I Love Lena – Thoughts on Lena Horne by Linda “Peaches” Tavani

Lena Horne

Lena Horne

My fondest memories begin with my childhood. I loved so many things going on in my life back then. I especially loved to listen to the stereo and hear my parents’ favorite songs and singers.

Their style, music and movies are still my favorite era. My grandparents, as well as my mom and dad, were especially fond of all the superstars of their heyday, such as Nat King Cole & Sammy Davis Jr.,  Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. I especially loved Ms. Josephine Baker. She was my father’s favorite.

A sassy young woman from St.Louis, Josephine Baker wouldn’t let anything stop her from being applauded and celebrated for her electric love for singing and dance performances. While she was shunned in America, not being allowed to perform here in the States, she was hailed in Europe as “La Baker” and her dazzling songs sung in French became the toast of Paris. She bought a chateau in France, married a Parisian businessman, and adopted children from around the world to prove that all mankind can and should get along in this world. I had the pleasure to see her perform in Philadelphia when I was 15 years old. She was in her 70’s by then, yet still captivating. But I digress!  I have written about my love for Josephine Baker in a Prince Tribute article I wrote for CultureHoney.com.

I Love Lena

I Love Lena

My real favorite lady of stage and screen was the gorgeous Lena Horne. When I saw her sing, dance and act, I knew right then what I wanted to do with my life.

I Love Lena

I Love Lena

Times changed since I was a teenager, and I was sure that I would follow in her footsteps if I only had the chance. While performing in New York City years later, I had the opportunity to catch one of her last “one woman shows” at the Nederland Theatre.

I Love Lena

I Love Lena

She received a standing ovation. With butterflies in my stomach, I rushed to her dressing room to see if I could have a closer look at this fascinating legend of mine. I had seen all her films and her music was forever played in our home. Cabin in the Sky is an all-time classic.

I could not wait to get an autograph or maybe take a picture of her ageless beauty. I stood there remembering scenes and hearing her voice singing and felt like a little girl again.

I Love Lena

I Love Lena

I could suddenly imagine hearing her singing “Stormy Weather” and as I waited to meet her in her dressing room, the door opened. I looked up and there she was. I couldn’t believe she was actually smiling and laughing and recognized me from a talk show. I got a big hug from my childhood icon. Imagine that! As she softly shouted, “Hey, ya’ll, this is Peaches. She’s one of my girls!” I was too blown away to do anything but stand there speechless and so very much in awe of her. She brought so many good memories into our living room. I was glad I had a chance to meet her and thank her.
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