Mentor

judy blue eyes.... I once heard her talk about angels which she collects for her apartment in New York. Angels in the world around us... angels, in her life. Angels of sight, sound and spirit. Then she narrated "The Angel Book." It is clear-that's what she is to me, an angel, of spirit, intelligence, beauty, talent, and humanity.

We don't get many of these walking around on earth who are as easily defined by what they do, and who they are. And, this one has been hovering around my life, and music, for over two and one half decades. How lucky I am.

Judy Collins came into my life one snowing winter, in l969, when I was a lonely teenager, struggling with life and with myself. I remember listening to "Who Knows Where The Time Goes," till it was literally worn out, and the vinyl wouldn't play audibly anymore! My Parents became fans too, part for survival and mostly from recognizing a stellar talent and stellar message.

I wrote to Judy the first time, (she may even remember this, she is wonderful that way), in l972, or '73, telling her that I wanted, to be a singer, when I "grew up." I wrote to other stars that year as well. No one bothered to respond, but Judy Collins. I can see that letter, and picture that accompanied it, like it happened last week, "get as much exposure as possible, and remember I too, traveled a rough road of clubs and coffee houses...and I wish you all the very best, and whatever you do, if you want to sing, don't ever give up, or let life, or anyone talk you out of it!" At that time, all her records were going gold, platinum, silver, you name it, she was a very big star, and didn't need to answer anyone.

Her kindness just re-enforced the instinct I had, that anyone who sang with the warmth, honesty, and love that she did, had to be TRUE to her message, as she was true to her art.

I stayed in touch off and on, through the years, and followed Judy as she grew and transposed her life, and art, for each changing decade and era. "Send In The Clowns," was a milestone record, of amazing beauty and sensitivity, as only Judy could surprise us with. Her first autobiography, "Trust your Heart," was filled with resounding honesty, and more recently, "Singing Lessons," chronicled her journey through the gut-wrenching sorrow of loosing her beloved Clark, her only child, to suicide, and afterwards, throwing herself back into her work, with the courage, and commitment to life, that is her hallmark. In l982, I lost someone I loved dearly to suicide, so Judy, I know.....

Seven months ago, my lead-guitarists son-in-law, donated this computer to Renaissance Enterprises, and someone else, graciously came over and set it up for me, patiently showing me the ropes of mastering "the demon machine" ... the computer! Well, first thing I did, as soon as the thing was plugged in, was look for JUDY COLLINS on line, in cyberspace. And, when the cyber mail-horses were at the gate, I sent them galloping away with an email to Judy, at aol.com, and of course, she answered. Warm, "honored," that I wanted to record, "Come Rejoice," on my Christmas Bells album, and how was I?!?! And the emails have increased and continued over these past many moons. And she is continuously encouraging, patient and warm to this over-zealous, Judy Collins-obsessed singer, and his music biz struggles, and commitment to love the institutionalized- through music, which is something she really likes.

The other month, we decided we would be "co mentors." I asked her to be my "mentor," only vaguely familiar with its meaning. She wrote back about some of her life mentor's and that she liked our service work for the elderly and the good things we try to do through Renaissance, so she thought we should be co-mentors!

In one of my dictionaries, under the word "mentor," it says something to the effect of: "someone who guides another in any given field, or avocation; an example; a leader; someone who nurtures and encourages another; a hero. They should just take all of that out, and replace it with two words...JUDY COLLINS!

Bob Rowe
10 March 2000

 

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