“People are like stained glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.”
We have a celebrity angel among us. Her name is Tinker and she can be found at Cottage in the Meadow Hospice Care Center. Tinker breezes in to the Cottage a few times each week to keep her fingers limber playing the piano and singing. Her husband received hospice care before he passed away, and Tinker says she felt so blessed by that experience, that playing music for the residents at the Cottage is her way to give back.
To tell Tinker’s story, we need to step back to another time….another era. It was 1944, and 18 year old Tinker sang as part of a quartet at the University of North Texas. The satin smooth harmonies of the four vocalists soon won them a contest called “College Capers” that was sponsored by Interstate Theatres, which entitled the quartet to do a weekly radio show in Dallas, as well as a nine-week USO tour. Then the group got their big break in 1945 when a Billboard reporter heard the “Swingtet” as the girls called themselves, and he sent a record to Vaughn Monroe, who at that time was the leader of one of the most successful big bands in the nation. He promptly hired the girls, and in keeping with Monroe’s theme song “Racing with the Moon,” he changed their name to the “Moonmaids.”
Tinker sang with Vaughn Monroe until 1950, performing often at the Commodore Hotel in New York City. The band journeyed every day to different cities up and down the East Coast to perform. Tinker made 78 records with Vaughn, and was even in the movie “Carnegie Hall” in 1947 after only six months with the band.
“I have led a charmed life,” says Tinker. “I have had a wonderful time doing what I loved to do and getting paid for it!” In 1950, Tinker left the band to go back to college but met her husband, a Dr. Pepper executive, instead. They were married in 1951 and have two daughters.
After her husband passed away, Tinker moved to Yakima in 2009 to be near her children. And it seems that her life has come full circle. Sitting with her in the Cottage in the Meadow family room, Tinker shares her scrap books and photographs from the big band era, recalling in great detail her “charmed life,” humming tunes when she talks about a particular song title. Then, she makes her way to the piano to play and sing those songs, and her music floats through the air to soothe others who are at a distinct point in their life’s journey. And one has to wonder if they think, “I hear an angel among us.”
True beauty is revealed.
Leslie Whiteside, Grants Coordinator