"Alvin and Kimberly wanted to be my friend and I didn't want to pass up an opportunity like that. We hung out at the dock and Jade Monopoly for the next two months. In the summer I was left alone with my parents and I was miserable. Lets backtrack a little bit. My name is Deena Melissa Tansworth. I was born March 29, 1955 in Tress, Arizona. I was an only child which made me the unfortunate victim of my parents verbal abuse and neglect. I never knew if it was from stress or simply for their amusement. Either way I didn't deserve any of it. I always yearned for their affection and ultimately never received it. The only attention I ever I got was from my maternal aunt Victoria. My mother hated when she paid an ounce of attention to me. She was the one who gave me my name. Aunt Victoria told my mother if she didn't like the attention she was giving me she should pay more attention to me. My mother was one of those women who hated hearing the truth. So to avoid me she locked herself in her bedroom. My father wasn't any better. He treated me the same way she did."
"They both were lawyers and owned their own law firm. They always went out to dinner and other functions without me. I always stayed home in my bedroom crying wondering if I was a mistake God made. This had gone for as long as I could remember. My school life was where I felt the most calmest. I felt somewhat recognized and appreciated. I was in the science and mathematics clubs. I was never into theatre or choir. The first chance I got to go somewhere I took it. My parents were so negligent they didn't even care if I came home or not. I'll grant them this they never physically abused me but the verbal and emotional abuse hurt just as bad. They made me feel like a lost cause. My mother once told me it would take a miracle for someone to love somebody like me." Hearing that from her depressed me for twp weeks. Coming from Arizona wasn't anything special. I loved it there don't get me wrong but I didn't feel it loved me the way I loved it. I was notoriously shy and I had a humongous imagination."
"My parents thought I was delusional and told me I would 'waste my life away in solitude. It wouldn't be until I met Danny Velvetoro, Alvin Goldsteen and Kimberly Bradshaw that I would start living for myself. We lived in Tress from the time I was born until 1963 when I was eight years old. I remember when we were crossing the California state line. It was like coming to a new world. Despite not having any friends I felt like a part of me was being ripped from my body. When we got to Kingsley, California we settled in our new house. I prepared dinner for us. When I fixed my parents plates they laughed at me and threw the food away right in my face. I ran to my room and cried the rest of the night away. When they registered me for school no one talked to me because I was four foot five inches. No one wanted anything to do with me because I was a bookworm and science geek. I couldn't help that I loved school and learning. Our teacher Ms.Murphy told us we all were special and to not let anyone tell us differently."
"I believed that with all my heart and soul. The only therapy I had other than school was writing songs. My songs expressed my internal feelings and how my parents made me feel unwanted. I tried my hardest to not let my emotions get the better of me but I was a child after all. At recess I would sit under a tree and write songs. I would also sing to myself. I never really knew I could sing until I got to Kingsley Elementary. The kids would throw water balloons at me on field day. I would just ignore them and keep writing. One day I got fed up with it and chased one of the boys and beat him up. I was suspended for not informing a teacher. They would've been on the boys side like usual. During my suspension I sat in my room writing songs and feeling despair. In the meantime I cleaned the house and washed my parents cars. One day they came home early from work and my father slapped me. My mother didn't even intervene. She believed he was justified in his actions. The fact was his car was really dirty and it need a wash. My mother was the only one who kept her car maintenance updated. They never thanked me for anything I did for them."
"Eventually I threw my hands up and said forget it. When college day came I told Ms. Murphy I planned on attending Northeast Region University majoring in nursing. But little did I know life had a different course for me to take. How I met Alvin and the others were through a science group project. I was the recorder, Kimberly was demonstrator, Danny was the orator and Alvin held the poster board. We met everyday for two weeks afterschool at Kingsley Library. Kimberly, Alvin and I conversed with each other while Danny just sat there with his arms folded. I tried to get him to speak but no avail.We stayed there for two hours arriving at three and leaving at five. I didn't interact with them outside of the school project because I thought they would make fun of me for my academic love craze. When I got home I made spaghetti. After I finished I headed upstairs to my room and sat on my bed."
"I never really got to see my aunt Victoria like that because she and my mother always clashed and it made me angry. My mother should've stepped up to the plate and did her motherly duties. The house was completely quiet because my parents were hardly ever there. I was forced to raise myself. People think that a child raising themselves is wrong but they will never understand why some children had to raise themselves. I remember I was sitting at the dock alone gazing at the Pacific Ocean when Kimberly and Alvin came to join me. I was apprehensive and was about to leave. They told me they wanted me to stay. I was reluctant but decided to stay. They then started asking me basic questions. I told them I was from Tress, Arizona and that music was my therapeutic outlet. I let Kimberly read one of my songs called On The Outside Looking In. She felt that they were empowering and moving. I never thought that anyone found my songs to be interesting, especially the way I was treated at home."
