2003   MAY 6   #126

Bill Dibella Mrs. D-raindrops - Family Recordings (1969)

William DiBella was my childhood friend. We walked to school together, we were in the same Cub Scout Den, we played together, rode bikes, went on hikes.Bill's house was on a cul-de-sac and the neighborhood was built around a wooded drainage area. That patch of woods was made for kids, it bordered three towns, and from any backyard you could hike for a while and come out in a town you were not supposed to be in. We had Mud-ball wars with the kids from neighboring towns. Built forts. Learned the ecology of a wetland.

Mrs. D was a very nice woman, she put up with us kids in the neighborhood, with brothers and sisters it could be 20 or more of us. In summers the 'gang' would meander from one of our yards to the other, being shoo-ed from yard to yard as we grew too much for each mother. Everybody went to the same church at the end of the street, So we all saw a lot of each other. I remember seeing Mrs. D walking to church, even for a regular saturday mass, she dressed to the nines, a very beautiful, gentle woman.

I don't remember what the reason was, Bill and I drifted apart. I was hanging out with a kid who was a rival of Bill and his brother Bob, and we decided that we were going to tear down their fort out in the "swamp". (my gosh, they used it to smoke cigaretts-was my excuse). Well, Mrs. D. must have heard the crashn' and snuck out to get a look-see. You have to picture this fine woman up to her knees in mud, having walked out along the muddy path that followed the brook to the fort. She was livid, probably wanted to strangle us, (we probably deserved it). She never raised her voice, shoo-ed us away, and of course called our parents. I felt bad at having this nice lady mad at me.

Well, Bill and I walked to school as I said. I always had my trusty tape recorder with me, and had recorded Creedence clearwater Revival's "heard it on the grapevine" I loved that song. Would play it over and over and over. ad nauseum. Bill had obviously had enough of it, as he tackled me one day and pocketed the tape. (he tackled me in a friendly way, we were a match for each other and would have wrestling matches that would last hours) We were around 12 years old.... He was definitely sick of hearing that song, because he got the tape and ran home with it. He gave the tape back to me the next day. I played it, and was mad at the time, because he had spent that night recording over every inch of the tape. He started with a bunch of whistling, and then recorded a very clever series of vingnetts of himself doing the "news" with funny stories, recorded TV, music, that fit in perfectly.

This little gem is a snippet of him, and he had even got Mrs. D to sing for him. (the tv show was Carol Burnett). She was a tad miffed when she heard that he had given the tape back to me. She was reserved, not the boisterous type, and singing after all for her son, not the rest of us. This tape influenced many other tapes of mine. Bill had some great ideas on this tape ! My sisters and brother and I would record our own newscasts, complete with sound effects and jokes, interviews, sometimes getting mom or dad involved knowingly or doing a "candid" interview with the tape recorder hidden and us acting fresh to get a rise out of them for our tape "audience".

Here's to Bill and Mrs. D -where ever you are -We love you !

- Greg McCarthy

TT-4:21 / 4MB / 128kbps 44.1khz