Facebook promises to connect us with the past as much as the present. While some old associates are better left way in the past, I admit I’ve been thrilled to reconnect with others whom I once upon a time spent so much of my life. Among them is Bernard C. Serrano.
Bernard cut quite a profile on the Rockabilly scene in the very early 1980s. He stood out as much because of his flawless wardrobe as his lightening speed dance moves. And I kept up with him step by step. I was about 14 when I met him and most of the enthusiasts and musicians in that world around 1982, when I was just out of junior high and started seeing The Blasters, Red Devils, The Wild Cards, Levi Dexter and other roots bands between Hollywood and San Diego (yep, we would drive to San Diego from O.C., where some of us lived, to catch a gig and drive back home once the club lights went on!)
We saw live bands as many as four or five nights a week. Each night, too, I would dance nonstop for hours, taking turns among three of the greatest dance partners a gal could have: Bernard, Mark Woods and Larry Schaeffer (whom some of you might know now as the design proprieter and owner of the OK store in L.A.). The guys, who acted as my protective older brothers throughout the handful of years during those halcyon years, would flip me every which way: I’d do handstands, twirl endlessly and all of it wearing pounds of crinolines and silver bangles. I was scarcely 98 pounds and, when Bernard’s camera captured these images, barely 16.
Bernard slung these images on Facebook this last week, taken, he wrote me from his home in Long Beach, quickly with his iPhone.
The one against the pink-clothed wall is in my bedroom at my family’s home in Fountain Valley. Glass sliding doors in my room led out to a tiled patio and the garage which my parents turned into a den of sorts for my sister and me and our highly creative friends. Once a month, when there was no good gig to hit, we’d have a live jam session there with all the musicians of the day till the sun came up! Crazy. Yes, I was among the very youngest in the group, too. Sadly, I wasn’t as obsesses with snapping photos as I am today. Maybe that’s why I am now…or I just cared more about dancing!
The others were taken during one of the many summer concerts with the incredible Count Basie Orchestra at Disneyland—not long after Count Basie died. We did get to catch him in the years prior at the Palladium luckily. I carefully designed the red sailor suit and my mother lovingly made it without patterns, as she was so talented at such things. The crafted it with white piping, flawlessly sewn and pressed and embroidered the details.
The group of us took our clothes, dance moves, cars, music and even partying very seriously according to what we studied was period (1940s and 1950s). In retrospect, it might have been a bit mish mashy. But looking at Bernard’s pics of our crew back then, some really pulled it off with panache.
Bernard has posted several more on his Facebook from those years, and I’ve threatened him already that I plan on going over to his place with a scanner soon.