Finding a Star, When Your Afraid To Shine

It was my dream.  I’ve never really talked about it, somehow I knew it wouldn’t come true.

When I started with American Airlines in 1988, I was sent from Clovis, NM population 30,000 to live in New York City, population way too many.  I was scared out of my mind, but so excited I could explode!  I never really felt like I fit in back home, more my insecurity than anything, so NY was a fresh and exciting start.  I lived with three other young women. in a two bedroom apartment, in Kew Gardens, NY in the borough of Queens. We were the first Flight Attendants to move into the new building.  To this day, it is known as a flight attendant favorite, crawling with blue uniforms, Travelpro suitcases, and five am taxis to the airport.  I loved New York.  I loved the city and all the excitement, but never saw myself staying.  Instead of a bed, I purchased a futon type “thing” and put it right on the floor.  Six months later, American announced they were opening a Flight Attendant Base in Nashville, TN.  They were recruiting for the base.  Here’s where my dream comes in.

From the time I was a little girl, I loved music.  Specifically Country Music.  I can remember sitting in my room playing Ronnie Milsap and The Bee Gees.  I know The Bee Gees weren’t Country, but they were….  The Bee Gees.  As I grew older, I enjoyed many genres of music.  I just loved good music.  I especially had a heart for the songs. To me, a songwriter was in a whole league of their own.  They were gifted people.  Lyrics and Music.  That was my passion.  I find as I write this, that I am still embarrassed to share my heart.  I wanted to work in the Music business, or possibly even sing.

The Flight Attendant base was opened in Nashville, and I got my transfer.  There could not have been a happier young lady on the planet.  The airport held a luncheon at Opryland Hotel for all of the new Flight Attendants and to announce the opening of the base.  We were treated  special, like the city was waiting just for us. It was such an exciting time for Nashville and particularly the airline industry.

I found an apartment close to the airport and settled in.  If you asked me then, and even now, I would say, “I was born to live in Nashville!”  I met another Flight Attendant who liked music as much as I did and we instantly became friends.  Her name was Tamara and she was from Kruger, MS.  Being from a small town also, I had a lot in common with not only her, but the way she grew up. We always had some concert or event to go to on our days off, and because we could fly for free and had the energy of 20 somethings, we stayed busy.

Here I was,  living in the perfect area to pursue my dream.  It wasn’t hard to meet people in the Music Industry, they were everywhere and I was amazed how easy I could strike up a conversation.  That was not me.  But when it came to music, I really had a passion that was hard to turn off.   It also didn’t hurt that I was young, somewhat cute, and could fly around the world.  That leads me to the finding of a star.

When I was in college at New Mexico State University, my girlfiends and I loved to go dancing and listen to live bands. One band that was very popular in the area was The Easy Money Band. The lead singer had also written a lot of songs so they would do original material instead of just cover songs.   I remember thinking that the way they traveled in that beat up school bus, there was no way it was easy.  I loved to dance but I really loved to sing.  My roommate and I became friends with the band and somehow I convinced the lead singer, Toby, to sing a duet with me. We practiced during the day at the club, and he allowed me to sing it with him at night.  We sang a Crystal Gayle song, “Makin Up For Lost Time.”  I shutter now to think how bad I must have sounded, I could never go on stage without a sip or two of encouragement.  I loved it.  Those were some of my best memories of College.

Now here I am in Nashville,  flying, going to concerts, and hanging around a country music crowd.  I was had no idea how a simple flight to Los Angeles would make my life to come so exciting.  I also had no idea that flight would change another persons life, in a really big way, for the rest of his life.  I was picking up trash in Main Cabin, not First Class, when a gentleman asked me for a market bag like the one I was picking up with.  I said sure and retrieved him a bag.  During the flight the same man would listen to cassette tapes, think late 80’s early 90’s, then toss them in the market bag. Sometime later, he handed me the bag and asked me to throw it away.  Ok, just for the record, when you ask a flight attendant to throw something away, we usually take a looksy first.  Can’t help it, I think we were just made that way.  I took a look and saw what to me looked like demo tapes.

“Wow, some poor people have poured their hearts into these tapes. Oh Lori, don’t be so dramatic. They are probably just looking for a song for an artist. Not like someone’s career is on the line or anything.”

I couldn’t help it, I was dying to ask, so I did.

“You listen to a lot of music.”  I must have sounded like a total airhead.

“Yes I do that’s my job, he said. Then he went a step farther and pulled out a business card and handed it to me.

Without looking at it, I muttered a few, wow you must like you job, and how exciting, do you need anything? Then went on my merry way right back to the galley to take another look. Not sure I even noticed the name but there was the title:

President Mercury Records

Woah…….I was wrong. Careers were potentially made by this man. Someone on one of those tapes may get their chance, or not.  I just threw a bag of dreams in the trash.  Certainly those people have given tapes to other important record people, hopefully.  Nothing against this man, he has a job to do, but wow what a job.  Then I remembered something I had put in my tote bag……………. 

 

 

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