(Day 23) Kingtones Memoirs
February 28, 1964 (Friday)
We didn’t get to sleep until 5:30 A.M. We started to reminisce about our past: old girl friends, participation in sports, singing on “Aunt Bertha’s Children’s Bible Hour,” vacations, etc. We set our alarm to wake us up at 12:15 P.M. We were going to go pick up our union contract from Porky, and take it to the Musicians’ Union in Miami. We wanted to make sure they got it before we started playing at Porky’s on Monday, March 2.
Mike and I crawled out of bed at the sound of the alarm. Phil, Bob and Pete refused to get up. Bob said we could take his car to go to Porky’s. After we picked up the contract, he wanted us to return to the apartment to get Phil and him. Pete didn’t want to go.
Mike and I went and picked up the contract. As we looked it over, we wished that Phil would have come with us. He knew a lot more about contracts then we did. It seemed to us that the contract was very evasive. Where it said, “Name and Address of Place of Employment,” there was one word – PORKY’S. “Hours of Employment,” 10 to 3, along with a pen scratching note that said, “2 week written notice on either part to terminate contract.” That made us a little nervous. Then too, Porky put the “number of musicians” in the band at 4. We figured he must have done that, because even at minimum wage, $650.00 was probably for four musicians, not five. What we did like was it looked like Porky signed the contract on January 24, 1964. He also included a small message indicating he had sent us $75.00 in advance for “travel money.” We hoped the musicians union would accept the contract.
We returned to the apartment and got Phil and Bob. Just as we were about to leave, Lloyd came over. He told us that he had just got a job managing a motel in Miami. He said that he would be leaving on Sunday. He said he would let us know the phone number and address of the motel once he moved in. He invited us to come and see him and swim in the pool. We figured this was another one of Lloyd’s “bull stories.” We told him that once he got settled, to let us know and we would come and visit him.
It was a very hot afternoon: 84 degrees. We left for Miami with Bob doing the driving. When we got to the musicians union we didn’t know exactly where the office was. We found this huge building with a sign on it that said, “American Federation of Musicians – Local 655,” so we entered the first door we came to. When we got inside the room looked like a gym. All over the gym were unemployed musicians just waiting for the phone to ring. They were hoping that someone would call and say, “I need a guitar player for tonight, or sax player, drummer, a trumpet player,” etc. We asked where the office was so we could file our contract. It seemed like every eye in the place was then staring at us with hate on their face. We felt very bad about all the unemployed musicians, but we needed to work, too.
When we entered the office, I was the one that was designated to do all the talking. I even signed the contract, like I was the leader. Although Phil was the leader, he was not a very good liar. I could lie with the best of them. I told them the story of how I contacted Porky back in January to play at his club and sent him contracts. He signed them and sent me my copy, along with $75.00 in advance for travel money. He was supposed to send a copy of the contract to the union, but he misplaced it. We, therefore, had come down to bring them our copy to have on file. The man behind the desk took our contract, made a copy of it and said that he hoped we would enjoy playing at Porky’s. That was it! No questions! No lectures! He did say, however, to make sure we paid our work dues on time. We left and returned to our apartment.
When we got back, I made supper. We had almost no food left and there was no money in the kitty. The kitty actually owed us money. After dinner we watched more TV. Since there was nothing good on, the boys decided to play cards. I wrote Chick a letter. I missed her so much. I said a long prayer and went to sleep. I woke up in the middle of the night almost frozen. I couldn’t believe how cold it was: from 84 degrees to what felt like 34 degrees. What crazy weather! We were all healthy and got along well that day.