Below is an excerpt of an article that originally appeared in RS 294 from June 28, 1979. This issue and the rest of the Rolling Stone archives are available via Rolling Stone Plus, Rolling Stone's premium subscription plan. If you are already a subscriber, you can click here to see the full story. Not a member? Click here to learn more about Rolling Stone Plus.
Deborah Harry's mother loves to tell the story of her daughter's singing debut. It seems that Debbie's sixth-grade class in Hawthorne, New Jersey, once staged a ''Tom Thumb'' wedding. ''One kid would be the groom, one the bride and one the bridesmaid. Debbie sang the solo at the end; she sang 'I Love You Truly' all by herself!''
Richard and Catherine Harry run a gift shop called Around the House in Cooperstown, New York, a sleepy little burg best known as the home of the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Harrys are a tightknit family. ''The only Christmas she wasn't here was the time she was on tour in Australia,'' says Mrs. Harry of Debbie. ''She was so depressed, and I was so depressed. She said, 'I'll never be away for Christmas again.' Debbie's a wonderful daughter.''
When Mrs. Harry — or Cag, as she prefers to be called — is asked if Debbie was popular with the boys, she erupts with laughter. ''Are you kidding'' she asks. Mama tells about the time Debbie was approached to enter the high-school beauty pageant: ''She didn't particularly want to go in; they called her in. And she asked me, 'What do you think?' And I said, 'I think it's ridiculous.' Her remark was, 'I have no talent. All I can do is twirl a baton.'
''She was always beautiful,'' Cag Harry says with pride. ''When she was a baby, my friends used to tell me I should send her picture in to Gerber's, because she would be picked as one of the Gerber babies.
''But I didn't send it in,'' she adds solemnly. ''I didn't believe in her being exploited.''
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