Singer Gloria Gaynor makes a shopping stop in Sulphur

Published 9:43 am Monday, December 5, 2022

Disco might be done; Gloria Gaynor is not. Best known for the enduring “I Will Survive,” the disco queen was in Sulphur Friday to do some shopping at the invitation of Brimstone Historical Society Board Member Howie Simon. The two have been friends for over 25 years, Gaynor said.

“When I found out she would be in Houston lighting the tree for the mayor, I asked her if she’d like to come for the festival – and the shopping,” Simon said, hinting that she’s into shopping, especially Christmas shopping.

The first gift she purchased was a baby bow covered with white sequins.

“Shiny and white, that’s my favorite,” she said, dressed in a shirt with a few shiny touches. Later on, she scored five rings of bling, showing subtle signs of a style influenced by mirror balls. But perhaps one of the best moments of the day was when she walked into a vendor tent and Gaynor’s “All I Want for Christmas is You,” was playing over the sound system and no, it wasn’t staged.

“I don’t have a budget, but everyday I pray that God will help me not waste money on me or anyone else. By that I mean, I pay attention. I make sure the gift is something the person wants or needs. If I see someone admiring something, picking it up and then turning around and putting it back, that’s exactly what they get for Christmas.”

Gaynor says she no longer buys gifts in an attempt to buy affection.

The Christmas gift she wants is “world peace.” When she realized the answer received a scoff, she said, “I’m just ready for us to learn we’re all family and we should treat each other like family and I mean a good family, a family that loves, looks out for and cares for each other.”

She recently lost her mother. She survived molestation as a child and a paralyzing accident that required her to wear a neck and back brace to record “I Will Survive.” She has misused alcohol and drugs and lost a sister after she was violently beaten when she tried to break up a fight. She’s had a serious spinal surgery – and she looks fantastic.

“I get asked how I do it quite a bit and now I have the answer. It’s Jeeezus,” she said, bending her head over and holding out fisted hands. In 1982, she had an experience that changed her, made her more inspiring to others.

“One night, we had about 20 friends over and all of a sudden I felt the Holy Spirit literally grab me by the collar, stand me on my feet and say, ‘that’s enough.’”

Her first gospel album was titled, “We Will Survive.” Her latest is “Testimony.” She co-writes the lyrics, lyrics that may or may not have all the staying power of “I Will Survive,” but certainly point to what powers her.

Gaynor, a Newark New Jersey native’s plans for dinner were a bowl of gumbo and a corndog. She will fly to Paris to perform next week and enjoy Christmas at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, home until her new Newark house is completed.

Holiday House opens Saturday, Dec. 1 at 10 a.m. It’s a vendor shopping experience for food, art, jellies, socks, tees, candles, baked goods, honey, free-dried candy, tea towels, children’s books and more, and part of Christmas Under the Oaks at Heritage Square, Sulphur. The Kiwanis Parade starts at 11 a.m. At noon the carnival opens. Entertainment is free, and at 8:30 p.m., enjoy 100 percent chance of snow.