Abbie’s Blog

The Flag that Never Flies

 

THE ONLY FLAG THAT DOESN'T FLY
Between the fields where the flag is planted, there are 9+ miles of flower fields that go all the way to the ocean. The flowers are grown by seed companies. It's a beautiful place, close to Vandenberg AFB. Check out the dimensions of the flag. The Floral Flag is 740 feet long and 390 feet wide and maintains the proper Flag dimensions, as described in Executive Order #10834. This Flag is 6.65 acres and is the first Floral Flag to be planted with 5 pointed Stars, comprised of White Larkspur. Each Star is 24 feet in diameter; each Stripe is 30 feet wide. This Flag is estimated to contain more than 400,000 Larkspur plants, with 4-5 flower stems each, for a total of more than 2 million flowers. For our SOLDIERS.

 

 

 

 

 

March 30, 2012

 I’ve been trying to get a piece of this puzzle to fit and could not. Did not actually know what I was looking for. Suddenly I asked for someone to relay a message to Wayne Casasanta, if he would write me. He did and sent one picture, of the Toy Factory in Ft. Walton Beach, Fla, 1970, Doug,George McCorkle. Tommy, Toy, and Wayne, and Ronnie Edwards. This group was the Toy Factory. I remembered the night in our kitchen that Toy was asking about a singer, and Tommy said, I know someone with a PA system. –and he can sing. Hot Damn, a PA system, something far beyond the grasp of the Caldwell brothers. Until that night, Toy had not heard of Doug. Because of a PA system, Doug was added to the already established Toy Factory! There were other groups before, that I am not familiar with. But the Toy Factory that Tommy was in before joining the Marines, rather than be drafted. This was the band that all had so much fun, traveling on short trips, 13hour trips in hot cars. Simple to the point facts. But no where have I read them. Wayne Casasanta, Ron Edwards how did this happen? I have no idea. I will write more, but had to get this out tonight. Thrilled to be in touch with you again, after all these years! what great memories.Long overdue- the piece of the puzzle fits. Now things should flow even more smoothly.

-Ab

 

March 28, 2012

My brother in law Tim Caldwell, Sept 18,1955—March 28,1980. You were a big part of my life, we shared laughter. I think of you often. your kindness and your friendship.  You- my friend.

  ~ Ab

March 26, 2012

I wanted to thank Wayne Casasanta for answering my request to contact me.He provided some photos,, and jogged my memory, of that time. I will be writing more about the Toy Factory. ,  got to get the years pulled together. There is so much nonsense on the internet, leaving musicians, forgotten.  They were part of the many versions of Toy Factory and are part of the history.  I also remember the night, Tommy and Toy were trying to come up with a singer, since we were married, it must have been 1969.  I remember the conversation and the selling point! Tommy named someone Toy did not know. Wayne I appreciate the fact you took the time to write me.
I am not a sports fan, but I was thrilled  Busch Beer, thought Can’t You See was the perfect song. You cannot mistake Toy’s guitar licks and Jerry’s flute for anyone else’s. Proud the song is recognized from so many years ago..here’s to you, Toy and Jerry.
More soon, Ab.

March 24, 2012

 First thing I want to address tonight, is a rumor that will not die.  I am sick of it.  Toy never had a guitar stolen.  At a concert, many years ago, a fan ran on stage, grabbed one of Toy's guitars and ran as fast as he could, to a van!  Got in it and started playing as loud as he could.  Of course it did not take long to find hi,.  The guy had a goal and he completed it.  To us that much energy to grab that guitar and go such a short distance, and play as loud as he could!  That guitar was "stolen" and I use that word loosely, for no more than 15 minutes.  Wherever you are, I hope that night was a night to remember if your young life! You sure put a smile on Toy's face.

Due to the overwhelming response to this site, I found it necessary to hire someone, to take a bit of the burden off. I’m thrilled it was needed.! thanks to all of you. He is my friend Tyler Hoover. David and he will work together. There are many stories about Toy and friends that I want to share. David is updating the site now, and I can concentrate on what I enjoy doing. Writing. David will be introducing you all to Tyler, when those two are ready.

Welcome Tyler !

Last week I received an email called  “Bunk Quilt”. My old friend Robin’s mother had made this amazing quilt. It opened up into pages, not sure what you call that. The song behind it is Ab’s Song. Immediately, I went back to the day  Toy walked into the living room, with his guitar attached to himself and said “Ab, listen to this”. He sang a song and was out of there. I didn’t think much about it, until I heard “Ab’s Song”, on the first album.  I was sitting in the living room, on a bright sunny day, and he walked in. I can picture it like yesterday. The beautiful quilt brought  a wonderful memory to mind that second. This was the first and last time Toy ever sang that song to me directly, ever!

