We were in love with the Jackson Five.
Their posters and pictures were taped on our bedroom walls.
My oldest sister loved Jackie.
I loved Jermaine.
My little sister loved Michael and one cousin loved Marlon (sorry Tito none of us was your age).
My other two cousins loved the whole group.
We were loyal fans who:
...read everything we could find about them
...zipped the dial on our transistor radios to find their songs
...called each other if they were going to be on TV
...watched their cartoon
...saved money for their albums
During a Christmas break sleepover at our house, we had a great idea.
We would become the girl's version of the Jackson Five.
The first thing we did was name the group "The GMP's".
It stood for the initials of our last names: Gilmore, Martin, Prince.
We practiced their dance moves in our basement.
When we got good, we added formations.
The one thing we could never master was the vocals, but that was all right.
It was the early seventies and we pantomimed like nobody's business.
My oldest sister was in charge of getting us an audition with Motown Records.
Once we became big stars we would move all three families to Los Angeles and live life in the sunshine.
Our compound would be surrounded by a tall brick fence shaped like a peace sign (just enough space inside for three houses).
Of course we'd have gates in the fence so we could visit each other.
And, we'd live that way, making music, until the Jackson Five came to their senses and married us.
Over time, due to "artistic differences", the dynamics of our group changed.
The "G's" went their separate way.
We became the "Four PM's" (So much for the peace sign).
Well, after what seemed like months of practice our big break came.
We had a gig!
It was our Aunt Luzia's birthday.
With the family gathered around, we froze into formation in her dining room.
"Okay ya'll, remember to spread out so we don't bump into each other."
Then, the room was silent until we heard the scratchy sound of the needle on vinyl.
'Stop nah nah nah, you'd better save it!
Stop, stop stop, you'd better save i-it. Whooo!'
And just like that, we were a hit in our families eyes.
The Jackson Five became J5, Michael went solo and life went on.
We graduated, started our careers and priorities shifted.
We fell in love and some of us got married (not to any of the Jacksons).
We are teachers, administrators, musicians, deputies, and wonderful mothers.
And we still have a soft spot in our hearts for the Jackson Five.