I have always wanted to meet the girl that broke Don Gibson’s heart. She musta been extra special for sure! Beautiful, of course, maybe even striking! Thoughtful, kind, loving, smart, a good dancer and probably didn’t have to make her own clothes….I assume she was from Shelby, North Carolina, like Don. And I’m guessing it was one of those “first love” deals.
Some of us can relate to that. I thought Charlotte Melton and I were going to grow up, get married, and live happily ever after….until she told me to take a hike. That was the summer between our eighth and ninth grade year.
I was devastated for two weeks. Then, I found out my new locker was right next to Jane Hill’s. This was a match made in Heaven! Except Jane didn’t see it the same way I did. She broke my heart by telling me she’d carry her own books to class.
Brenda Whitehead moved to town when we were juniors. We were an item for a spell there. And I thought just maybe…. But she moved back to Rocky Mount or down to Gleason. I wasn’t sure which. I was saddened by the sudden turn of events. But she really didn’t hang around long enough for either of us to reach the heartbroken stage.
Billie Jean still had my class ring when she started dating the guy in the band. I don’t know if I was mad, heartbroken or relieved. Billie wasn’t the easiest person to get along with at times. I hung around for two years thinking things were going to get better.
I’m not sure till this day what happened to my ring….
And I have told you about Mary Hadley Hayden; how she could light up the room when she walked in. And it didn’t hurt that her dad owned the bank, a sawmill and two hundred acres of good bottom land.
The point is I loved and lost a few girls over the years. It can be a tough row to hoe. At the very least, you get an “up close and personal” look at the heartbreak, loneliness, sorrow, despair….. Perhaps you have been there.
Don Gibson was a Hall of Fame country music songwriter. Here’s just a sample of his titles: “You’ll Never Know How Much It Hurts,” “After the Heartache,” “Blue, Blue Day,” “You’re the Only One for Me”…..are you catching a trend here?
And on June 7, 1957, just outside of Knoxville, Tennessee, Don wrote “Oh, Lonesome Me” and “I Can’t Stop Loving You.” Let me tell you, that’s the best one-day writing ever done on losing someone! And it’s why I’d like to meet the lady that is the subject of such heartfelt words.
Both songs are country standards BECAUSE they epitomize what the immortal Hank Williams called the “Lovesick Blues.” Mr. Gibson obviously loved deeper and got hurt way more than I ever did!
And, certainly, you have already surmised this story has nothing to do with country music. But Don Gibson’s writings do expose a lot of “lonely hearts” with three chords and a bucket of tears. I won’t get every line I’m fixing to quote exactly right. I didn’t look them up. Again, this is a story. I am not giving a book report! But you will get the idea.
“Everybody’s goin’ out and havin’ fun, I’m just a fool for staying home and havin’ none, I can’t get over how she set me free, Oh, Lonesome me.” I reckon Charlotte Melton “set me free” but it sure didn’t seem like it at the time. I thought I was the only person on earth that had ever been dumped! Don, apparently, got the same message from the Shelby, North Carolina girl.
“It’s been a blue, blue day, I feel like runnin’ away…My love has been untrue, She’s found somebody new…” I wasn’t smart enough to sing this one to Billie Jean. She might have taken pity on me and given my ring back!
“I’ll bet she’s not like me, she’s out and fancy free, flirting with the boys with all her charms, But I still love her so and brother don’t you know, I’d welcome her right back here in my arms….” Whew! That will put you down there lower than a whale’s belly!
Most relationships do not end by mutual consent. Somebody moves on; somebody gets hurt. Just “growth and life” we say. But I’m telling you from experience, it’s a tough growth! Here’s how Don summed it up…
“They say that time heals a broken heart, But time has stood still since we’ve been apart.”
At least, the girl in Shelby did make Don Gibson a millionaire several times over. That’s a lot more than Billie Jean ever did for me….