Some stars' contributions to causes may seem a
little suspect - not that they don't care, but because they may be motivated by
a need to give back something. That's a noble and human response, and many
do a great deal of good.
Then there are those whose passion to help others
is either inborn or instilled at an early age, and whose artistry is driven by
that need. Such is the case with one singer. This by Ann
Landers was published in the Miami Herald on Labor Day, September 4th, 2001:
"Dear Ann Landers:
Never have I felt so moved as when I read the letter
from "Former Classmate in Illinois." I, too, have avoided attending my high
school reunions. And with good reason.
It was 45 years ago, and I had just come to America from Europe. My English was
not good, and the "in crowd" didn't think I had the right clothes or hairstyle.
Everything about me was wrong. I had to endure their snickering, and I always
ate alone at lunchtime. I once got up the nerve to invite six girls to my 16th
birthday party. Only one girl came, and she left early. My parents never knew
that I cried myself to sleep that night.
In my junior year, something wonderful happened. Another girl saved me from
despair. We became friends instantly, and she began to join me at lunch. She was
also ignored by the "in crowd," but she didn't care. She marched to a different
drummer. She had her own music.
She came to my home one afternoon and brought her little sister to play with
mine. We became great friends. She played her guitar and sang like an angel.
Soon she invited me to join her as she visited USO clubs and sang for the
soldiers. She was a big hit wherever she appeared. One night on the way home
from a USO club, I bet her $10 she would become famous -- and she did. Her
name is Joan Baez. -- Rosie Herz (now Rita Violette) of Sun City, Calif."
Ann Lander's answer:
What a heartwarming story. I hope Joan Baez sees this
column or that someone who knows her will bring it to her attention. We now know
that in addition to her marvelous voice, Joan Baez is a beautiful person with a
loving and generous heart."
Moms, Dads and Grandparents, introduce this singer to the
kids. Give them her biography to read. It's a primer for peaceful
protest and dedicating one's life to making this a better world. Much of
it is like a step back into time. A lot more is current - the Middle East,
Ireland and other trouble spots plus AIDS and other current causes.
It proves that old adage that the more things change the more they stay the
same. There's new disks and albums that either include her earlier
work or feature her newer offerings.
Joan Baez was one of the rallying points for civil rights,
for pulling out of the Vietnam war, for peace in any and every corner of the
world, and against violence, poverty, misery and hunger in any form.
Listen to her "Ain't going to let nobody turn me around", performed in the South
during the fight for equal rights, and you will have no doubt of her power.
And she still is doing her part. And she sings ballads, love
songs and modern laments, too.
Don't necessarily believe that the kids will abandon rap,
hip-hop and etc. to listen to Joan Baez right now. But if you buy some of
her stuff, and play it, maybe on your CD player in the kitchen (you have one
there, don't you?) while the kids help with mealtime preparation and clean-up,
it will - little by little - make an impression, especially if they have read
the story of her life.
Print out her
so the kids can to read it to you while you're cooking and listening to Baez's
songs. Talk about what some of the songs meant, and what they could mean
today. You and the kids can learn something together.