Ten years ago, Eric and I heard the emerging singer/songwriter, Caroline Herring perform in an intimate and homey venue tucked away in Harvard Square. Saturday night we saw her sing in the same, small cafe. Her purely beautiful and haunting voice filled the room again, singing the songs of the downtrodden, with love and truth. In those elapsed years, many things changed. Children born, loved ones passed, friends made, stories told, but Caroline kept writing and singing. I remember sharing her album, Twilight with my mom. And then alone again with it, I wept for my loss.
But that isn't the end of the story. On that evening, as we were waiting to meet our friends* for a drink before the show, I saw Caroline walking towards us and turn to enter the venue. Suddenly I heard myself call out her name. She stopped and looked at me, and I sheepishly told her that I was just a fan, and that I had something for her. I planned to come to the show bearing a gift, not knowing if I would have the opportunity or the guts to give it to her. Onto a bookmark I had sketched a girl (a humble attempt of her likeness) with my script that said, Caroline makes music, and it makes us happy. So there I was fumbling through my bag trying to find my small token. The giant shoebox with my new red Keds slowed me down considerably, but she patiently waited while I searched, talking a mile a minute about how much I loved her music, how nice it was for her to stop and take a moment with me, and how I love to write about books, children, and life. And, would you please read my blog? She serenely smiled at me and said yes that she would. Then she opened up her bag, and what was it filled with? Children's books. I was overwhelmed, and if I hadn't already looked ridiculous enough, I asked to take her picture with her arms filled with her fresh purchases.
She carried, A Little Princess by F. H. Burnett, Crictor by T. Ungerer, one Beatrix Potter delight, and Roxaboxen by Alice McIrren.
* Our friends are actually personal friends of Caroline. She came by our table to greet them, and I was the awkward girl who had already personally accosted her outside on the street.