Another fond memory I have with celebrity friends was when I met the Nelson brothers in 1990. You know, Ricky Nelson’s kids, Ozzie and Harriet’s grand-kids. Please don’t misconstrued the status quo when I say certain names. I say it so you know who they are but to me they are/were my friends. To be frank, they are normal people like you and me except they just happen to be in the spot light.
I was standing in line with my girlfriend in Los Angeles for the taping of the music video “More Than Ever”. As we were entering the building it was like a stampede going in and I got separated from her. The next thing I know, this guy was telling me to come with him and escorted me to the balcony where my friend ended up being. She apparently ran into a mutual friend of ours and he invited us up there with him to watch the taping of the video. Here I was 22 years old at the taping of a music video and sitting in this balcony where the drummer from Cinderella was hanging out. I’m sure there were a few other known band members there as well but I can’t remember. It’s been forever ago and I’m lucky I still remember this moment.
After the taping of the music video we got to go back stage and out to the back of the building. There was a tent, benches and food for the staff and VIP people along with a few trailers back there. I recall going into one of the trailers where we got to meet Bobby Rock (the drummer), who was a true sweetheart! I got a picture autographed from him and eventually the Nelson boys as well. After we hung out with Bobby we ended up going to this room backstage where the Nelson brothers were getting ready to do an interview. I recall being in the room with them but as soon as they were starting the interview I got a little shy and uncomfortable. So I decided to go on the other side of the wall and watch the taping of the interview from there. I stood behind the camera guy to watch and Bobby Rock was right behind me. I remember Bobby saying something like, you’re not like the other girls. Maybe it was because my girlfriend was on the other side of that wall doing a lap dance for the brothers and I wasn’t? Or maybe I was just shy? Either way, I had an amazing time and a great experience!
After that video there was only one other time that I saw Gun and that was before I got engaged to my first husband. I didn’t see or talk to him until 1992 when I separated from my husband and moved back to California. A friend of mine told me that Gun heard I moved back to California and asked about me. I eventually got in touch with him and we made plans to go out to the movies. I remember that evening he came over, I had just gotten my new ’96 T-top Hunter Green Firebird and he asked if he could drive it… so I said sure. We had a real nice evening at the movies and afterwards caught up on things that had happened in our lives since we last saw each other. I was so happy to have him back in my life again and rekindle our friendship.
Another time he had planned on coming over to hang out but I was running late at work. I had called to tell him I was working longer than expected and that I left my apartment key under the mat for him. By the time I did get home he was already sleeping and there was a plate of chocolate chip cookies on the kitchen counter with a note. I wish I still had that note to share because it was written out of sheer kindness and love. I held onto that note for a long time until crazy husband number two threw it out; along with the polaroid picture I had with Gun and my dachshund dog Zeus laying on the couch.
A lot of memories with Gun and Matty are a bit of a blur but there are a few memories that I still do remember. Over the years when they were on tour and going through a town I was in or living at I would go see them play and sometimes Gun and I would hook up. There was once or twice when he would blow me off but when we did hook up (in my own opinion) I felt like I was just another women in a port for him. I didn’t see anything coming of this relationship except just hanging out and having some fun. I always thought highly of Gun and Matty, we got along and we had a few things in common like losing our father’s to tragedy. And if I were to be honest, I really didn’t see him and I together as a couple.
I wasn’t living in California for long when I moved to Florida. In 2008 when I was married to my fourth husband I would go out to Orange County and work at the NAMM show for Dean Guitars (my husband worked for them). I would go every year and one of those years I ended up meeting up with the boys again. Gun had pulled me aside and told me he was upset that I got together with his brother Matt. I told him that I felt like I was just another girl in his port and I didn’t think it mattered what I did with his brother because it wasn’t like him and I were dating. Crickets between him and I would commence for a long time until one day in 2019, I was on a trip from Las Vegas to Nashville….
