Since the passing of the Gloved One, many stories are coming out about sightings, paternity, drug use and much adulation.
As a teen girl in the early seventies, I adorned my walls with my idols. Fresh from the pages of Teen Beat, hung on my walls with pink pushpins where the smiling faces of David Cassidy, Bobby Sherman, and Michael Jackson. It never occurred to me that Michael was a different skin tone. My father on the other hand, being raised in Oakland California was acutely aware of skin tone. He did not approve of any boys learing at his daughter over her vanity much less one with an Afro. There were many loud arguments at the table over mushy peas regarding my inability to marry and worship Michael Jackson.
After a year he acquiesced my love for Michael and for my birthday requisitioned tickets to see The Jackson Five at Harrah’s Tahoe in the winter of 1974. My father’s profession was that of an institutional food salesman, and he did his job well. The hospitality department of the big casinos welcomed into their kitchens and helped him land these rare tickets. The whole family was slated to go, but no one was more excited than me.
We were poor white children, so when we had formal events, my mother made us dresses. This was a point of pride for me when I was younger, but as the teen years took hold they bacame a major embarrassment. Mother was not aware of my loathing for home made clothes, as I would just have friends bring extra clothes when forced to sport my Simplicity pattern and change in their car.
My mother made us matching dresses, with identical patterns, only the colors were different. Three little beauties. They were floor length, with a large row of ruffles down the chest, a bow in the back and a high scoop neck. They were Little House On The Prairie meets Annie. I hated them. The night of the concert, I threw a fit supreme as only can be done by a 13-year-old girl. No one understood why I didn’t want to wear the dress my mother labored until 3 am to finish. My father took a firm hand, and I dawned the dress and a major frown.
We were greeted at the door by friendly maître d’ who gave us a table right next to the stage. He was a fan of my fathers, so we got the VIP treatment. The table was shared by Mrs. Jackson, Latoya and Janet (then 5 years old) and their manager, Billy Preston. The show was beyond breathtaking and my eyes never left the teen idol and I mentally vowed to remember every dance step. At the end of the show, they announced they would be releasing the new single “Dancing Machine”
The fog covered the stage, multi color lights roamed the proscenium and Michael stepped out. I held my breath as he danced and sang his way around the floor. I had never seen anyone move like that. After one go around of the song, the Jacksons came to the edge of the stage and started bringing girls from the audience up on stage to dance with them. I watched with envy.
Then Michael walked to the edge of the stage and held a hand out to me. I hesitated, and then froze; there was no way I was going to get on that stage in this homemade monstrosity! I knew that if Michael saw me in this dress, he would never want me. The other girls on stage were all dressed in sequins and short skirts. My mother pushed from behind, my father told me to get my ass up there. I was immobilized; Michael shook his head, took his hand away and moved to the girl at the next table. I cried all the way home.