I hope it is put on Toy’s website, I have not shared it with anyone. I did ask him. Since, it is not my decision to make I’ll respect his. Thank you for sharing Robin.

Sincerely, Ab

Happy New Years!

We have some new Toy Caldwell shirts. I hope you enjoy!

Happy 2012 from the RabbitHole Consulting Team!

Dec 16, 2011

Toy and Ab's Christmas Tree, 1979

To be able to give a voice to Toy, Tommy, as well as George has been my focus for so many years, to actually become a reality for me, with all of your support, is beyond me expectations.  The website is for fans, friends, and myself.  To provide information, the history, the truth and it will continue.  David has done such a great job.  I want him to spend some time with his family over the holidays.  The website will be a place I hope you will always return to.

Many of you have expressed concern about my well being, or wanting to meet me, or vacation because you are worries that I am lonely.  Let me take this opportunity to assure you I lead a full life with many interests.  I was pushed into the limelight, a very uncomfortable place for me.  I've never been an attention seeker, this is not a social network, it will continue to be in honor of Toy.  I am the person providing information.  I've turned down radio interviews, TV interviews, so this is nothing personal, it is who I am.  Toy was the talent, I have memories of us together to last me the rest of my life.  He was the best thing to ever happen to me. He would be humbled by all the responses this website has received.
I do appreciate your concern, and love to get your emails, even surprise gifts-you all know who you are.  Rest assured I am in the best place I have been for many years.  At this moment, I feel a bit overwhelmed by all the love and kindness you have taken the time to show me.  I am blessed.

See you in the New Year, with items ready to post.  I look forward to it!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Much love and kind thoughts to all.

- Abbie

Sid

Sid, a long time from of Toy's and mine. This was taken in our house on Allison Dr. early 70's.  Sid will be missed, but leaves a wealth of great memories behind.  I hope family and friends take comfort in those memories.

Love, Abbie

Caldwell Widow Expresses Gratitude to Many

“Someone forwarded me a picture of Doug in a military uniform. Fantastic. After all these years, now if you will take just a second and tell those who keep calling you a “hero”, for your service in VN, the mystery would be solved. A person in an uniform, does not a hero make. The fact is, Doug, you started all of this by giving different dates you served, you returned, but not once stating where and when you were stationed in Vietnam. “

Show respect for the true Veterans who have served all these years, and continue to, and those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. The veterans who allow us to live in a free country .

Please God bless you all and bring you home safely soon. We are so proud and grateful to you all.

Sincerely,

Abbie

NOV 8, 2011
With Veteran’s Day closely approaching, a disgusting feeling comes over me, and not for the first time.  I first felt this feeling after 9/11, and read a huge page Doug had written about serving his country.  Service in Vietnam, and “everyone should serve their country.”  He did.  Really?  Eleven years, after this I have read or listened to his interviews, that he controls.  After he returned from Vietnam, with Toy, Tommy in the 70’s, they started the band.  Also someone asked where he got his college education, he replied in Vietnam, in 1968.

Yes, for those who in the past, those “anonymous” posters who say memories fade.   Yes, they do, from my experience, a veteran does not talk about their service in Vietnam, they will roll off when and where they were stationed. For Doug to use a tragedy, and he does so many times, to pound his chest and say what others should do, is unforgivable.

I have said this repeatedly, Toy was in Vietnam, Marines, 1966-1968.  Tommy enlisted in 1970, got a medical discharge after completing boot camp.  I know George was in the Navy and got home about the time Toy did.  I know this.  In 1968, Doug was in Dorman High School.  Grab that tragedy and run with it.  I am sick of reading what a hero Doug is.  I could be wrong, but he has never answered when and where he was stationed in Vietnam.  What branch?  It infuriates me to see Doug be called a hero since he has told people he was a Sgt

After this tragedy, Mike Gallagher, who I had no clue about, contacted me about doing an anti- Dixie Chick benefit in Spartanburg, due to some comments the Dixie Chicks made.  I asked Mike Gallagher to provide me of Doug’s service record - which I have yet to receive.  They continued with the tour. never giving me any info.

I still receive emails with people looking....

All the while, I saw Gallagher and his army, everywhere.  If there was a camera, Gallagher was there.  A video, of them on the road, every place they went, Gallagher surrounded by posters of himself.

Here are some excerpts taken from an article by James Shannon, CAN’T YOU SEE
“roadblocks in Spartanburg sectioned off, were for the first night of “Music on Main St”,

“a bystander called them the “partial-Tucker Band.”  For all practical purposes, a Marshall Tucker cover band.  By virtue of the presence of Doug Gray.”

