Life’s Road

9 Aug

  So everyone knows I can be a pretty deep thinker sometimes and when that happens, you also know I tend to write (and if you didn’t, you do now). I was sitting there thinking about how  funny life is and how many different roads it takes us on, how many people we meet along the way, and how in some way, if we pay close enough attention to the directions we’re given,we wind  up  exactly where we’re supposed to be whether we realize it or not.

  My road started out in Mobile, AL, 41 years ago. I moved fr0m Mobile to Atlanta, GA, in the early 70’s where I met some great people  like my first real best friends, Jon-Ann Fillman and    Michelle Anderson. We would spend hours singing along to and swooning over Shaun Cassidy, going to Six Flags every summer, roller skating in the street, climbing the neighbor’s apple  trees  and getting into trouble and  catching crawfish in the creek behind my house. If it weren’t for Michelle, my love of the opposite sex would have never gotten started so early. Her  brother,  Robbie, was yummylicious!  From  Atlanta, the road curved to back to Mobile, AL, where I grew up playing “surgeon” with my cousins, David (who wanted to be a surgeon like his  dad and  made that dream come true, Caroline  (David’s sister who was always “scrub nurse #2), and his other sister, Donna, whose dolls were unfortunately always the “victim” of these  surgeries with  their stuffings torn out and replaced  with paper intestines. My family is so amazing, I love every member of it. I was lucky to have  been able to spend so much time with my  grandparents on  both sides, my aunts and uncles and  all of my cousins. I was also lucky to attend a private school, Mobile Jr. Academy where I made some amazing friends like “Tinket”  Hilton and Todd  Hussong, who I still talk to 30 years later.  While in Mobile, I also met the first love of my life, George Edwards. He was an older man of 13. He was so handsome and I remember all the girls  being so jealous because I was the hand he held every day at recess, I was the one he would send notes to during history class. I remember my first gift from him, some Avon perfume in an owl decanter. Man that stuff stunk, but I wore it everyday with a smile on my face. I wish I knew what happened to George and where he is these days. In the mid 80’s, the road curved again to Montgomery, AL. If I hadn’t moved there, I would have  never met the second love of my life, David Girdner. He was 16 (I was 14 and very self conscious at that age, of course). He shaped my view of myself as a person and made me see myself through different eyes and he showed me how to  appreciate the person that I am. I miss our couple skates and riding around in his Honda CRX. I also never would have had the opportunity to spend time with one of my favorite people, my cousin, Pam Cornelius. Man did we have some good times!

My time in Montgomery ended after about a year and dad got a job in Raleigh, NC, so time to hit the road again. Raleigh was the turning point in my life, I was entering my high school days. When we first arrived into Raleigh, my brother and I attended a small private church school and when I say small, I mean maybe 20 kids? I met some wonderful people at this school, most of whom I still talk to today. I remember the days when Madeline Herman and I would wait outside for Barry Stephenson to drive by in his “Stone’s School Supply” delivery van and bring us a Coke or just stop to talk. Man, Barry was awesome and turned out to be one of my best friends and first “real kisses”. He stayed around even when Madeline and I parted ways. I think about him quite often and would love to just see him and catch up, let him know how important his friendship was to me. Another wonderful person I met while at this school was Donny Miller. He had no idea that I had the biggest crush on him back then, or maybe he did, who knows. I just remember we always had this connection that to this day, I haven’t had with anyone else. I talk to him on Facebook but miss him dearly and whether he believes this or not, we’re soul mates. He’s in Tennessee and I’m still in NC, so apparently life must disagree with me on that point, but I still think it’s a fact of life. After the private school, I graduated to 9th grade which meant (gulp) high school at Garner Senior High. I think this was place was the true turning point for me, shaping me into the person I am today. I keep up with most of the amazing people I met there – Angie Pearce, Tammy Godwin (Costello) , Tammy Motley and Kathy Pickett who were my in-between classes and sit around gossiping in the cafeteria friends … Dana Kelly who was my best friend that lived next door to me in Panther Run (man do we have some stories that we can’t disclose on here!) … my first REAL boyfriend was from Garner, remember getting my first “grown up kiss” behind the Galaga machine at Skate Ranch. Man, I just got chills thinking about that one! I won’t say his name because it’s really no one’s business but those who read this and know me, know who he was. He was always a great guy and still is to this day. I remember roller skating at Skate Ranch every weekend, pep rallies in the auditorium, football games on Friday nights in the fall, going out to lunch with Dana and Tim Porter at Hardee’s or George’s, hanging out by the lockers and talking about anything and everything, Jordache and Guess jeans, Swatch watches, LA Gear high top sneakers, parachute pants, Members Only jackets, “Footloose”, “Risky Business”, “Sixteen Candles”, peeling the stickers off my Rubik’s Cube because I’d get pissed that I couldn’t solve it, Pac Man elbow, Donkey Kong, sitting by the radio with the tape recorder waiting on the dj to play your favorite song that you requested, the first 40 lb “bag” cell phone, and other great memories of the decade that was MTV, Pepsi Clear, Madonna, Culture Club and Duran Duran – the 80’s. The late 80’s brought so many amazing people into my life that I can’t imagine not being there.

