August 31, 2023
NOTE: To fully appreciate the following muse-inspired comments, replace the specific details in the context of Your Experience back in high school especially if that was in the 60s-70s-maybe as late as the 80s.
I have no clue if more recent youthful rites of passage apply.
As obituaries go, it was “brief” to say the least.
Constance (Connie) Bland Perry, 77, of Kinston passed away, on Saturday, August 26, 2023.
A memorial service will be held on a later date. Please check back later for more information.
I am now of that demographic that pays more attention to “obits” than I used to. When friends and acquaintances of my era pass away, the phrase – “but he/she was so young” – no longer applies. We are not quite at the next stage – “well, he/she lived a full long life”. To be followed by the dreaded – “Damn, I thought he/she died years ago”. YIKES!
I’m not sure how I received notice of the passing of “Constance (Connie) Bland Perry”. The news did not “hit me like a ton of bricks”, but I did “blink”.
Connie Bland … not someone I thought of often at all … but definitely in my memory attic for quick retrieval.
I forwarded the news of Connie Bland’s demise to several long time buddies with not unexpected responses …
Yup. I saw that. It’s really pretty hard to know how to react.
She had a little pip squeek of a sister, I am sure nice but nothing like Connie … WOW! Please tell me Rena Stapleford is still somewhere being awesome?
Oh My! … an Unforgettable Legend for sure! What about “Treva” and “Mary Anne” and “Beth Gabriel” … OMG!
I’m pretty sure Connie Bland and I never had a conversation. Had she stopped me in the hallowed halls of Jesse W. Grainger High School around 1964-65 or thereabouts and asked me the time of day, I doubt I could have managed an intelligible response.
Connie Bland was – and forever and ever will be – THE Blonde Bombshell of my youth – and pretty much for EVERY red-blooded teenage male contemporary of mine around Kinston / Lenoir County “back in the day”…
ASIDE: Did you have “a Connie Bland” in your high school? I hope (and bet) you did.
Think Pamela Anderson or Christie Brinkley or even Jayne Mansfield or even “Marilyn”.
Kinston – in the 60s – had more than its share of PDEWs – Pretty Down East Women (Girls) – as did Greenville, New Bern, Goldsboro, Rocky Mount, Ayden et al. It has been my special privilege to count many of them as dear friends for many many years.
They were cheerleaders and Homecoming Queens and girlfriends and prom dates and lab partners and … and … and … and then: …. There Was “Connie Bland”.
When our class was in charge of the Annual Sadie Hawkins Dance … “Daisy Mae” was, of course, who else but Connie Bland. I think they discontinued the event after that. Sean Connery IS “James Bond” … Clark Gable & Vivien Leigh ARE “Rhett & Scarlett” …….. Connie Bland IS/WAS “Daisy Mae”. PERIOD!
It was the custom back then that The Really Pretty Girls (and you and they all knew who they were) tended to “date up” … meaning boys 1-2-3 years older … “more mature” don’t cha know.
That being the case, a 15-16 year old Connie Bland probably dated freakin’ Marines from Cape Lejeune or maybe the minor league baseball players that came to town each summer …. several of whom had wives who looked like they had been “Connie Blands” from wherever they were from.
If KInston had had “a Fonzie”, Connie Bland woulda been on the back of his Harley fer sure.
STOP: I am NOT implying that Connie Bland was promiscuous. Not at all. Like I WOULD KNOW ?? Hellfire, I’m not sure what “promiscuous” in the 60s would have implied. …. Connie Bland in the mid 60s was simply a voluptuous Blonde Bombshell.
There is an old line about “dogs chasing cars … and not knowing what to do with one if it ever caught one”. Connie Bland would have been such a car.
If Connie Bland walked into the Parkview Superette or McClelland’s Ten Cent Store or Pharo’s Drive-In or … or … People Noticed! She bore The Curse of Being a Bombshell.
As regular BLS readers know, I’m a Reunion Guy. I’ve been to every one our class has held and enjoyed every one. I THINK Connie Bland only came to one …. about 15-20 years ago at The Kinston Country Club.
I recall it because all my buddies were running around whispering “OMG, Connie Bland is here … and she still looks like Connie Bland.” Indeed, she was and indeed she did.
That brief obit above did NOT include a picture … recent or otherwise. Perhaps her death was sudden … perhaps there is no family or close friends to handle such arrangements … perhaps Connie Bland – at 77 – was not quite “the Bombshell” she will forever be for so many of us. ????????
I have no clue how the past 60 years played out for Connie Bland. Did she find “Mr. Right” or were there a series of Mr Wrongs? Was she “June Cleaver” or “a trophy wife” … or Michelle Pfeiffer in Scarface? YIKES!
Was Connie Bland cursed to forever be “a Blonde Bombshell” until one day she overheard a cruel stage whisper … “They say she USED TO BE a Blonde Bombshell”.
Connie Bland is gone now. But obviously …. Not Forgotten.
You HAVE to read Scott Mariani’s “Ben Hope” series …
I avoid saying “BEST” whether its barbecue joints or Bond Girls or …. or books I’ve listened to. But I do not hesitate to recommend Really Good Ones when I discover them.
I just binged listening to the last eight of the 27 “Ben Hope” books by Scott Mariani. I had read the earlier ones over the past 4-5 years.
Since I listened to 120+ audible books each year, I can make pretty educated recommendations. That I binged eight books in a row by the same author featuring the same character should tell you something.
I like the modern action / adventure genre involving rogue Spec Ops guys wasting bad guys … Vince Flynn, Brad Thor, Jack Carr, Vince Milam, John Gilstrap, Mark Greaney, etc.
Scott Mariani is as solid as any of those esteemed authors … I read them all and they are all top-notch.
Mariani’s main character “Ben Hope” is a former British SAS spec ops legend. He and his buddies operate a tactical training center in Normandy (France) for HRT- Hostage Rescue Teams – SWAT – and Kidnap Recovery units.
The plots – especially the most recent 5-6 novels – are “ripped from today’s above-the-fold headlines”. Bond Villain Wannabees … NWO creeps … Illuminati … crooked politicians / bureaucrats … warlords … cartel bosses … psychopaths … all the usual sinister human garbage.
Mariani avoids revealing his socio-political bias but lets just say “Ben Hope” is a BobLee-kinda guy. He ain’t “woke”. A LOT of action and high body counts with perils aplenty for our hero and the innocent victims he travels the world to rescue … and to wreck vengeance on evil-doers.
Ben forever encounters femme fatales and she-commandos but explicit sexual stuff is minimal to none.
I ALWAYS recommend reading any series in chronological order as the characters develop from book to book. Ben’s old friends and comrades tend to show up at his side to add their special skills as needed.
Right now I would rank Scott Mariani – Vince Milam – Jack Carr – and John Gilstrap as MUST READ authors in the modern action / adventure genre.