Tag Archive | Satellite Of Love

Helen Wheals, business manager

If Sandy is the father figure for the band, Helen is the mother. She works in the back office doing business management. Among her duties, she pays bills on the bands’ and their girlfriends’/wives’ individual lines of credit. Because she handles the money, she has a unique perspective on what is happening in their lives. She knew Marc’s first wife, Desiree was cheating on him before Marc did, but of course, Marc wouldn’t listen to her. Helen shares information with Tessa when she feels that a legal perspective is needed, but views Tessa as one of her charges.

Helen’s name comes from a Wings song. I am a little sad that she doesn’t get more screen time (page time?) but that is her character. She likes to work in the background and see her charges happy rather than stand in the spotlight herself.


Writing What You Know


“Fucking cut it out,” Michael bellowed yanking Marc’s hand off Jack’s shirt with a tearing sound. Marc still clutched a scrap of material in his grasp and Jack backed against the wall gasping.

“Like your shit doesn’t stink.” Jason reached across the group, giving Marc a shove.

Marc turned his attention to Jason. “Listen, you whiny bastard.”

“Alright everyone, let’s calm down.” Maureen stepped into the middle of the group. Another thing different about recess. Those combatants couldn’t keep arguing over her head.

Many moons ago, when I was student teaching in an eleventh grade, low functioning class, two of my students got into a fight. Instinctively, I knew the best way to defuse the situation was to step between them. Then I realized that with one at five foot nine and the other approaching six feet, they could not only continue the argument over my head, they could outreach me leaving me in serious danger. There was a split second there while this sunk in that lasted about twelve years. I can vividly remember the shorter boy’s throat and the taller boy’s black t-shirt because that’s where my eye level was.

Then a miracle happened. The 22-year-old ex-con, who had been arrested before he graduated and was therefore allowed to finish after his release, grabbed the taller boy and dragged him into the hall for a stern talking to. I don’t know what he said, but neither of those boys was ever a problem for me again. And the ex-con? One of the best students I have ever had.

And people wonder why I don’t teach high school.

Sandy, manager

Sandy started out as Jason and Brian’s business math teacher in high school, but he could see that if somebody didn’t take care of them, the boys would be eaten alive. The previous year Sandy’s wife a finally succumbed to ovarian cancer after a long battle. He had no interest in trying to date, but needed a project. Jason was in desperate need of a father figure and Jason’s mother was thrilled to see so reliable a man taking interest in her son. Brian and Bear’s parents were just happy to see that the boys had a chaperone.

As the boys got closer to graduation, things really started to take off for them and Sandy decided to retire from teaching to be their manager. He had no clue what he was doing, but he had some expert help thanks to connections Candy made very early.

Sandy has never shaken off the authority he had when the boys were younger. He started out as their teacher and The Adult. Even now that the boys are settling down into middle age, he’s still their father figure, ready to dispense advice whether they want it or not. Because of Sandy’s strong and reliable influence, the boys have not had the problems other band have fallen victim to.

Video Friday

Uncle Cracker covered this song, but I have always felt that the Dobie Gray original is far superior. While it doesn’t have anything directly to do with Satellite of Love, it is responsible in a way for the entire series because this is how I have always felt about music. I don’t want Calgon to take me away because music does the job so much better.

Interestingly, legend has it that the song was offered to Elvis, but when he hear the Dobie Gray recording he turned it down because he didn’t think he could do a better version. Elvis, people.

The Origin Of the Title

“Satellite of Love” is the title of a song by Lou Reed. I had wanted Bear to be a hobby mechanic who collected muscle cars and I wanted him to be working on one. I thought about having him collect Mustangs or something more common, but it seemed to me that Bear would want something a little more challenging and unusual so the Plymouth Satellite was recommended to me as a not too common muscle car. So I researched it and settled on the 1972 model because I felt it had the coolest front end. What do you know, the song was released in 1972. Kismet!

I happen to also be a huge fan of the show Adam 12. Turns out that during the third season the patrol car was a 1971 Plymouth Satellite. So close.

That arrangement of words as they related to the story also had a certain snotty humor that I so enjoy. With all that going for it what could I do, but name the book “Satellite Of Love”?

The Satellite’s Battery


“The Satellite is still in my garage,” she said when he allowed her to speak.

“The car?”

“Yes, silly. You said you wanted to store it at my house. I’ve been going out and starting it up every couple of days so the battery doesn’t die.” To be honest, she went out to sit in the car to remind herself that she wasn’t crazy. He did exist and she hadn’t made him up. For some reason, the telephone conversations weren’t as reassuring as sitting in his car, parked in her garage, listening to the engine purr.

When I was five months old my father had a heart attack while shoveling snow two days before Christmas. As my brother tells it, he (my brother) was watching the Peanuts Christmas Special in the living room when the sound of the shovel stopped so he looked outside. Dad was in a heap on the sidewalk.

This was the 70’s so Dad was in the hospital for weeks. My mom was stuck at house with two small children and an infant wondering if her husband was coming home. It’s kind of a family joke that she started the car every day to keep the battery from dying and it died anyway because she didn’t realize she had to drive it around. (And really, would you leave your 5-month-old alone with your 9-year-old and your 7-year-old to even drive around the block when your husband was in the hospital?)

Until I wrote this scene I hadn’t thought too deeply about how my mom must have felt sitting in that car listening to the engine run. My parents were both going to college around jobs and family at a university about half an hour away. Mom has always said that she only went to college because it was the only way she ever got to see my father between his full time job at the steel mill and school so most of their conversations early in their marriage took place to the soundtrack of the car engine and the radio. During those very dark days, the sound of the engine must have been a great comfort to her. I can only hope it comforted her as much as the purr of the Satellite comforted Maureen.