John and Di
February is probably considered the month of love because of Valentine's Day, but it is the month of love for John and I because it is the month we were married back in 1985. We had been together since the end of 1980. We met earlier that year in San Diego living there with different friends/mates and slowly but steadily interest and feelings grew and grew and then came to a head with a tumultuous chain of events that began the union of our 2 souls that still continues today.
Finally having gotten together in New Hampshire, we traveled back to San Diego and lived in that paradise for some months. In August 1981 John's father passed away and because he needed to be there for his mother, we all moved from San Diego back to New Hampshire to pursue the dream of being in a band together back here.
Beginning my life with John was an eye-opening, exciting experience. He made me look at things in a different way........not conventional or ordinary. He made me think off the grid, out of the box. I remember in those early days, he and I walking up Somerville Street in Manchester each playing banjos. A young kid walked by us and was confused, "why were we doing this?", it was just fun. He gave me my first banjo lesson and bought me my first banjo, the "Framus" in the picture below. He was always my "go to" guy for my instruments and still is.
One of the first songs I wrote was "The Same Ole "G" Blues" and it was written with my love for him and the thoughts of our future lives together.
I would always tease John that he never wrote a song for me. He FINALLY did (just kidding) and it is "Swinging Along" on Ben Rudnick and Friends Love Is A Superpower (you can click on the cd for a quick clip at CD Baby).
Besides the music we were playing together with the band, we were going to hundreds of concerts experiencing the music we both loved, together.
As a band, all of us did the work that was necessary to get gigs; our promo pictures, getting gigs, moving equipment, etc., etc., etc., Some of the photos in the beginning were on the crude side, but priceless in a way.
After a few years of being together and playing in the band, we got married and had our first child, Alyssia in October 1985 and later Christos in May 1989. We wanted to have children together and we felt we needed to do it around the time we did and It was quite interesting being pregnant and playing, both times until about a month before due dates. I think my banjo was loud on my belly (duh!), there was a lot of active movement inside when we played (even the keyboards), but I would put a pillow between the banjo and my belly. Our children grew up around all the band activity and we'll always remember Alyssia coming home from school when she was maybe 7 and saying "Nobody knows what a gig is!"
Lichen played many shows at the now gone Angelo's function room in Manchester and one of the most fun was the "Send Alyssia to Australia" show. She was traveling with the organization People to People and we were fundraising for her.
We had a crazy fundraising idea to request songs from lists with a price to pay for them. The prices varied and the concept was based on Lichen's credo of no repeat songs from the show before. The most expensive songs were those songs from the gig before and the most expensive was Dark Star, just because it's Dark Star. It was a lot of fun and with many other fundraising donations, she went to Australia.
Alyss and Chris being part of a band family helped out so much when they were old enough. First they probably carried mic stands, guitar stands, instruments, but eventually would help us with all the equipment toting and still do to this day when they are around.
Alyss went to college for Interior Design and is a designer extraordinaire, and Chris went to John's teaching school Timberlane and then to college in the music field and is getting his doctorate. He performs in various bands which includes John and my Irish band, Celtic Knot and also with Ben Rudnick and Friends with John. The pictures below are Celtic Knot, Celtic Knot at Hallsville School, Ben Rudnick and Friends at the Hatch Shell in Boston and the Zevos clan at Penuche's St. Patrick's Day. John and I have played Irish music on St. Patrick's Day at the kids elementary school Hallsville in Manchester for 25 years. Initially just John and I played in the hallway at Hallsville and later in their gym and eventually all 4 of Celtic Knot. (Celtic Knot has a cd St. Patrick's Holiday)
We spent a lot of time at Hallsville School over the years and here's a crazy fact: Alyss and Chris went to Hallsville as well as John AND his father, who was Christos also. When Alyss was in the 5th grade John and I went and played Christmas tunes in her classroom and I think you can tell from her picture at her desk how she felt.
We have played probably close to 2,000 gigs together and many pictures to show for some of it. Here's a gallery of some of them:
I would like to leave you with a fun video. A few years ago we did this song for our daughter Alyssia's birthday. When she was around 7 she loved the children's group Sharon, Lois and Bram and they did the Skinnamarink song and that is the song in our video. John and I do so much together, whatever it takes and it isn't always joy and happiness, it is real life, but real love and I think this video shows that.
Martin Mahon - Beautiful. A wonderful testimony to your love for John. I also notice, when John is singing and there's a line in a song which speaks of great love, he always gives you that look like he's kinda winking, singing that line to you. Geez I love you guys. And I so love how much you love each other. God Bless