Mary Travers: May Your Voice Still Be Heard, Blowin’ In The Wind
I start off this post lovingly with a joke about Peter, Paul and Mary that I remember from my youth.
One of the stand up comics, during the time of my teenage years, use to refer to the fact that when he heard the name Peter, Paul and Mary, he thought it was” two Franciscans and a Nun.”
For me as one of those idealistic “children of the sixties”, PP&M and their music were an integral part of the idealism of the 60’s and Mary Travers’s voice in solo, or joined with Peter and Paul, bring flashes of that time gone, that time we were to change the world for the better, a time of peace and goodwill.
I first saw PP&M in the Fall of 1964. They were performing a concert in support of LBJ at the University of Kentucky. At the time I was a freshman at a nearby small college and sort of tagged along, not interested in the politics but the music.
I still hear Mary’s voice ringing crystal clear across the audience and remember the chills it brought to my body, soul and mind.
Over the years I collected the album’s, watched the many PBS appearances, especially during the fund drives, taped their Christmas music specials and drifted off into memories that brought joy to my aging spirit.
The next time I got to hear and see Peter, Paul and Mary will always be another high point in my life.
30 years later, I came home from work and my life partner Bob, told me to clean up, get dressed and we were heading to Cleveland for dinner.
I didn’t think much about it, and as I drove the short miles to Cleveland he started to give me directions to our destination.
We soon found ourselves around “Playhouse Square” and found a parking spot. He wist me off out of the car and away we went but not to a restaurant. As we approached the theater he had me close my eyes so I wouldn’t see any promotions, pictures or billboards.
We went in side, and up the stairs to the balcony I stumbled with Bob leading the way.
Soon I was told to open my eyes. Our seats were in the center of the balcony and in the very first row. Wow was my exclamation.
I noticed that many of the audience members were my age and several had brought along what looked like grandchildren.
There on the stage was a three pronged mic stand, two acoustic guitars and a big bass off to the left of center. I turned to question Bob as to who and what, when in came the trio of my youth.
For the next several hours I, along with the majority of audience members, were in tears of joy, laughter and memories. Whether they sat singing along, humming along or just dreaming along, the room was filled with a special warmth.
Speed forward about three years. Again Bob and I got to experience the folk style of PP&M with a Summer concert at Blossom Music Center, in the Valley, outside Akron Ohio. It was another night of joy and memories but under the stars.
My last memories of Peter, Paul and Mary will still be musical but it does come full circle for me and was with politics.
At the LBJ concert I was there because of the music but 40 years later, as an elected Delegate-Alternate to the 2004 Democrat National Convention, I was there because of the politics and the music of PP&M, who performed and supported John Kerry, made that even more than special.
The photo’s in this post were taken by myself as the trio practiced early in the evening before the opening gavel.
As I sat listening to them “warm up” I was transported to my youth and all those years in between. For the majority of my life Peter, Paul and Mary have been there in song, action and spirit.
With yesterday’s passing of Mary Travers another voice has been added to God’s celestial choir and maybe if we listen closely we’ll hear it “Blowin’ in the Wind.”