Published January 20, 2008
PORT ARTHUR, Texas – Janis Joplin's laugh still rings in the memory of a childhood friend.
At a gathering to dedicate a historic marker in front of one of the singer's childhood homes, Monteel Copple recalled her friend's laugh as they tried to keep their skirts in place while hanging upside down on the school's monkey bars.
"I can remember her giggle," Copple told those gathered Saturday for the dedication of the Texas State Historical Marker.
Saturday would have been Joplin's 65th birthday. She died of a drug overdose on Oct. 4, 1970.
Joplin rose to fame during San Francisco's 1967 "Summer of Love" with the band Big Brother and the Holding Company, gaining acclaim when she performed her version of blues singer Big Mama Thornton's "Ball and Chain" at the Monterey International Pop Festival. She later recorded such hits as "Piece of My Heart" and "Me and Bobby McGee."
Joplin was 4 when her family moved into the house that now has the marker. The family moved out in 1975. Her first childhood home was torn down in 1980.
Alicia and David Sanchez and their 8-year-old son now live in the house. As they helped pull a Texas flag off the marker, some people in the crowd shouted "We love you, Janis."
Fans still come by the house, said Alicia Sanchez, 48. When she moved into the house about 10 years ago, she didn't know anything about its former occupants.
"One day I just saw a TV crew out here shooting and I thought 'What's going on,"' she said. "I asked what they were doing and they told me that she (Joplin) used to live here. And then I started having people knock on my door asking to see my house."
She doesn't let strangers inside, but said she doesn't mind people taking pictures in the front yard.