The Apple Orchard
The trip to London was fantastic. Tony did 4 shows in London, then 3 shows in Scotland ending with 4 shows in Ireland. John Harkins, the impresario, had invited some of his cohorts from other countries to the London concerts.
At the end of the Ireland tour, John approached us with a proposition. He'd put together a European tour that would last 45 days. He'd handle all the arrangements and all we had to do was perform.
I asked him to put that into a contract and send it to me. I told Tony that we'll need to increase the supply of discs.
"That could be your first project when we get home. You can check out various companies that provide discs to the music community and then you'll be earning your salary."
"What salary, you don't pay me."
The European tour was a great success and was followed by a tour in Japan and Korea. By the end of the year we did 1 European tour, 1 tour in the Far East and 2 tours at home. I had already planed 5 months of tours for the upcoming year. When we weren't on tour, Tony continued to make discs and we decided to build a recording studio on the farm.
I had found a firm in Sweden that would supply us with discs to meet our sales. I had requests from various distributors for discs both in the US as well as the countries where we had performed concerts.
With the management of Tony's appearances and keeping up on the orders for discs, I hired two people to handle the correspondence as well as the mailing. Photos taken on the tours were circulated to the various retailed stores that sold Tony's disc. Of course I had to hire a personal secretary that would handle Tony's fan mail. He insisted he had to sign each response and include a photo. He wanted to send a disc but I told him that wasn't necessary and had to remind him that his discs generated our operating funds.
For the next ten years, Tony and I did a lot of traveling promoting his music. But all things must come to an end. Tony was tired and wanted a break. We had made a lot of money and really didn't need to work anymore. There were new groups coming on to the scene, competition was increasing and we agreed to quit while we were still on top.
I still had the apple orchard and it was doing well under Dad's supervision. "Tony, let's go home to our shack. You need a rest and I'd like to check on Dad and the orchard."
Tony agreed and that's what we did. The band broke up and each of them found another group to back up. There were no strings to keep Tony working. I did make Tony sing to me each evening. After the hectic time we had, the peace of the apple orchard was a welcoming respite. Tony and I would sit under the tree where my grandparents were resting; telling them of our travels and Tony would sing them a song.
Walking back to the shack, I reflected on the time when I first moved into the shack. I remember the morning I looked upon the orchard and felt so alone. Looking at Tony, I knew that feeling would never be repeated.
We kept the recording studio. Tony would use it once in a while and we rented it to other singers. I had hired one of Tony's music classmates to manage the studio. Dad had assumed the life of a retired gentleman and spent a lot of time with us.
Anna still had the café and once in a while Tony and I would go there for lunch or dinner. He always brought his guitar with him and would sing a few songs, much to the enjoyment of Annie and her guests. I still gave Annie a few discs to sell.
I look at Tony while we lay in bed; I'm still as much in love with him as I was at the beginning. He's my mate and I look forward to the rest of our lives in our shack.
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