- More Tanyalee?
- Read "Small Wonder"
When Tanyalee Davis was six months old, her family ventured out on her grandfather’s 21-foot sailboat, which, instead of a keel, had a centerboard. Her grandfather had forgotten to put the centerboard down, so the first gust of wind that came up in the Gulf of Mexico flipped the craft over. “She was just a baby at the time, bobbing up and down in the water,” recalls her father. Continues Davis, “And I still remember being in the water, my little baby books floating next to me.”
In high school, Davis was driving the Pontiac Parisian she inherited from her grandparents. Modified with extended pedals and having been insured only the day before, the car took a downhill dip too quickly as she was leaving the school parking lot and caught its front on the street. The jolt caused her to mash on the gas, which in turn sent her into a double curb. She again was forced onto to the gas, and the car hit the gymnasium staircase. The car crumpled, breaking both axles. Davis cut her neck on the seat belt, but if she hadn’t been strapped in, she’s convinced she would have gone through the windshield.
In 1995, while Davis was dancing on the stage at a Vancouver nightclub, a fight broke out, pushing her off the side and into the sharp corner of a staircase. She lay on the ground in front of a speaker, unable to feel a thing, until she was taken via ambulance to the hospital, where she was diagnosed with a sprained neck and a concussion. Her forehead still retains the impact dent.
In October 2003 Davis was heading home at midnight after gigging at the Hollywood Improv. At the corner of La Brea, a driver making a left struck her, pushing her scooter beneath the car and Davis into the windshield. The momentum sent her flying when he hit the brakes. In all, she traveled about 40 yards and wound up with a fractured pelvis. Doctors didn’t think she would ever walk again, but she was onstage again (albeit with a cane) within six weeks. During her stay in the ER, she nearly OD’d on an adult dose of morphine. Every couple of minutes she’d sweat profusely and vomit. “And at one point I remember getting super hot and delirious, and then all of a sudden I was comfortable. I heard Marty yelling at me, and in my head I was like, ‘Shut the fuck up! I’m trying to sleep!’ But what was happening is I was having a seizure and he was trying to wake me up. It was just me and him in the room, and I think if he hadn’t been there, I probably would have slipped away.”