Donna Ulisse

Singer, Songwriter, Bluegrass Poet

#10 Shake Your Groove Thing

In my recollections I do believe I wallowed in these times. Brushing my hair was not at the top of my list so it went undone. My uni-brow gave my hazel eyes a sort of ledge that kept the sun from blinding me. I was wearing wire rimmed granny glasses that gave me a, oh, I don't know how to describe it, a twelve year old screaming to be a ninety year old look. My braces were like a small railroad track racing across my teeth. Through it all, my blessed Bonna, dad and mother thought I was a beautiful princess. I was never convinced but nonetheless forged on in my efforts to fit in.

My birthday that year made total sense now that I think back on it. The year before was the great guitar present after baby brother was born and I was trying half heartedly to learn to play it. This year my mother once again put my dad in charge of getting my birthday present. He really outdid himself. I was gifted with a HUGE bass amplifier, mic stand and microphone that I could plug into the amp and sing into with hideous volume. To top this wonderful gift off he threw in a double ringed tambourine! I was in HEAVEN! One of my favorite cartoons was The Archies and if I closed my eyes tight and hit the tambourine on my hip I looked JUST like Veronica. My dad was a GENIUS!

Once again my mother had to move furniture out of the way for my new musical present. Right in the corner of the dining room surrounded by a traditional walnut table and chairs and a lovely china cabinet, the ruffled curtains and flowery wallpaper sat the new black amp and mic. I'm sure she loved the look. The first thing I did every morning after my birthday was to go in and click it on, raise my tambourine up until it was level with the mic and hammer out "Folsom Prison Blues" with my new jingles. AHHHH....I can still hear the metallic sound vibrating through my brain cells. Keep in mind that I heard the music in my head but all the others in the house only heard the tambourine at an obnoxious level. It must have sounded like some horrible alarm clock racing throughout the house. How could my parents stand me? As far as I can remember they never complained. My dad would sit in the other corner of the dining room beaming at my impressive jangling. I wonder now if he had cotton stuffed in his ears as I sang my heart out with the tambourine as my only accompaniment.

Yes, it was a very good year after all. I was unwittingly learning about tempo and loving every ringing moment of it. I also learned what feedback was as the piercing sounds from the amp made our neighbors' dogs bark endlessly. Good times indeed!