Tuesday, February 3, 2009

"The day the music died"

It was 50 years ago today that a small plane took off from the airport in Mason City, Iowa, then crashed shortly afterward in a field near Clear Lake, killing all four passengers -- the pilot, Roger Peterson, and three rock & roll singers who had just played a concert at the Surf Ballroom hours before -- Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens & J.P. Richardson (the Big Bopper). The event was immortalized some years later as "The Day the Music Died" by Don McLean in his song "American Pie."

Of course, as a newspaper article I read today pointed out, the music didn't die, and the legacy -- Holly's especially -- lives on.

We drove right past the Mason City airport, and Clear Lake, on the return trip from a family reunion in eastern Iowa in July 2006. I was dying to ask my dad (who was driving) if we could make a side trip & find the Surf Ballroom. But we'd already been on the road for a few hours, & were eager to get to my uncle's in Minneapolis, a few more hours away. So I stayed quiet, but I looked out the window & tried to imagine how it looked on a cold winter's night so many years earlier.

(You knew I'd find a pregnancy loss/infertility angle to this story.) Did you know (I didn't, until just a few years ago) that Holly's widow, Maria Elena, was newly pregnant when her husband died, but had a miscarriage a short time later?


  1. I heard about the 50-year mark yesterday.

    The dbl angle for me? Who will immortalize our babies? Who will mark 50 years since they've been gone?

    Well, I guess our blogs will live on in posterity...

  2. I feel like a total fool because I'm a big Don McLean fan but didn't know that was the story behind the song.

    I also didn't know that about Buddy Holly's wife. That must have a been extremely difficult for her.