1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24
The first night we were taken to a rodeo where we feasted on some giant hamburgers. They certainly know how to eat over there that's for sure! The antics of some of those cowboys were just indescribable, how they managed to do some of the stunts I'll never know. We had an early night and woke up feeling refreshed the next morning. It was a Sunday and we went to a gigantic fair called 'Six Flags Over Texas'. We were told that it was in fact the biggest in Texas and that we needed more than a day to see all of it. All the rides were free and I went on a double looped big dipper called the Shockwave. I did not feel so good after that and Tanneh told me I had gone a funny green colour. After that we went on the Parachute Lift. It shot you up to a very great height and put you down gently. Our stomachs turned over! After we had recovered we had a two foot long hot dog between us. I was at one end and Tanneh was at the other which prompted the man from the Observer to take a photograph. Buddy Holly's wife, Maria, bought a twenty gallon hat and we all had turns posing in front of the camera with it on. There was a gunfight exhibition at the fair. Three bandits were terrorising the 'town' and the sherrif sorted them out in the traditional western style. There was a water shute similar to the one in Blackpool only on a much larger scale. It consisted of hollowed out logs which floated around a water filled course with a number of hair raising dips. We both got soaked to the skin.
During the rest of the day we bought a few souvenirs and presents to take home to our friends and family. In the evening Maria treated us to a meal out at a very unusual restaurant. Instead of ordinary chairs we all sat on toilets and in place of glasses we were given our drinks in miniature replicas of bathtubs, wash basins and toilets all made from porcelain. Maria bought them for us to take home so now they take pride and place in our living room. We gave a little demonstration of our jive and everyone joined in.
In the morning Tanneh and I had our breakfast and went out with Kevin and Pippa (the couple who came second) to look for postcards. We had to stay close at hand because we were to attend a press conference that afternoon. We just went into the town centre and did a bit of window shopping to pass the time away. At one o'clock we headed back and changed into our good clothes and prepared ourselves for the conference, which was to be held on the second floor of our hotel. We were given food and wine while we were being interviewed by several journalists. In the room itself there were many different mementos of Buddy Holly, including a replica of his guitar, some of his schoolwork and photographs. When everyone had finished with us we went back to the room to change into our casual clothes as we were going to our first drive-in movie. We were very impressed with the idea and think it is about time they had drive-ins in this country. Mind you we haven't got the weather for it. Anyway, the film was called Poltergeist, we thoroughly enjoyed it and ate our fill of hot dogs yet again. That night we were escorted to 'Confettis', the hottest night spot in Dallas. Every few minutes confetti and streamers fell from the ceiling. It was like New Year's Eve every night! We all danced as best we could because it was very crowded, but we're used to it. After a really enjoyable night at 'Confettis' we made our way back to our hotel. Being greedy we took advantage of the situation and ordered sandwiches and coffee for our supper. We both slept like babies that night and woke up early Tuesday morning for breakfast.
We were driven to the airport at Fortworth to meet the flight for Lubbock, Buddy Holly's home town. It took us an hour to get there and when we did we were greeted by the secretary of Buddy Holly's fan club, his wife and family. They very kindly showed us around Lubbock and took us to our hotel, The Villa Inn. We were told that Elvis Presley had once stayed there way back in 1954. As I am a very keen fan of Elvis it made me feel even closer to him than ever. We prepared ourselves to meet the TV crew and pressmen who had a field day with us. The nicest surprise of the day was meeting Buddy Holly's family. His Mum, Dad, two brothers and sister came especially to see us. They were very friendly people and made us feel welcome. We were then asked to dance with the other two couples in front of them while the press took our photographs. They also did a family photo of the Hollys before interviewing us all. Afterwards we were escorted to the dining room where we were given the biggest steaks we have ever had in our lives. No wonder they say everything is big in Texas. Unfortunately we had to eat very quickly because we were a bit behind schedule. We all hurried back to the cars and were driven to the house where Buddy Holly used to live. It was a beautiful wooden bungalow and the front lawn came in very handy for a bit more dancing, with of course the owners' kind permission. Later on we were taken on to see Buddy Holly's grave. We took a few photos of our own of his gravestone and noticed that his name was spelled Holley and not Holly. From there we were driven to his memorial ground where there stood an eight foot high bronze statue of him. The film crew asked us to dance around the statue and they kept us busy for a good hour making sure they got us all from every angle. It was hot and thirsty work so Angie, the Buddy Holly Week Publicist treated us to coke at the nearby cafe. Feeling refreshed we were then shown Buddy Holly's high school and asked to dance in the front entrance. Permission was granted for us all to use the school for some more filming. Tanneh and I had to do our best to look the part of a typical American high school kid by doing a bit of acting. It was something like John Travolta and Olivia Newton John. As we were still running a bit late we had to hurry to catch the six o'clock news at a nearby hotel. We saw ourselves on television meeting Buddy Holly's family and being interviewed. When I spoke I sounded like a typical 'all American boy'. Afterwards we were invited to a lovely meal by Buddy Holly's brothers and their wives. We had steak yet again! Before we ate, a film crew and television reporters took us to one side and interviewed us. They left us alone to enjoy our meal and settle down with our very generous hosts. They gave us autographed albums and books to remember them by, and as usual we were really well looked after. After our meal we went back to the Buddy Holly Fan Club Secretary's home to meet his wife and children. They showed us a video - 'The Buddy Holly Story' and took us into a back room full of mementos.
