I just read that Mary Travers has died.
Such an integral part of the sound of Peter Paul and Mary. Has anyone not heard her amazing voice and been moved?
I was an enthusiastic teenager, mad about folk music and the whole counter culture movement. This was 1963 and we lived in San Jose, close enough to San Francisco to smell the smoke.
I had discovered Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger, the Weavers and of course Peter, Paul and Mary.
I was infused with a passion that seems endemic to fifteen year olds. It was a wonderful time in my life. I hear on the radio that Peter, Paul and Mary will be at the Masonic Temple up in San Francisco.
I want to go. I NEED to go. But what are the chances? I beg and plead with my older sister, who says no, she could care less. I'm going crazy. It's almost my sixteenth birthday and I'm just this close to getting my drivers license, but the concert is too soon.
Fifteen year old thoughts race through my mind. Lie to my parents? Take the bus to the city? Hitch hiking briefly crossed my mind (but that would come later in my life).
WHAT TO DO?
I'm happy to say that my sister came through and presented me with an early birthday gift. An evening in San Francisco, topped off with a magical concert.
I had never been to such an event and I was truly transported.
The auditorium, the sound, the people, San Francisco in the sixties . . .
But the picture of Mary Travers, singing on stage, with the spotlights making her blond hair shine like silver and gold. This is one of those memory pictures that I will carry with me forever.
Years later I read that the trio would be performing at a local winery. I decided we should go. Upon inquiring about tickets, I was informed it was a charity concert and tickets were well beyond our means, so we had to pass. I was heartbroken.
Then, as so often happens to us, a few weeks later, our good friend Norm called and said "You know, I have season tickets to the Hollywood Bowl and I just heard that Peter, Paul and Mary will be coming. Would you guys like to come down and be my guests?"
To be honest, it wasn't quite the concert I remembered from my youth. But then I wasn't quite as wide eyed as I had been at fifteen. Still, it was a lovely evening and holds as special a place in my heart as my first "live experience" with the trio.
And now that lovely voice has been silenced forever.
But aren't we lucky that we have all those recordings to continue to inspire and thrill us forever?
I'm especially thankful for this talented woman and all she has contributed to so many lives.
Get out one of your old Peter, Paul and Mary albums and prepare to be amazed all over again.
Mary Allin Travers
Mary Allin Travers