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7.21.2017

Places I have Lived: Seattle


Seattle, Washington


I love Seattle. I miss Seattle. I wrote this post about band clothes:

Years ago I had a conversation in Seattle with a musician who told me, "music is medicine." He even had a small record label by that name.

Music was my focus and life in my teens and 20s.  I was a professional rock musician. It was more than a career. It was a calling... (and the weird thing is I am not finding any people in my first family who had musical talent but both my adoptive parents were both talented musicians.)

I'd kept quite a few "vintage" dresses from my rock band days, which was in my 20s, eons ago.  They are kinda like a scrapbook of fabrics (yet I don't sew a lick!)

Why do I keep them?   ...these are many many good reasons...

First, I am from a family of dressy women. My adoptive mom Edie wore evening gowns! I can't even imagine a holiday dinner when she and I (and guests) weren't dressing up.  When I left home at age 17 I had little money to buy like her but I did collect a mix of vintage rayon, satin, silk and retro velvet.
Second, when you are in a rock band, you barely make rent money. Wearing unusual band clothes was a "fitting" thing to do... especially if you are female.  Fitting is my way of telling you it was very hard for me to afford tailoring.  The rock bands I joined had no budget, seamstresses, or dress codes. When I started in the late 70s, there were a tiny handful of female singers.  ((Hint: Linda Ronstadt was one. Heart came along eventually.))

Third, most of these dresses were found in thrift stores yet they are probably the most precious creations I could own or wear.  One vintage 1940s black rayon midi-length has two beaded hummingbirds. (see photo)  I also wore this to work in Seattle, I wore it to nightclubs, I wore it on a cruise. It is still lovely but I did a crappy job hemming it years ago...I found a tiny hole in the bottom of the dress. (No tag inside means it must have been handmade.)

Fourth, mainly it's the feel of fabric and touching recreates memory for me. (Sometimes I think being adopted did cause me some brain damage and trapped some memory in fog.) (I've kept some old tshirts from my travels too; some are from bands, of course.)

I think of band clothes as body armor; in a way these simple clothes create an illusion that isn't there.  Black leather pants -- and what do you think?
Some of my rock band clothes were gifted.  One blue velvet dress was given to me in college by a classmate (the mother of Wendy who I knew somewhat in high school). Her mom wanted me to have this family heirloom and of course I did wear it often.  (I do wonder if Wendy knew about this?)
There is even a pink quilted bed jacket my mom gave me.  No, I have not worn it.  When did the bed jacket thing get popular? I think women in the 1930s and 40s had much better "taste" than we do now.  (I'll admit I've a taste for kitschy colorful table linens, too.)
The rayon green print wrap dress was found in an abandoned house in Wisconsin (my friend's grandmother lived there and was deceased)(top photo of dresses) (I scooped up a black fur coat, too.) That green number was what I was wearing when I met Blackfoot. (You will have to read my memoir One Small Sacrifice to know that rock and roll saga). I also wore it when I sang in Automatic and then Tropic Zone in Minneapolis.
I didn't give up on music; my first marriage killed it for me.

Another post about my working for Jerden Records in Seattle 
Oprah spoke of Maxi Priest and his music is medicine HERE.

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