"Alvin asked if I could sing and I told him I could. I sang On The Outside Looking In and they were astonished. I wasn't nowhere near a soprano. I was a contralto. I had a natural husky timbre. But I also possessed passionate, breathy and bold vocals in my upper register. That was the first time I ever sang in front of anyone. After that we walked to Jade Monopoly where Kimberly blew the roof off the place with her soprano voice. I would've probably fainted being in front of a crowd. Maybe it was because all eyes were on you and they expected perfection. That's what they paid to see. I sat at the bar with Alvin and ordered some iced tea. We stayed there for an hour and headed home. The following week we presented our group project. Danny pulled through and we received a ninety-four. One day in March while my parents were away for the weekend my aunt Victoria came to the house to spend time with me. If my mother would've found out she was there I probably would've been beaten to death. But aunt Victoria was worth because she treated me like a woman was supposed to treat a child. We did arts and crafts, cooked and went to the movies."
"By the time she went back to Arizona I was pampered with clothes and trinkets. She gave me a glass box that I kept in my bathroom out of my parents sight. If they didn't ask I wasn't telling. I went to bed with aunt Victoria on my mind.The next day at school at recess Kimberly and I were in the bathroom. When we came out of the bathroom we heard something shocking. Danny was singing. We slowly joined him. Alvin walked toward him and was singing. Danny's face turned a tomato red and got to his feet but he didn't leave. We continued to sing and when we were done we looked at each other. The three of us were aware of each others singing talent but Danny's talent was foreign to us. We came closer and looked at Danny. He said that he had to go and walked off. Kimberly and Alvin smiled and felt we made a interpersonal connection through our harmony. While we were singing Alvin and Kimberly handled the high notes while Danny and I handled the mid to lower ones."
"Our harmonies weren't perfect but with some work it would be. At the end of school we went to find Danny. We found him at the school gates with his arms folded. We walked up to him and Alvin asked if he wanted to hang out with us. He said since he got singing and we wouldn't let him live it down he'd hang out with us. He said he had one condition and that was that we'd be honest and open with each other. We knew he wasn't going to open up right of the bat. We had to know each other long enough for that to happen. While we walked to Kimberly's house Kimberly came up with a group name. We all agreed on The Lone Wolves. She said it fit since we were social outcasts. When we arrived at Kimberly's house we saw Alvin and Kimberly's mother in the diningroom. We learned that Kimberly's mother was the famed late fifties singer Carol Bradshaw. Kimberly was also the granddaughter of Hogan Harris the founder of the Max Land theme park. Alvin mother Ingrid and Carol go back to their late teens. We just hung around her house until five when Alvin, Danny and I went home."
"The weekend was pretty interesting. We went to Danny's house for the first time. We found out he lived alone. We didn't know where his parents were and didn't ask him about them. He kept his house clean and immaculate. We went to his backyard and stood near the pool and practiced our harmonies. I sang on background vocals with Danny. Despite being only eight years old Danny had a talent for vocal arrangement. He put Alvin and Kimberly out on front because he thought their voices were more powerful than mine. I wasn't upset at the time because I believed in Danny's musical talent. Kimberly and Alvin were different in their performance styles. Kimberly used her feet while Alvin used his upper body. I wasn't a dancer so I just patted my thigh and tapped my foot. Danny just stood there plucking the strings of his acoustic guitar. We sang songs in the folk and blues genres. This was way before the hippiedom overload of 1965. We sang songs that we were feeling on the inside. We were just little kids so we were to young to know anything about the Vietnam draft so we couldn't sing about it. We sang the songs that Danny and I wrote. After we sang for about a good three hours with two thirty minute breaks. Immediately after we went inside and Kimberly made us ice cold glasses of lemonade. Danny had shelves full of Cass Mareen records and memorabilia. I'm not one to judge but I thought he was into other things like rock n roll."
"Minutes later Kimberly came out with four glasses on a tray. Kimberly and Danny had always argued over our harmonies. Danny wanted us to come in the down beat while she wanted the exact opposite. They both were stubborn and temperamental. They both were leaders. Danny was destined the leader of The Lone Wolves. Kimberly submitted to his leadership in her own way. Since we were just starting out as a quartet Danny was very domineering. He strongly believed he knew what was best for the group. We each brought our own gift to the group. Danny could arrange vocals, I could read music, Alvin could play any instrument and Kimberly could own any song she sang. Sometimes when I heard us rehearse I thought it was just Kimberly and Alvin singing. Kimberly and Danny always clashed on who would sing lead on certain songs. In July after Kimberly returned from Maryland we began polishing up on our harmonies. Danny gave me a chance to sing lead for the first time. My gritty voice counterbalanced Kimberly's leisured soprano blissfully. It was like creamer to coffee. "
"We practiced at Danny's house inside or near the pool. Sure enough Danny and I felt that the pool was the perfect place to practice. We both felt at peace there. We spent the remainder of 1963 honing our harmony. In July of 1964 we went with Kimberly to visit her maternal grandmother Valery Bradshaw in Ella Mona, Maryland. She was a sweet, kind and demure woman. When she met us for the first time she had some homemade chocolate chip cookies. I felt sympathetic towards her because she was all alone. Kimberly told her that we were a quartet and gee willikers was she delighted. We sang On The Outside Looking In, Being Fatherless Molded Me and The Mother I Thought I Had. Kimberly sang lead on On The Outside Looking In and Being Fatherless Molded Me. We sang The Mother I Thought I Had in four part harmony. When we finished singing Valery got to her feet and gave us a standing ovation. We found out that she was a nightclub singer her younger days and said we had promising careers if we kept working."
