Tuesday, April 26, 2016


Note: this is a re-post from my old blog Lone Star Concerto
When I was studying music in college, I practically lived in practice rooms. I practiced the piano several hours a day - - while also balancing a frenzy of rehearsals with orchestras, chamber groups, and soloists. As if this wasn't enough, I was also a student piano teacher for several semesters. To say that my musical life was full would be an understatement.

One of my piano teachers was a former Julliard professor named Raymond Jones. His wife also taught at the college. My practice room was adjacent to her classroom and she would often chide me for practicing too loudly. Bursting into the practice room in a breathless fluster, she'd demand me to "play quietly" and admonish me for "seriously disrupting" her class.

On good days Mrs. Jones always acted a bit peculiar. On bad days she was downright bizarre. Eventually it was discovered that she had a brain tumor, which she succumbed to within a year.

Fortunately, my playing didn't annoy everyone. Curious people often stopped by the practice room to hear me play. One of these music aficionados was a young woman named Linda, who was the niece of actor Tyrone Power. She would share stories about her famous uncle and show me family photos. Linda had a small baby who contracted pneumonia and she dropped out of college to care for him. I never saw her again.

Another admirer who frequented my practice room was an attractive "girl" named Janice. She was studying singing and had a decent voice. I knew that Janice was smitten by my irresistible charm (hey, what can I say?) but I didn't initially realize just how serious she was.

One afternoon I drove her to her tennis lesson. She assumed that this innocuous gesture meant I was interested. Despite the fact that I gave no encouragement, her admiration for me increased.

A short time later, a fluke of fate tossed us together again. Janice was giving a solo singing recital at the college. At nearly the very last minute, her accompanist cancelled for some emergency that I can't recall. Major panic ensued and a very flustered professor accosted me, asking (begging) me to take over as pianist.

I (reluctantly) acquiesced and was immediately handed a pile of music manuscripts. The concert was to start in less than half an hour. I had never seen any of the music before and had never previously accompanied Janice anywhere except to the damn tennis lesson.

The only preparation that I had came from a bottle of whiskey that I kept stashed under the front seat of my car. I took several generous swigs for courage.

I made my way to the stage and sat at the grand piano. Janice began singing. I began sight-reading and faking my way through the likes of Purcell, Brahms, and Vaughn Williams. Incredibly, the concert went off without a noticeable hitch. I was lauded for involuntarily saving the day. In a surge of effusive romanticism, Janice assumed I was her hero. She was enamored. We'd made beautiful music together!

After our haphazard musical debut she began following me everywhere like a homeless puppy. Constantly calling me, sending scented notes, eventually sending daily letters of endearment (this was before the advent of email). Her enthrallment escalated into stalking the living hell out of me.

I was admittedly sweet and charming back then (you'd never know it now, would you?). And I was not only congenial, but also easy. To some extent I might have possibly slightly encouraged the girl's rapture. Inadvertently, of course.

Fortunately, I didn't have to worry about being stalked for long. It all came to a surprisingly abrupt end one afternoon at the college.

It happened in the main auditorium. During a rehearsal with the college chamber orchestra. I was the harpsichordist for a performance of Handel's oratorio Samson. We were in the middle of the overture.

Suddenly one of the auditorium doors burst open. A burly-looking guy in Army fatigues stormed in and strutted right up to the harpsichord. I could hardly believe what was happening but I could definitely smell his wrath.

His shouting reverberated throughout the room with perfect acoustics and his message was like a venomous bite.

"You better stop screwing with my wife!" he shouted at me. He didn't actually say "screwing". He was a little more graphic.

"What?" I was in the advanced stages of shock.

"Janice is my wife, you bastard! If you go near her again I'll kill you! I mean it!"

I believed him.

I'm actually politely paraphrasing what he said. I can't remember the exact words, but the killing part was permanently etched in my mind.

Holy shit.

As the irate Army dude haughtily huffed out of the room, I could hear a collective gasp from the orchestra. Nobody knew what to do. I tried to gather my shredded wits.

"Next time we rehearse, I'll wear a bullet-proof vest."

It was all I could think of saying. It didn't generate much laughter.

I had absolutely no idea whatsoever that Janice was married. She sure as hell never bothered to tell me. I later learned that her husband had been stationed in Georgia and was home on leave. I have no clue how he found out about me.

