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I am about to make a statement that I have never before made: Billy Joel’s wife once sat on my couch.

Don’t get the wrong idea. I don’t mean Christie Brinkley once deposited her derriere on my Davenport. I mean the FUTURE Mrs. Billy Joel.

What? You haven’t heard the story? It seems that everybody’s favorite “Piano Man” met and fell in love with Katie Lee, a lovely and talented young woman from right here in the town formerly known as Holderby’s Landing. Of course, I refer to Huntington.

There was a whirlwind courting process where the two spent some quality time with Billy’s good buddies Steve Martin, Martin Short, and other people who
probably don’t even have a “Martin” in their name, and the next thing you know her finger is adorned with a rock so big it would be a drowning hazard if she ever wore
it in a pool.

This really doesn’t come as a surprise to those of us who know Katie…or those of us who barely know her but will use this incident as an excuse to claim to know her better than we really do in some pathetic attempt to build ourselves up. But you know me – if there’s a chance to go the pathetic route I jump on it.

What is true is the fact that Katie and my oldest son Justin were good friends in days gone by, a friendship forged at Huntington Outdoor Theatre. The mists of time obscure the details (either he was helping her study for an English test or she was helping him study for Home Economics) but Katie has been a visitor here at McElroy Manor and, for that reason, I can safely say that her seat has been secured safely on my sofa. Man, this alliteration stuff is a breeze.

Now, it’s very true that many people can make a
similar claim of friendship, seeing as Katie was a very popular and well-liked young woman, but I’m the only one with a Huntington Quarterly column, so I win.

Don’t worry though. I shall use my power for good, not evil. After all, I could have made up a huge story of a blistering romance between Justin and Katie, and fabricated some heart-wrenching scene where he took her to the airport and just before she boarded the plane for New York, he said something like, “Here’s looking at you, kid.” Cue the fog machine. Cue the orchestra to play “As Time Goes By.” Roll credits.

But no. No such luck. No big romance. Just a friendship. Knowing Justin, he wouldn’t take advantage of a friendship like that anyway. Of course, I would. Remember? The whole “pathetic” thing?

If Katie decides to invite Justin to the big wedding, I’ll make sure he brings the best blender available as a gift. Also, if Billy feels uncomfortable asking any of his musician buddies to sing at his wedding, I’m available. Think about it. No worry about your wedding singer out-doing the groom! I won’t even do cover versions of any of his songs.

On the other hand, if he wanted to return the favor, my 27th wedding anniversary is coming up October 15th. How cool would it be to have Billy Joel sing “Just the Way You Are” at my anniversary party…since it’s a song Leslie and I used to make-out to?

This is an idea I’m sure the entire city can get behind, Bill. I can see a major effort to convince you to come here to Huntington and sing at my party. We’ll change the name of “Pullman Square” to “Piano Man Square.” We don’t have a “52nd Street,” but we have a 26th Street we can name after you, and that’s half as good.

Now Bill, I know these are pretty convincing arguments, but I don’t want you to feel any pressure. You probably have other things more pressing than singing at my anniversary party. Did I mention that I have a horrible disease and have less than a year to live?

Well, whether or not Justin and his blender get invited to the wedding, or I get the reception singer gig, or Billy shows up at my 27th anniversary party, I want to wish Katie and Billy the best of luck. No matter how famous you are, or how much money you have, finding the great love of your life is the most rewarding pursuit there is. I just hope you two crazy kids are as happy as Leslie and I have been for the last 27 years.

(My wife just looked over my shoulder, read the last line and said: “You know he’s not going to fall for that, right?”)
Hey, it was worth a shot.


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