Retro Dee writes about music, fashion and other trends of the 1950s on this site. Check out her blog, Retro Dee’s Guide to the Best Era Ever here, and her column here every week.
In 2017, I purchased a poster of Buddy Holly on eBay. I found out later that the picture on the poster was taken on March 21, 1958, during The Crickets UK tour. Buddy is wearing what appears as a brown tux, due to the sepia toning, but I think it was actually blue. He is on stage, holding his Fender Stratocaster. And God love us, is he ever handsome in that photo. The text printed on the poster says “Words of Love: 28 Classic Songs by BUDDY HOLLY and The Crickets” and lists the songs on the album. I hung it dead-ass center above my desk in the old house back in Santa Rosa. That’s where it stayed for 4 years… until we sadly had to move to Massachusetts to escape the California wildfires.
As soon as I hung the poster, it brought a sophisticated look to the room that it never had before. I’d practically grown up in that bedroom, trying (unsuccessfully) to keep it neat and well-manicured. But it never looked so pulled together as when I hung that poster of Buddy Holly.
The poster image is printed on heavy, glossy stock, so every month or so, I had to re-tack it due to sagging. The tack pins just didn’t hold it. I planned to eventually get a frame for it, but it never happened.
Well. I’ll tell you that a lot of weird things have happened since I got that poster. Or as Greg Brady might say, “a lot of goofy things”. Actually, “goofy” is probably a better word, but I digress… Goofy or not, three things really stood out in my mind that occurred concerning this poster. Two of them have rational explanations, while the third one is a little more “out there”. (which is what they’ve been saying about me lately.)
Incident Number One: Buddy’s Feline Fan
The first weird thing I noticed, was that my cat Chelsea was staring at it. Not just looking at it, STARING at it. You know, the way a cat does when it sees a bird in a tree. She was just sitting in the middle of the bedroom floor, looking up at the Buddy Holly poster as if she were in some kind of a trance. It looked like she was worshiping him. At first, I thought it was funny. I joked, “Aww, Chelsea loves Buddy Holly too!”. But it continued, and it really started freaking me out! What was she staring at? Surely, it wasn’t Buddy himself. Cats and dogs don’t become obsessed with celebrities no matter how great the celebrity was. So what was she looking at?
Then, one day, I was walking past the poster when I discovered something. The high-gloss finish was reflecting light, causing movement on the poster. When cats see any kind of moving reflection, they stop, stare and stalk, instinctively. That’s what Chelsea must have been doing. She was looking at the reflection, not Buddy Holly. Mystery solved. It sure was funny, though. If I didn’t know better, I’d have said she was his biggest “feline” fan!
Incident Number Two: The Night Terror
This next event was odd, considering two things. One, at the point in time when this happened, I’d never had a dream about Buddy Holly. And two, it was a scary experience, even though I usually find Buddy comforting, on most levels.
One night I had a night terror. I say “night terror”, and not dream, because it wasn’t like a normal dream, it was more like a hallucination. (No, I do not, nor have I ever, used hallucinogens.)
I was laying in bed, probably fully asleep, but it seemed like I was awake. I was on my side, facing the side where the poster was. Buddy was standing at the side of my bed, in his tux with his Strat, exactly like on the poster. He wasn’t moving, he was just standing there, in the same pose. I felt threatened. Not by him, exactly. It was more of an ominous feeling, as if the image of him was conveying the energy of the terrible thing that ended up happening to him. It felt like an omen, like something bad was going to happen to me, too.
It’s a wonder I didn’t tear the poster down after that, but when I looked at it next, I felt the same joy I’d felt since I hung it. I never had another negative feeling around it again.
Incident Number Three: The Closet Shelf
This is the incident I have the most trouble brushing off as coincidental.
When we moved from California to Massachusetts, I was careful to pack Buddy’s poster in one of those cardboard canisters, to keep it safe. The day we moved, the movers almost left it behind! I had to hand it to one of them and clearly direct him to put it in the box that was going on the truck .
When we moved into our condo, I was very concerned that the poster had been lost. The week we moved in, I wandered down to the first floor with the intention of going into the garage in hopes of finding the canister with Buddy’s poster in it. But just as I got to the garage door, I balked. I decided I wasn’t going to look because I didn’t want to know if it was missing. It would break my heart.
Then something made me go into the mudroom closet. I opened the door and looked up at the closet shelf, and there, facing me, was the canister with Buddy’s poster in it. I had NO NO NO idea that it might be in there. I thought if it was anywhere, it would be in the garage among the boxes. There were tons of boxes- so many that it took literally months to come across everything. I still wonder how, out of everything we own, Buddy’s poster was the thing that showed up on the top closet shelf. And even more strangely, what made me look there? At that point I wasn’t even looking for the poster at all. I’d just wandered into the mudroom in a daze and opened the closet door and looked up. It was like something led me there.
This, mind you, occurred while I was beside myself because I was unhappy about the move and wanted to go home. So finding the poster was not only nice, it was, in a way, a comfort. That’s what makes it so mysterious.
Well, that’s it for now. Join me next time for whatever the unexplained holds for the future… it might just tie in with the past.
Only a few days are left to vote in our annual Love Song Survey There’s two different polls, one for love songs of the 1950s, and one for love songs from 1960-1963. Pick 10 favorites from each group of years daily through January 30th at 10 PM. You can also write in other songs if your choice isn’t listed. Details are available here.
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