I don’t recall that any of the small handful of Rock bands that I played with in high school ever practiced in a garage. Living rooms, dining rooms, basements, a room over a garage, but never in the garage. (I did, after all, grow up in New Hampshire.)
Though I’m sure we took it for granted at the time, my young bandmates and I were very fortunate to have each had a Mom and Dad who were willing on a regular basis to allow us to turn their home, for an evening or a long Saturday afternoon, into our personal band rehearsal space. They also usually provided drinks and snacks.
One of those Moms was Mrs. Blanche Savage.
Blanche Savage and her husband Daniel lived in a small ranch-style house on Stoney Brook Lane in Exeter, NH. Their son and only child, Daniel Jr., was my friend and classmate at Exeter High School. Danny Savage was also the best electric guitar player I knew.
Danny and I, along with our other musical friends Jim and Alan and, for a while, Joe, had a band. At one point, when we were a quintet, we named ourselves The Back Street Window.
Mr. & Mrs. Savage would let us practice in their basement. I particularly remember one afternoon when it was just Danny and me. I had my full drum set and Danny had his new, huge, solid state Magnatone guitar amplifier (containing two, heavy-duty, 12-inch speakers). I’m pretty sure I would have also brought the band PA – microphone, mic stand, two tall “column” speakers and a 100-watt power amp – to amplify my vocals. (Danny didn’t sing.) Danny and I jammed (though I don’t think we called it that back then) at full volume for several hours. We played every song we knew, some we thought we knew and quite a bit of “music” that we just made up as we went along. I remember being rather stunned and drained when we were done and Mrs. Savage smiling as I packed my equipment in my parent’s station wagon to go home.
I hadn’t thought about Mrs. Savage for many years, until I saw her obituary in the paper yesterday. Reading the short article, I learned much about my friend’s Mom.
Blanche V. Savage was born in Exeter on October 22, 1925. She was the daughter of George and Melina Nichols. She had several brothers and sisters. As an adult, still living in Exeter, she worked at two different shoe factories, Exeter Shoe and Rockingham Shoe. About 15 years ago, she moved to Barrington, NH and spent her last days at the Dover Center for Health and Rehabilitation, in Dover, NH.
Mrs. Savage passed away at Wentworth-Douglas Hospital, also in Dover, on October 15, 2013. She was 88 years old. She was predeceased by both her husband (in 1991) and her son.
For Mrs. Blanche Savage and all of my bandmates’ Moms – Mrs. Girard, Mrs. DeFreitas, Mrs. Gorski and, of course, my own Mom – and the Dads! – who supported and encouraged and paid for the musical interests and activities and development of their children and in turn, their children’s bandmates, I am forever deeply grateful.
I hope that, way back then, I said “thank you” often enough. Since you are all now gone, I can only wish that I could say it to each of you, in person, one more time again.