The Woman / Glimpses

  1. Julie Fudge, Patsy’s firstborn daughter, barely knew her mother, but she and her grandmother, Hilda Hensley, were close. Hilda knew how much Patsy meant to her fans, and she would give each of the favored few one glove (of a pair) of the many long, elegant gloves that went with Patsy’s formal dresses. Those who received them have a memory that only Julie’s grandmother could bestow.

    Patsy had dozens of these gloves, for performances in 1962 at Carnegie Hall and Las Vegas. No longer attired in cowgirl outfits, Patsy wore dresses with gloves that matched the elegance of the cascading violins—not fiddles—of Sweet Dreams. Some of these unique gloves will be displayed during special events held at the Patsy Cline Historic House.

  2. Anyone who knew Phil Whitney knows how he would light up remembering a young girl pressing her face on the studio glass wall inside radio station WINC. It was Virginia Hensley (aka Ginny Hensley).

    Whitney managed the station, an ABC affiliate that broadcast only local programming on Saturday mornings. Whitney executed a plan to sell 15- or 30-minute blocks of time to local bands, who would sell advertising on the programs and promote their upcoming performances.

    Teen performer Jim McCoy noticed the girl as well and let Ginny Hensley sing.

  3. Virginia Patterson Hensley became Patsy Cline at the Moose Hall in Brunswick, Maryland. Bandleader Bill Peer had named her Patsy, after his daughter, in September 1952. Her last name changed in March 1953 when she married Gerald Cline.

    For the community of Brunswick, which required dance lessons as part of the high school curriculum, she was The Voice. But students had to stand outside the club to hear her. They were not allowed in a place that served liquor.

    In response, the club organized a separate teen dance without alcohol before the 9 p.m. show for adults. The teenage boys clamored to dance with the star they had heard but not seen. Patsy would arrive about 7 p.m. and take turns.

  4. Patsy loved movies. All her friends tell of this passion.

    One July, the Capital Theater in Winchester played Cecil B. DeMille’s Samson and Delilah. Doors opened at 12:45 p.m., and it ran continuously all day. Children under 12 were charged 35 cents and adults 65 cents for matinees, and $1 for evening shows.

    Angela Lansbury as “Semadar” got fourth billing. In the air-conditioned movie paradise, the 17-year-old Ginny Hensley was enthralled with the movie—so much so, that in August 1958, Patsy Cline and Dick gave her firstborn, daughter Julie, Simadore as her middle name.

  5. On Sunday, March 10, 1963, Winchester, Virginia came together to bury Patsy Cline. For that era, when Winchester was still a small town, this was a pretty big event. The police and local newspaper estimated the crowd at 10,000 to 15,000.

    Most actually never arrived at the 3 p.m. ceremony, because the two-lane roads into town were overwhelmed. From Winchester’s many houses of worship, folks at afternoon activities heard all the commotion and looked out the window and figured, “They must be burying Patsy Cline.”

    Former Winchester Mayor Claude Smalts said his profession, at the time, drew him into the middle of it all. A florist by trade, he handled requests for specially designed flower arrangements. He and his family stayed up all night to create guitars, musical notes, and assorted shapes requested by out-of-town fans. Thirty years later, Mr. Smalts and his wife were on a cruise ship and smiled to one another as the pianist played one of Patsy Cline’s songs.

  6. “Last week, we prepared lunch for and met with Douglas Gomery, a retired professor from the University of Maryland who is working on a book about Patsy’s life. He is sharing the proceeds from the sale of the book with our organization to go towards the restoration effort.

    We met at my mom’s house so he could glean more information of the spectacular news we had just discovered. While Patsy’s father worked for Colonel Sleeter at Hill High Orchard, Patsy attended Lincoln High School and took sewing in the old home economics school on the same property as the school. When Lincoln High School became Lincoln Elementary – my parents purchased the old home ec school and restored it as their home (this being my childhood home). We just not only learned that Patsy took sewing in what is now my mom’s bedroom, but that my husband’s father’s aunt was her teacher and my aunt was in class with her! All this time, my aunt didn’t realize that her classmate, Virginia ‘Ginny’ Hensley, was actually Patsy Cline.”

    — From Tracie Dillion, Former CPC Board Member