“The late Toy Caldwell defined the Marshall Tucker sound, and even sang lead on many of the hits.  It is not a knock on this band, to say there is no Toy Caldwell in the bunch, because his singular gifts were rare in deed.  Doug Gray’s voice has deteriorated to the point that calling this band the Marshall Tucker is a disservice to the name....if you ever saw the original band in it’s prime, it is a sad experience to witness this band”

The Dixie Chicks packed Bilo.

I knew Doug would mention Toy and make a video of Can’t You See, even though it had to be approved by me.  In the meantime still waiting on Doug’s service records.  While Gallagher stood on stage “Tonight stands for taking back America”...during his many commercials, he surrounded himself with huge posters of himself.

When Gallagher found out that I said “no” to the video, he first emailed me to ask me to reconsider, over and over.  I told him that I never received any service records regarding Doug.  After many email exchanges, he finally ended them by telling me what a terrible person I was - that I was taking food out of the mouths of the military and their families.  He never wanted to speak to me again.

I made a personal donation on my own, to a legitimate charity.

I am so proud of the true heroes, and will honor them, everyday, but that day is for the true veterans.  Not those who I still question.  And I very much question, as for Gallagher, glad goodness you will never speak to me.  That made my day.

Doug, how about taking a minute to provide your service records - otherwise, you continue to spit in the face of all veterans.

- Ab

“Christmas Day 1999. The MTB website with various band members.
“Anonymous” wrote she has a son by Toy.  2nd “anonymous”knows this is true”    “3 rd “anonymous” says Toy said he could not wait to divorce Abbie, as soon as he got back home, he was going to”. naturally, another anonymous “knew it was true because she was there and heard him say it”. When someone (could be a different year) wrote in with a question, “ Who is your sister?  always, anonymous chimed in with. “ Doug does not like talking about personal things.”  Fake names or maybe anonymous chimed in “That is Abbie she is jealous of Doug”.

 

I’ve known Doug Gray since high school, our parents worked together.  It was Christmas Day, and the message board  lit up with attacks on me.  I’ve never hidden behind a fake name, never will.  When asked “Couldn’t Doug speak for himself”~~Doug is too busy to answer these”.
After 15 years, thinking I would never have  a place to speak I do now. Speak I will.  All the years, I talked to his parents, who were extremely wonderful, they talked about Doug, their only child.  I know from one of his long gone best singers, they talked about Toy, told funny stories.  Could not in front of Doug. Told not to mention his name. There is more of this, and I will get to every bit of it.
 It is easy to talk about those who cannot speak for themselves, very cowardly, I can and will.
Never too busy to answer loyal fans.

 

~Love,

 

Ab
A book, I highly recommend is SOUTHERN ROCKERS by Marley Brant.   It is an excellent book and she has written several.   She does fact check.   Also, she was the only one who let me comment many  years ago.   Thank you Marley.
The book that is not based on fact is Carolina Dreams by Michael Smith.   So much is floating on all the websites, that came from this.   My review is still on Amazon.   Smith knows exactly how I feel and why, even though he will whine that he does not know why “Abbie is mad”.   Lying to my face, writing about things that had no basis, and I told him they were not fact.   He assured me they were removed.   He lied.   All those years I was shut out by the “boys club”.   He apparently became the authority on MTB.   Every single page in this book has at least one lie in it.   Yes, I thanked him for writing about Toy after his death in a local paper-can’t recall the name, at the same time he was also writing about the “Doug and Jerry “ show- making fun of it.   However, I am not mad, I simply  do not like anything written that cannot be backed up by facts.   Especially when the person is not here to speak for themselves.   I can speak for them.
> A thank you to Hittin’ The Note, for allowing me to correct “Toy Story” written by Smith.

♥ Ab

August 11, 2011
Charlie Daniel's Band was playing in Rock Hill. My neighbor and friend wanted to  hear Charlie live and meet Taz. The CDB family has always been a huge part of my life and Toy’s. Pat was, as always, kind enough to get Tyler and a friend in for the concert. A few hours later I got a text, that he had been talking to Taz. A huge smile came over my face. Perfect! of course Taz was the first to greet him. I have the CD Taz sent me on my desk, and recall what he told Tyler “ I’ve been with Charlie longer than Charlie has been with Charlie”. I absolutely loved that. I am grateful I knew him and my heart goes out to all of those who worked with him for so many years. Pat and Charlie I love you. Love to Taz’ family. He will be missed.But what wonderful memories he leaves behind.
I am thrilled Tyler got to meet two special friends of mine, including all the CDB family.
My deepest sympathy to all of you.
Sincerely and with much love,
Abbie Caldwell