A Memory Of Someone Who I Met Once; Wendy Holcombe
Posted on March 17, 2016
Have you ever met someone in your early, early years who you just never forgot about even though you never met them again? Yes? No? Maybe? Well, there are two things people would be surprised to learn about me; I’m a softy at heart, and I once took an interest in listening to banjo music. It was only by one country artist, however; Wendy Holcombe.
I don’t remember the specifics of why we attended the show. It may have been a benefit for the city or police department, or we may have gotten free tickets to the show. Whatever the case, I had backstage access and I think it was around the time I was in third grade. I’m guessing. The show in question was a country one and featured opener Wendy Holcombe and headliner Dickey Lee. Michigan isn’t exactly a huge bastion of country fans, so I don’t remember the small auditorium being full, but there were folks for both shows (each played twice).
Mom and dad took me backstage and I met Dickey Lee, who I remember being quite nice, but seasoned and probably not that interested in talking to a kid my age. Wendy, however, was a teenager and only 7 years older than me. I remember we hit it off and, if I recall correctly, her dad and possibly another family member were with her too. I spent most of my time with her, chatting, and teaching her and her dad the words to a McDonald’s cheeseburger commercial. They felt to me, at that age, like extended family and they took to me as well. It was just a very comfortable, very fun connection.
Mom got me up one morning very early months later to tell me Wendy was on an episode of Big Blue Marble (I’m sure it was a repeat). It was something to see this gorgeous blonde teen with her banjo on the screen who I’d met and spent some time with. And then time happened. She also appeared on a show I watched called Kids Are People Too.
I would from time to time wonder what happened to Wendy Holcombe, if she ever released many records, and went on to an incredible career. I wasn’t into Country music, so it wouldn’t be a stretch that I didn’t know anything about that scene. Well, the internet is a blessing and a curse. I did a search and it turns out Wendy passed away in 1987 (I was in my senior year of high school) from an enlarged heart.
Aside from the two television shows I mentioned, Wendy was also featured on The Big Show, The Mickey Mouse Club, and performed at the Grande Ole Opry. She was extraordinary not only in her talent, but also in the way she treated people, friends, family, or someone walking by.
We had something in common, too. And maybe it’s a strange thing, I don’t know. But she met a guitar player named Thomas Yoshiro Blosser, and they became a couple. Thomas was Japanese. You really didn’t hear much about relationships like theirs back then. I happen to be in a similar one now in terms of it being interracial. Heck, her Wikipedia page doesn’t mention Thomas, but there is a lovely site (www.wendyholcombe.com) that has some wonderful pictures and information about them both on it.
I would have loved to share my few memories of Wendy with Thomas. Sadly, he passed away in 2006. Family and friends say he was never the same after Wendy died. Someone described it as ironic that Wendy died of an enlarged heart and Thomas died of a broken one.
There isn’t always a way to predict in life who will hold a special place in our memory. Sometimes it feels very random and other times…you just get a feeling. I remember my Great Aunt Anne telling me before she moved down to New Orleans with her brother to never forget her. I haven’t and that was over thirty years ago. And for some reason, I’ve never forgotten Wendy Holcombe. And I wish I could have met her husband.
I found out while I was writing this that there’s a single album on Amazon of Wendy’s music available for a digital download. It’s something I’ll be purchasing shortly. In the meantime, should you be curious, there are several clips of Wendy Holcombe on YouTube that are worth checking out.
So, I’ll end it here with a question. Have you ever met someone who stayed with you through the years even though you never met them again?
Kristoffer Gair (who formerly wrote under the pseudonym Kage Alan) is the Detroit-based author of Honor Unbound, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To My Sexual Orientation, Andy Stevenson Vs. The Lord Of The Loins, Gaylias: Operation Thunderspell, several short stories featured in anthologies (to be combined in a forthcoming book), the recently re-published novella Falling Awake, its sequel, Falling Awake II: Revenant and Falling Awake III: Requiem.
2 Responses to “A Memory Of Someone Who I Met Once; Wendy Holcombe”
Eddie Lam says:
March 17, 2016 at 7:34 am
This one is really good one. I enjoy reading it as always.
Sometimes you don’t need to be with the person long enough in order to understand him/her, sometimes, it just a moment that could change you forever. Thank you for introducing Wendy to us and wonder if she lived her life full. It sounds like it. It is just sad she passed away at really young age.
For me? I still remember a girl who was from my kindergarten, she was very sweet and nice.
March 17, 2016 at 9:59 am
I may live? lol
Would you like to know how I decided to write about her? I was writing a section of the second Falling Awake story and needed to come up with a name for a road. I wanted something unique, so the word Holcombe popped into my head. It made me think of Wendy, and I realized I’d never written about her before. I thought I should.
Did you ever look up the little girl from kindergarten?