Monday, April 22, 2013

The Coal Miner's Daughter by Loretta Lynn

Here is the first chapter from the book 'The Coal Miner's Daughter' by Loretta Lynn with George Vecsey.

'    About Me And This Book

Well, I look out the window and what do I see?
The breeze is a-blowin' the leaves from the trees
Everything is free - everything but me.......
        - 'I Wanna Be Free' by Loretta Lynn

I bloodied my husband's nose the other night. I didn't know I was doing it - I just woke up at three in the morning, and Doolittle was holding a towel to his nose. He told me I sat straight up, in my sleep, yelling, "Do you see this ring? Do you see this ring?" And I was a-throwing my hands around until my fingers dug around in his nose.

 "Loretta, what in the world were you talking about?" Doo asked me.

 I said I was dreaming about some old guy that tried to make a date with me when I first started singing. I didn't have no ring at the time - we were too poor for that kind of stuff - but now in my dream I was showing that old buzzard I had a ring.

 What does it mean when you carry on in your sleep like that? Someday said it means you've got something on your mind. I said, "I know that." I ain't got much education, but I got some sense.

 To me, this talking is almost like I've got things inside me that never came out before. Usually, when something is bothering me, I write a song that tells my feelings, like: "Don't Come Home A-Drinkin' (with Lovin' On Your Mind)." That's really about me and my marriage.

 I've still got things inside me - sad things, happy things - that people don't know about. I've had so many changes in my life, and I feel like there's more to come. I'm superstitious, I believe in reincarnation and extrasensory perception; and I've got this feeling about more changes in my life. It's like a girl feels when her body starts to grow up, or a woman feels when a baby starts to grow inside her. You know it's there, you feel the stirrings, but it's deeper than words.

 People know the basic facts about me, how I was married when I wasn't quite fourteen and had four babies by the time I was eighteen. Sometimes my husband tells me, "I raised you the way I wanted you to be." And it's true. I went from Daddy to Doo, and there's always been a man telling me what to do.

 I was just a kid - didn't know nothing - picking strawberries in the fields with my babies on a blanket, under an umbrella. I'd change a few diapers, my fingers all rough and dirty, give 'em a few bottles, and go back to picking. So when I sing those country songs about women struggling to keep things going, you could say I've been there.

 It's like that hit record I had in 1975, "The Pill," about this woman who's taking birth control pills so she won't have any more babies. Well, they didn't have none of them pills when I was younger, or I'd have been swallowing 'em like popcorn. See, the men who rum some of the radio stations, they banned the record because they didn't like what I was saying. But the women knew. Like I say, I know what it's like to be pregnant and nervous and poor.

 Now I've got this huge ranch in Tennessee, and I've been on the cover of Newsweek magazine, and I was the first woman ever named 'Entertainer of the Year' in country music. I also got honorable mention in the Gallup Poll as one of the "most admired women" in the United States. Lordy, I even got to meet Gregory Peck!

 But some of my friends, who know me best, say they wouldn't trade places with me for a million dollars because of the pace I lead. I'm still a-traveling nearly two hundred nights a year to meet my fans who've given me everything I've got. In one way, I'm still working as hard as when I was working in the fields. But I'd have to admit, the stakes are higher.

 When I first came to Nashville, people called us 'hill-billy singers' and hardly gave country music any respect. We lived in old cars and dirty hotels, and we ate when we could. Now country music is a big business. You go around the country, there's a thousand radio stations broadcasting our music. Why, they've even got a country station in New York City, where I played in that big building - what's it called, some kind of garden? Yeah, Madison Square Garden, that's right. So I've seen country music go uptown, like we say, and I'm proud I was there when it happened.

 They've also made a movie called Nashville that people tell me was one of the biggest movies of 1975.  Well, I ain't seen it, so I can't tell you whether it's any good or not. I don't follow the movies much, and I'd much rather see a Walt Disney movie if I do go.

 But some of my friends told me there's two characters in there that resemble me and Doolittle - at least somewhat. Well, I met that girl who played the top country singer in the movie. She came to Nashville and talked to me and watched me perform for a few weeks. If she tried to imitate me in the movie, that's their problem. If they really wanted me, why didn't they just ask me?

 But I ain't worrying about no movies. My records are still selling, and I get more offers for shows than I can handle. So if you're wondering whether that character in the movie is me, it ain't. This book is me. I've got my own life to lead.

 And my life hasn't been easy, not even now. I've had chest surgery (nonmalignant, thank God) and blood infection and sometimes, I pass out on stage from migraine headaches. You hear all kinds of rumors about my sick spells, and also some rumors about me having trouble with aspirin pills.
- Debolina Raja Gupta

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