RIP Patches. I was saddened to learn of his death on October 5. I would like to celebrate his life by telling whoever reads this blog about the first time I ever met him.
Patches was a local television personality in Philadelphia in the 50s when I was young, and when I was maybe 8 or 9 years of age, he did a show at the elementary school in Berwyn PA where I was a student. I vaguely remember this as a special event, probably held during the day, but I can't be sure of the time. What I do remember was that he was very friendly, looked just like he did on TV and was fun type of act for kids. I would love to know now how the school got him to perform for it.
We were all an auditorium full of lively kids. We were enjoying ourselves. I had an empty spearmint Chiclets box. In those days, you could blow on the empty box, and it would make an interesting kazoo-like noise. I must have made enough noise for Patches to notice, because he called me up on stage with him and announced that we would play a duet together, he singing with guitar and me blowing on my Chiclet box. I had no professionalism in those days and was instantly attacked by a fit of the giggles. He started up the song, which was "On Top of Old Smoky" and at the end of each line I was to blow on the box. Things went okay for 2 or 3 lines, and then the Chiclet box stopped making its noise. The box would get damp from your breath causing the noise to go away. I stopped and blushed and whispered to Patches "I can't go on. It's damp." He turned to the audience announcing loudly something like "this world-renowned musician has to stop playing, because 'it's damp.'" I left the stage to thunderous laughter and applause.
When I met Patches again many years later after I had grown up and become a club performer, I reminded him of this moment. He had the good grace to pretend to remember it, and we shared a laugh over it. Through the years that I performed at his club, he and Liz both were generous warmhearted hospitable bosses.
After 2 years of work, many many hours in the studio and the contributions of wonderfully talented people, "Pocket Mass and Other Faith Based Music" is now completed, duplicated and is available for sale on CD Baby on iTunes, Spotify and other download services. I'm very relieved that the project has been fully realized, and I think it turned out well. I hope you all agree, and I look forward to hearing what you think of it. You can click on the "Pocket Mass" page on this site to direct link to CD Baby in order to purchase the record from CD Baby.