So life’s path takes us through graduation and into the grown up world of having a job – aka, the late 80’s, early 90’s. My first REAL job was as a research analyst at Wachovia Bank. Man did I love that job. I wish they hadn’t moved their ops center to Winston Salem, NC or I’d still be there. While there, I used to go to the Longbranch ALOT with coworkers. It was at the Longbranch that I met the guy I just knew I was gonna marry, Richard Mood. We dated until he joined the Air Force. I still wonder from time to time “what if”. He’s happily married now with 2 little boys and an amazing wife so I guess life worked out the way it was meant to be. I worked a second job as a manager at Eckerd Drugs that used to be in Holly Park Shopping Center. If I hadn’t taken that job to have some extra money, I would have never met one of the most important people in my life, Haus Vaughan. I love this guy with all I have in me and he will always own a part of my heart that no one else can touch. I remember he, Billy Kent and Mikey used to come down from Western Auto every night I worked on their breaks to get drinks and snacks (and later I learned, to make sure I was ok working at night). Those were the highlights of my nights, waiting on the guys to come in. I remember late night/early morning rides around town with Haus in the street sweeper with Kiss blaring while we cleaned the streets around town til maybe 2am. I remember our trip to Kings Dominion and the crappy truck stop hotel we had to stay at with the lopsided bed, long nights talking at Dominick’s, and just being ourselves together. I miss those days but as I said, life takes us down different paths but by some strange stroke of luck, our roads crossed again 3 years ago and we’re still as close as ever, as if there was no time between. I’m thankful for that. It’s also brought Billy and Mikey back into the picture which is just awesome too. After Eckerds, I took a job as a reservations agent at American Airlines in Cary, NC where I worked late nights with such great people as Debbie Daniels and Ron Scott who are still two of my best friends today. While at American, I took a random late night reservations phone call from Marshall Hilliard who has been a close friend now since 1997. We’ve never met in person but that hasn’t put a damper on our friendship at all. He’s one of the best guys I know.  American lead me to corporate travel where I planted roots for nearly 13 years as a corporate travel consultant. I worked at various onsite offices and met more of the wonderful people in my life such as Cary Disney, Buddy Perry, Shawn Joyner, and Brian Hurley. I just love these guys and am so thankful they stuck around. Great co-workers make working so much more fun, even when you wanna rip someone’s head off and spit down their throats.

Enter the 2000’s and the era of social media. Everyone hopped on the bandwagon and I’m so glad I did because I met people that would completely change the path I was heading. I tried the whole internet dating thing and met one of my best friends, Jonathan Williamson. We dated off and on for awhile but unfortunately the dating thing just didn’t work out due to various things, none of which were bad things, we were just better off as friends. To this day, he means the world to me and is someone I would do anything for. Now Myspace and Facebook mania takes over … I met up with Jim Carroll whose son, Jason Michael, had JUST signed a record deal in Nashville and was releasing his debut cd. I was invited to the cd release party at the Lincoln Theatre in Raleigh, NC in 2007. I posted a message on his wall to let him know how happy I was for him on the cd release and later that night got a private message from a songwriter in Nashville named John Griffin. John had seen my post on JMC’s page and told me that he wrote a song that the opening artist for that show was gonna sing. His name was Jason Marks. He asked me to listen and let him know what I thought. Little did I know that this one email would kick start my whole music promotions passion and possible career. I met Jason that night and we became good friends, I eventually became the marketing director for he and his band, the Jason Marks Band. This one domino started a whole domino effect, first one artist, then others caught onto what I was doing and Lovin’ Lyrics Music Promotions was born. In 2009, I lost my job as a travel consultant and thought my world was gonna end for about two days. Then I realized that it was time for my life to begin. I won a trip to CMA Fest in Nashville in 2009 and while there, I realized that music was where I needed to be, it was my passion and what I needed to be pouring myself into. I also met Denise Packham who I adore, she also helped re-ignite my love of music. Now here it is, 2011 and I am working with some of the top names in the business and call people such as Joe Bonsall and Duane Allen of the Oak Ridge Boys as well as Eddie Montgomery of Montgomery Gentry personal friends. Since I’ve started this promotions thing, I’ve also met some of the best people I could ever hope to call friends – Anthony Barham and Ingrid Ward. I’ve also “met” some fantastic people on Twitter and Facebook. Who would have thought?

Now, here it is, I’m two months away from leaving this place I’ve called home since 1980 and am moving 3 hours east to the NC coast, away from friends and basically starting a new chapter in my book of life. I can only wonder where this road will lead, who I will meet that might impact my life as deeply as those mentioned above and what will happen. It’s scary, yet exhilarating. I am scared to start over, give up my job (even though it sucks) and be so far removed from things but I feel in my heart it’s a good thing. One can only hope that this path leads to some amazing places and people. It’s funny how many different turns life takes but always brings you back to the place you’re meant to be. It may take awhile to get there, but we all eventually do. We have to stop and appreciate the “attractions” along the roadside and keep those good memories that follow you along the path.

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