The first day of my trip was just one leg to Nashville with a decent overnight. I was flying C position which is the flight attendant that is positioned in the exit row during boarding. As people were boarding I was standing in the exit row and happened to look up and see this pretty blonde lady. Immediately I said, hello beautiful and she pretty much said, right back at ya. I remember she was going to sit where I was standing but then her husband came and decided to sit behind the exit row. He was wearing a cowboy hat and so much was going on during boarding that I really didn’t see what he looked like. About 3/4 into the trip I was walking from the front of the aircraft to the back collecting garbage. As I approached the back of the aircraft I saw this man (with a Hawaii looking shirt on) standing in the galley talking to one of the flight attendants. As soon as he turned around we both pointed at each other and said, “I know you!”. It was Gunnar and he was waiting for his wife to come out of the bathroom.
We started talking and he was telling me that they were just in Vegas with one of their bands (Scrap Metal) doing a gig. Then his wife came out and it was the same girl I noticed at boarding who was going to sit in the exit row before her husband decided to sit somewhere else. Crazy! Gun and Lila were so sweet that they took a pix with me and my crew. We exchanged numbers, talked briefly and were going to hangout for drinks that night at the hotel I was staying at. I didn’t think too much of them coming by because they just finished a vacation, gig and were heading home on an evening flight. Gun had texted me not to long after I got settled into my hotel room and said that the they were tired and the kids had surprised them with dinner. I told him I understand and he said we’ll just get together tomorrow before you head out. So we did just that…
Gun and Lila came to the hotel that next afternoon and off to lunch we went. I think that I talked to Lila more than I did Gun. Her and I hit it off so fast and the more we chatted the more we found out we had a lot in common. We even joked around about how we felt like we were soul sisters. I did end up confessing to her that when I first made eye contact with her on the plane that I felt like I knew her in another life. I know it sounds crazy but that’s exactly what I felt. That day was so amazing, I got to reunite with Gun after so many years and met someone who I felt a deep connection with who happened to be my friends wife!
After that trip, Lila and I would talk often and my birthday was soon approaching. Her and I were talking about what I was going to do to celebrate my 50th birthday. I told her that I was just probably going to work but she wasn’t gonna let me do that. So she invited me out to Nashville to celebrate my birthday with her and the family. I was so excited and couldn’t wait to meet her family and catch up some more with Gun. I ended up going out there for a few days, met her beautiful family (Katy, Ari, Aja and Wake/Katy’s boyfriend) and her amazing two furbabies, Willie and Duke (I immediately fell in love with Dukester!). One of those days while I was there, Gun and Matty were upstairs practicing with the band. That evening they were doing a show in Nashville and opening up for Loverboy, which I went to with her and her daughters. While the band was practicing Lila and I decided to make a nice dinner for the band. We ended up cooking them a shrimp boil, some side dishes and of course a few deserts. We had such a great time cooking, chatting, enjoying some cocktails and just simply having fun in the whirlwind kitchen it had become. In the end I believe the guys appreciated and enjoyed their meal as well as her and I toasting each other for a job well done.
On the day of my birthday Gun took us all out for dinner to celebrate. He said it was my choice of where I wanted to go which that gesture not only touched my heart but made me fall in love with his family even more. We ended up going out for steaks and after we ate the waitress brought me a desert with a candle in it to where then the family sang happy birthday to me. Lila had also bought me a cake that was at their home. So I got another happy birthday song sang to me and I more than willingly got to indulge in more sugar (laughing). And if that wasn’t enough, she had also surprised me with a birthday present. You can’t even imagine how touched I was or overwhelmed with emotions that day. You know, it’s funny how the universe works… I had thought I would spend my 50th birthday on a trip or by myself, I honestly didn’t expect this. I couldn’t of felt so much love from a family than this one. They are the most sweetest, kindest and beautiful people I know! I will always be grateful to them for giving me a wonderful monumental birthday full of love that I will cherish forever!
Lila and I still see and speak to each other but not as much lately since the universe has us going in whirlwinds with our lives. I definitely need to get my schedule in order and go back to Nashville and visit them. I’m actually in need of some Dukester lovin’s (laughing). All joking aside, there was one time while I was there that I told her when I’m around them that I feel like they are ‘home’ to me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to replace my family. But when I’m around the Nelson home they just fill a void in my heart and make me feel an overwhelming love I’ve never felt before.
“Family isn’t always blood. It’s the people in your life who want you in theirs; the ones who except you for who you are. The ones who would do anything to see you smile and who love you no matter what.” ~ Unkown