Female Country artists visited mother at our home, but not as often, it seemed, as the men. Perhaps that’s because they came at times when my brother and I were at school or we thought of them as harmless aunts and paid little attention to them being there. But I remember mother introducing me to them before asking me to “run out back and play.”
I remember how I thought they were so beautiful. They were like mom, meaning spirited with big smiles, big laughter, loving dispositions and blazing eyes. The Chelette Sisters -- Mary Jo, Carolyn and Judy -- fascinated me. They were kids like I was but up-and-coming stars, mom said, and so poised, pretty and sophisticated.
The one I remember best was named “Skeeter.” I liked that name. It sounded colorful, like a cousin’s nickname, and it matched the energy I felt in her presence. Skeeter Davis? Likely.
Another I remember was a heck of a knockout – long dark hair, dark eyes, absolutely beautiful. She may have been Hannah Faye, a young singer marked for potential stardom but who quit singing to marry and settle down.
I often heard mother talking about “Kitty Wells.” I don’t recall meeting her, but mother spoke of working on songs with her. Once, when I’d taken a break from newspapering in the late ’70s and was working briefly out of Nashville for Randy Gurley, a new ABC Dot artist, the Bradley brothers gave me Kitty Wells’ office number. I called several times to say hello but never got through.
The Chelette Sisters