I’ve been cleaning out closets lately, sifting through a lot of things, not stopping too long on any one, trusting my initial instinct to let go of or to save. But tonight I got to a big gray envelope from a music store in New York City that no longer exists, and in it were housed papers from my college days – recital programs, transcripts, various notes from my roommates. But also among these artifacts from the 80’s was a handmade autograph book from a performing arts program I attended in the summer of ’79 when I was fourteen.
I looked at all the complimentary parting words from my cast mates from various shows, our youthful exuberance, and our confidence that future success was a certainty. I wondered if any of the names had become household ones as I tried to recall the faces that went with them.
None jumped out at me. I could remember some of the faces, but mostly of our instructors. I got to one page and immediately remembered ballet class. (I know, I know, you’re imagining the visual that accompanies me in ballet class. Stop laughing.)
On another page, I read, “I’m glad that we will keep in touch.” And because once in a while that kind of statement is actually true, I’ll tell you I’m having dinner with her on Thursday, and we have remained close friends over many miles and years and life paths.
And of course, there was, “I’m glad you are also a pirate.” That’s the kind of thing you just don’t hear often enough these days. Funny thing is I don’t remember actually being a pirate…which, clearly, I was. These are the times I both wish I had some sort of pictorial documentation to jog my memory…and am simultaneously thrilled that I don’t.
But the thing I remember most about that summer is it was the first time I played and sang my songs publicly. And though I have no doubt that they were heartfelt, angst-ridden, and probably dreadful, they moved people, even at fourteen. And knowing that what emanated from my heart and soul could move people, altered the course of my life.
The last note in my little handmade autograph book was three sentences. It read: “Your music is beautiful. Please continue your songwriting. Best wishes for a career.”
It made me laugh out loud. It was definitely to the point. And only now could I both fully appreciate and be amused by the “Best wishes for a career” line. So I googled the guy who wrote it.
I wondered what kind of career he’d had. It turns out he has sort of a common name. And though there were many listed, I only found one in show business – the guy who produced Field of Dreams and the Die Hard movies. Nah, couldn’t be him, I thought. Could it? I have no idea, but because I’m still a believer, I’ll go with maybe it is him. Besides, the one picture I found on IMDB did kind of bear a resemblance to what I remember him looking like, albeit having aged 30+ years.
As for me, I’m still writing songs, although I do think we can safely say that my pirate days are over.
Thanks for stopping by. Please tell your friends. And oh yeah, “Best wishes for a career” – whatever your biggest dream for one may happen to be.