After a very interesting evening we headed back to our hotel 'The Villa Inn', where we both fell asleep exhausted. It had been a very long and tiring day but we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves (again).
Tanneh and I woke up very early in the morning for breakfast and Maria bought us all a local paper each. We were thrilled to see that we were featured in the paper and the story was based on our visit to Lubbock. We prepared ourselves for our flight back to Dallas and left that morning.
Before we knew it we were back at the Anatol Hotel refreshing ourselves and changing into clean clothes. We spent the day looking around for '50's style clothes for Tanneh and myself. We were informed that our best bet would be a shop called Shady Ladies in Greenville Avenue. I could not believe my luck when I saw the clothes they had there. Everything was just fantastic! I bought myself a pair of pegged trousers, a cardigan and a pair of very unusual socks and a number of postcards, one of which had a picture of Marlon Brando on it. We asked if there were any similar shops in the area and were told they were about a mile down the road. We found one called Electricity! They claimed that they sold electric clothes, whatever they are. Anyway, I am now the proud owner of two electric shirts. The manager there offered me a job as a model and I wished that I could have accepted it but I explained that I was only on holiday. As a consolation prize, we danced for him instead and left to tumultuous applause. We called in at just one more shop where I found myself a perfect example of a '50's style dress jacket. I was in my element out there, everywhere I looked I could see the things that I have always wanted. The amount of cars that took my eye began lo annoy everyone! I kept making everyone jump by shouting 'There goes another one!' I could not believe how many '55 and '57 Chevrolets there were on the road. The scrap yards were full of them. I think I could have spend a few days just rooting through all of the old junk and enjoyed myself.
Our next venue was the local bar. Marcus, Paul McCartney's photographer lived locally so he knew just where to go. We all had a few too many, probably due to the method of payment. We didn't have to pay until we left and we noticed that some of the customers just left their money on the table. It was an unusual place and styled just like an old western saloon. I must admit that I did not quite know what was happening when we left there but I am told that Marcus took us for a meal of spare ribs at his favourite restaurant. Poor Tanneh almost fell asleep at the table so we decided it was time to make our way back. Before long we were both dead to the world.
We were up early again for breakfast and had to make ourselves ready for a flight to San Antone. We were taken to the airport in a customised mini-bus which again caught my eye. It was a fairly short flight and when we arrived we could see the place was very Mexican. Our driver took us to the Marriot Hotel in San Antone itself. The hotel was a skyscraper and was situated in the side of a river. We could see for miles from our balcony and the view was so picturesque that it took our breath away. Once again we were asked to attend a conference with the local papers so we changed into our good clothes. Later on a mini-bus came to collect us all for a trip to the Alamo. We had all heard how bravely the men fought to defend the Alamo and how they were all massacred. Due to the tremendous heat there I began to remove my shirt but one of the guards nearly jumped down my throat. I was told to keep it on in no uncertain terms. I could see that there is a great amount of pride and respect held for the men who died there. There was a building set aside which I can only describe as a sort of 'war museum'. It contained relics from the past, such as old guns, a Davy Crockett hat and stories from the old days on the walls.
Three black limousines whisked us away and took us to the Lone Star brewery. There was a museum there full of stuffed animals ranging from rattlesnakes to buffaloes. I felt a bit ill at ease in there but soon cheered up when we were invited to drink our fill of the local brew. Once again I became somewhat intoxicated and enjoyed myself very much.