So, you're all asking the Big Question: did Janice and I ever have sex?
Hey, I seldom kiss and tell.....and why the hell should I spill it all for free in a public blog? Wait until I publish my memoirs. You'll get your money's worth.

I will say that in those glorious days of my California youth I often attracted drama and generated sexual tension. I'm not bragging or being "self-absorbed" (as my blog critics enjoy pointing out). I'm merely telling the truth.

I was always an equal-opportunity offender.

One time, at the L.A. Music Center, two gay guys had a horrendous very public fight over me during the intermission at a performance of Carmen. No lie. But that's another story for another time.
Maybe some day I'll get soused and be in a generous enough mood to tell it.

Sweet youth......sweeter memories.....



  1. Scented notes ... seriously?!

    Given your (always-intriguing) headline, when you mentioned Professor Jones having a wife, I'd already begun humming, "Me and Mrs. Jones ... we got a thang goin' on."
    The truth is far more sobering. You're fortunate he didn't have a hand-gun!

    1. Dear Gawd, I was in my early 20's and cute. Mrs. Jones was in her 60's and.....kinda homely.

      I always try to keep my post titles intriguing, in a desperate attempt to snag readers.

    2. Yup - floral-scented notes. And I still have a few of her letters stashed away somewhere. Definitely NOT for sentimental reasons....

  2. I loved this chatty and interesting...the definition of a good blog

    1. Glad to know that you enjoyed it. I often fear that I'm boring my readers when I dig up stories from my past....

  3. ew, no, I don't think you did the nasty with her.

    1. You might be right....but, then again, you might be wrong.....

      But I'd say you probably have good intuition.

  4. Jon,

    Good grief, I can't say I've had anyone threaten me over their wife, at lease not yet, but I'm young yet. Ha! Besides I can't play a harpsichord.


    1. Moral of the story:
      never accompany a girl to her tennis lesson - - or accompany her on the piano.....

  5. Well good grief!!!! I don't know why I half expected to hear of a dead animal in your bed?!? I only had one fatal attraction, I ve never even talked about and won't. But I had a room mate once that got very scary, and very obsessive/possessive. So I know how weird things can get. That being said I'll bet even then your music was beautiful. And for the record, Tyrone Power was one of my favorite actors...boy was he handsome and sexy....I'd certainly did the dirty with him!

    1. Tyrone Power was definitely a hunk....and he was "bi".

      I've had some very psychotic lovers (mostly because they were on drugs). I already wrote about Phil, who had been in prison for attempted murder. He was INCREDIBLY handsome and sexy. I'll have to re-post that story some time.

      No dead animal heads in my bed......yet......

  6. A repost is always better the second time around. Sweet memories indeed. I remember the story. You're lucky all he did was shout. He could have been packing heat and aimed for your mischief making tools crotch level. No bullet proof vest would have helped.

    1. Wow! I'm delighted that you remembered the story. I revised it slightly to make it more readable (some of my writing in my old blog was really crappy). I plan to post of few more of my old stuff within the next few days (hopefully).

    2. BTW
      I am definitely lucky that all he did was shout. I could have been castrated, skinned, and hung out to dry.

  7. Ha!

    Luckily, she didn't request, "Play 'Misty' for me," or fix you boiled rabbit for dinner.



    1. Hey, "Play Misty for Me" was always one of my favorites - it's a stalker classic. It's difficult to choose the bigger BITCH - - Jessica Walter or Glenn Close!

  8. Jon,
    Wow! We've had some similar experiences but I've never had one of these, thank God. I can understand completely this woman becoming smitten with you. Jon, now you have to get yourself off that mountain top and get into circulation again. It's not too late. I know there is a lonely farm lady out there that is just right for you.

    1. Heck, Ron, I'm only a pathetic shadow of my former self. But perhaps there's a lonely hillbilly out there - - just waiting for me....

  9. I had a couple stalkers in my day but they were single--thank God! And I did not encourage them--never even so much as held hands. This one was really scary! People's hearts can be quite the gray area, can't they?

    1. For some uncanny reason, stalkers never need encouragement. In fact, the more they are ignored, the more aggressive they become.

    2. So true! That had to be so frightening to have that guy barge into the performance--OMG!

  10. Gosh, I never had anybody pursue me --much less stalk me-- like that. Must be a strange feeling. Maybe exhilarating. I probably missed some cues --or maybe I wasn't very attractive in the first place --nah, I just missed the cues. Excellent post, Jon!

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