I am pleased to announce a new series of local blog posts here at the Plymouth-Canton Patch. It will be called Plymouth Proud, and it is the brainchild of Mr. Ken Garner. Ken has lived in Plymouth since 1946, and graduated from Plymouth High School in 1962. He went on to be a photographer for the Plymouth Observer in 1966, and shoots many of the photographs that appear in my blogs.
Our first Plymouth Proud post features Mr. Dennis Campbell. Dennis grew up in Plymouth, and is a 1958 graduate of Plymouth High School. Dennis lived at 424 Harvey Street, and remembered those days as a time when people didn't lock their doors, and everyone used to leave their keys in their car at night. I asked him about that, and he said that, "If there was an emergency, and someone didn't have access to a car, they would just take the neighbors car."
Dennis shared that his parents owned Campbell & Sons Electric, and were active with the Jaycees, with his older brother being a leader in the Michigan Jaycees. He also had another brother named Chris, and he was the bass guitarist for Bob Seger's Silver Bullet Band.
Dennis had parents that always encouraged him to participate in different groups, and he joined in many school projects, and after he finished his education, was an emcee for the Plymouth 4th of July parade for a number of years.
The best story Dennis shared with me, was the time he and a friend named Frank Phillips got together with Ken Garner, and hatched up an idea to get Duke Ellington to come and play at the Plymouth Cultural Center.
At the time, Dennis was a volunteer probation officer, and had a work crew doing some cleaning at the Plymouth Cultural Center. They were sitting around during a lunch break, and Dennis somehow started taking about how neat it would be to book a show at The Cultural Center. One thing led to another, and Duke Ellington's name came up.
Well old Dennis had an "in" with a promoter by way of the whole Seger thing, and they were actually able to secure Duke Ellington to play a show at the Plymouth Cultural Center on the July 4th weekend in 1973. Dennis got The Duke, and Ken Garner secured a piano from Salem High School, and the rest is history.
A funny story about the show itself was that a family was there, and they had a Portuguese exchange student with them. She was a huge fan of Duke Ellington, and they asked Dennis after the show if maybe he could get her an autograph. Dennis went backstage and asked, and Duke actually said to send her back.
Well Duke had a surprise for her, he actually started speaking to her in Portuguese, and this absolutely thrilled the young lady. It seems that Duke Ellington had a passion for languages, and Portuguese was one of them.
So anyway, Dennis now lives in Orlando, Florida with his long time wife Marcy, who he met in college. He meets every now and then with members of his motorcycle club for dinner, but says they drive cars to these things now days. I found Dennis to be a wealth of interesting information about Plymouth's rich history, and really enjoyed my conversation with him.
Dennis Campbell is definitely Plymouth Proud...
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