After that we were were driven back to the Marriot Hotel to sober up! We had two hours to spare so Tanneh had a sleep while I went swimming with some of the others. We all visited a restaurant after we had cleared our heads a bit. It was decorated in I he old western style and (he doormen were dressed like cowboys. They even carried real six shooters in their holsters. We were served with a twenty ounce steak each and a portion of curried beans! We had seen westerns on television before but had never expected to find ourselves in one. They even started square dancing. We had a lot of fun there I borrowed a hat, holster and gun to pose for the photographers and to everyone's alarm Tanneh held another gun to my head with her finger poised on the trigger. All pandemonium let loose because the six shooters were actually loaded with blanks, so I could have been seriously injured. After a lot of laughing and joking we went back to the Marriot Hotel where Maria held a party for us. She really went to a lot of trouble to make sure we had a good time and let us help ourselves to all the food and drink we wanted. She even organised a raffle in which everyone won a prize, the first being a gallon hat, a toy armadillo and an armadillo hat. I won the hat! Tanneh won two sticks that the Mexicans use to make their music. You knock them together and they make a pleasant hollow noise. After the party the two of us were very tired so we had no trouble whatsoever in sleeping that night.
We had a ranch style breakfast the following morning and appreciated it very much. We just could not get over the way everyone was treating us. We felt a bit sad when we had to leave for the airport at San Antone but our spirits lifted when we arrived back in Dallas. It really is an amazing place. We called in at our hotel to change and then Barry, the photographer for the Observer, hired a car and took us to Greenville Avenue to look for more clothes in the shops. We found another two that I was interested in and I bought a few more fifties style clothes to take home with me. I knew I would not have another opportunity to find such items again so I made the most of it. We spent a good few hours shopping, before returning to the Anatole where we washed and changed. It was a very relaxing afternoon for us after all the running around we had been doing and we needed a rest.
That night we went to a fifties party at a club called 'The Heart of Texas'. We were asked to judge in a jiving competition there and we realised how difficult it was to pick out the best dancers. It was, of course, a change for us lo be judging rather than competing. We could not help but feel a certain amount of sympathy for the competitors who were not quite up to scratch on that night. When the winners and runners up had been sorted out and awarded their prizes we all started jiving. We really let ourselves go as it was our last night. Thinking back I think it was the best night of all. At the end of the evening we were all presented with certificates nominating us as honorary citizens of Texas. Everyone from England got one, Ian, the journalist from the Observer; Barry, the photographer; Alan, Paul McCartney's recording manager; Leila, Alan's wife; Angie, the Buddy Holly Week publicist; Kevin and Pippa, the couple who came second at the Lyceum in London, and Trevor and Helen, the couple who came third. Not forgetting ourselves of course. What a night it was! We were driven to our hotel where we headed straight to bed feeling tired as usual but very, very contented.
We just did not want Saturday to come! We had our breakfast as usual and I went for my last swim before joining Tanneh to start packing. It took us most of the morning to get everything into our suitcases but unfortunately I could not get my '57 Chevy in there with all my other keepsakes. Tanneh and I could not help feeling a bit nostalgic at the idea of leaving and wished we could stay. The three Cadillacs that first greeted us when we arrived came to take us to the airport at Fortworth. When we arrived there was a film crew present. They filmed us going to the duty free shops for spirits and cigarettes and then we went for a farewell drink. Five minutes before our flight was due we had to say our goodbyes to Maria, her daughter Elena, Marcus and all of the other friends we had made during our stay. It was a very sad moment for us leaving them behind and I do not think any of us could restrain the tears. To be quite honest I cried my eyes out!
Our plane took off at 5.40 pm and arrived at Gatwick Airport in London at 8.30 Sunday morning 3rd October 1982. We had to say our goodbyes to the other couples that had shared such a wonderful time with us and we exchanged our names and addresses so that we could keep in touch. After going our separate ways Tanneh and I spent a little time in London before catching the 10.40 am train home to Liverpool. By four o'clock that evening we were back in Runcorn feeling very depressed: We gave our friends the gifts we had bought for them and told them how much we had enjoyed ourselves and how much we wanted to go back!
Tanneh and I are now doing our best to get back to Dallas and with a bit of luck I might get that job at Electricity in Greenville Avenue as a model. Who knows?