After graduating from high school, I worked for a company called “Brooks Camera”, which is no longer in business. I was employed as a film processor, which was not an enjoyable experience for me. The job required that undeveloped film be removed from its canister in a darkroom, then a weighted clip is placed on the end of the film, after which the film would be put on a machine that would dunk it into different chemical solutions. It was critical to the process that light rays were not allowed into the room while the film was being developed because it could cause film damage, or film fog.
Because of breathing the chemicals for hours at a time, it was not uncommon for me to have headaches. My work shift began at 3:00 p.m. and ended on most nights around 1:00 a.m. On many occasions, I witnessed sunrises due to the heavy workload and my employer had a next day pick-up policy. My career as a film processor was short lived because digital cameras were just coming onto the scene; which had a significant impact on our work volume, work was slow. Thank God for digital cameras! While employed with Brooks Camera, I was still singing with my band. I expressed to the band members that I was looking to add a female vocalist to the group. Richard, the band pianist mentioned that he knew this young lady who he thought had a nice voice. He said that she attended the Catholic Church he played for on Sunday mornings. He asked if I would be interested in hearing her and if so, she was scheduled to sing for him at the midnight Easter mass. I recall going to the service and liking what I heard. After the service, I approached her and asked if she would be interested in singing with my group. We spoke briefly, and I explained to her that my group was scheduled to go on a road trip to Reno in approximately one month and that I would contact her with more information when I returned. Oh, I must mention that I went to hear this young lady sing with my then fiancé.
I was scheduled to get married on July 4th; Easter was in April that year. My mother, who is a praying woman, was diligently praying against this marriage taking place. All I care to say concerning this, is to this day, my mother is absolutely convinced that God answered her endless prayers. Without going into more details, it was agreed that it would be best for my former fiance to return to her hometown of Mississippi; she left for Mississippi a week before my Reno trip. I clearly remember during the drive to and from Reno that I was extremely quiet. I was deep in thought regarding my upcoming wedding. I had many concerns, and was conflicted about if I should get married or not. Keep in mind I was not aware of my mother’s prayers. By the time I arrived home, I knew I would not be going through with the wedding. First I made a call to my fiance to inform her of my decision. It was not pretty! I then went about cancelling the necessary wedding arrangements, the rental of the church, the flowers, and repaying the bridesmaids for the purchase of their dresses.
Now, I needed to contact the young lady about joining our band. After speaking with her for a short while, she asked me if everything was okay because I sounded a little down. Being cool, I said nothing was wrong; to which she responded, if you are ever in need of someone to talk with, I’m available. I must admit her statement caught me off guard, I didn’t know what to make of it. I remember going to one of my band members and asking what he thought of her remark. I asked him if he thought it meant that she was interested in me. He said “why not ask her”? I looked at him like he had lost his mind. Although I was not sure what was going on, I knew something was stirring. I shared the conversation that took place between me and this young lady with my mother, hoping to get her opinion on what was said. That’s not completely true. Actually, I said to my mother, I don’t know why I feel this way, but I am pursuing this young lady.
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