, I said. I was so young, and crazy in love with you. I wanted to tell you how much I appreciate the way you treated me in my innocence. So thank you…for being a gentleman. If he responded to that I don’t recall what he said, but he asked if I’d like to come to see Motorhead. “We’ll be going up to Canada tonight, he said, but we’ll be back in New York in a couple of weeks.” He asked me to hold on while he got the itinerary. “So it looks like we’ll be in Schenectady next” he said. He gave me the name and address of the venue and the date they would be there, none of which I can recall. I thanked him for calling and told him I’d try to come see him and we said goodbye.
I couldn’t imagine how I could possibly get to Schenectady to see him, but I felt happy. Talking to him again relieved a bittersweet longing I had lived with for 20 years. This was very exciting, but mostly I felt a sense of peace and contentment in finding him again. And who knows? Maybe there would be some way, somehow, to get there. Barbara and I had a lot to talk about now.