"It felt good being told that and I could sense the others liked it. The next morning at five we took to the streets and sang our written songs. Danny had his guitar, Alvin had his harmonica and Kimberly I stood tall. Well Kimberly stood tall without a care in the world. I on the other hand just stood there and took direction from Danny. Kimberly did her footwork dance and I snapped my fingers. When we finished singing Social Outcast Danny and Kimberly started arguing about our harmony. Danny wanted us to sing together while Kimberly wanted us to sing in two voice four part harmony. They argued for the next twenty minutes and I was the intermediary between them. Once they were calm we began singing again. People's who walked by threw beer bottles, told us to shut up and spat on us. Spitting on people is the most degrading thing you could do to a person and Danny and Kimberly weren't going to stand for it. After Alvin managed to restrain them we started singing again. At eight that night we returned to Valery's house and washed up for dinner. I really wanted to be famous because I wanted people to acknowledge and respect me."
"Those were my two personal goals. We returned to Kingsley in August and went to school. It was uneventful but interesting, at least for me. That December we traveled to Ella Mona. It was one of the coldest winters ever. It was forty degrees below zero. Despite this we stood on the street corner and sang our hearts out. Some people tried to persuade to find go home while others didn't care and just passed by and ignored us. My eyes were weak in the cold so it always appeared like I was crying. I still managed to pat my thigh and tap my foot. Danny played the birds out of the trees with his guitar, Alvin stood there with a smile and Kimberly did her footwork dance unapologetically. We were out there from seven in the morning until seven at night. After we felt we'd done our justice we returned to Mama Valery's house and sat in front of the fireplace drinking hot chocolate. I'll never forget Danny telling me that my voice was as warm as the roaring fire before us. He told me I was the key to our harmony."
"I didn't believe him because I always thought a soprano and tenor were key factors to a groups harmony. Despite what Danny said I still felt superior to them. They could reach notes I would never be able to. I went to bed with that on my mind. I dreamed that I was onstage singing alone and people were throwing roses onstage. There was one white rose that adorned the pile of red roses and I knew what it meant. I woke up with tears rolling down my face. I glanced at the clock and saw that it was three in the morning. I laid back down and I tried to think of happy things but they seemed intent on not coming to mind. At breakfast I was unusually quiet. Valery asked me if I was feeling okay. I told her I was fine but she didn't believe me. She asked me once more and there was intense seriousness laced in her voice. I told her that I had a dream where I was onstage alone singing. Everyone was throwing red roses onstage. Unexpectedly a white stemmed rose was thrown onstage and I woke up."
"The table was completely silent and Valery smiled and reassured me that dreams aren't always what they appear to be. I smiled and took her wisdom to heart and resumed eating my breakfast. Since it was Christmas Valery didn't want us out there singing in the cold. Instead she had stay inside and sing Christmas carols in harmony. We had so much fun singing and eating Christmas cookies. That Saturday we returned to California and prepared for school. 1965 had been upon and things changed especially the music scene. It was all about rock n roll. Around this time my friends and I had our first psychedelic experience. For me I saw different colors all and I hallucinated. Hours later when the affects wore off I saw Alvin's brother Jason standing before us. Danny got to his feet and punched him in his face. He asked him if he injected us with anything. He threatened that if he did he would kill him. He lied and said he didn't do it. Danny kneed him in his stomach and we left."
"As we were walking down the sidewalk Alvin suddenly dropped to his knees. Kimberly knelt down and asked if him if he were using. He looked at her and said no. She believed him and so did I. Danny on the other hand spared Alvin without sympathy. He told him he had to start fighting back or else Jason would continue beating him up. Kimberly scolded him and said he needed to be more sensitive to Alvin's situation. Danny just scoffed and said whatever and kept walking. Kimberly helped Alvin to his feet and we resumed walking. We decided to go to Danny's house and start honing our harmonies. When we got there we headed to the backyard. We stood in the grass and let the wind blow freely through our hair. Danny said that we were going to sing Teeth Bite Deep. Alvin stepped forward and started to pat his thigh. Danny started playing his electric guitar. Kimberly began moving her feet and snapping her fingers. I just tapped my foot and snapped my fingers. It was a wonderful time for us."
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