“Mr. Berigan, would you sign my autograph book?”
“Of course. What’s your name, young lady?”
“‘Flo.’ That’s for Florence, of course.”
“Very nice to meet you, Flo.”
“Why, thank you, Mr. Berigan!”
Fast-forward thirteen years to another part of the forest.
“Sally, there’s mail for you. I left it on your bed. It’s this Friday!”
“Can I come with you?”
“Of course, Clarice. But don’t get all wrapped up in those boys like you did last time. Remember when you had too much beer and ruined my green sweater? I’m going to go so I can get Mr. Robinson’s autograph.”
“Clarice, don’t you hear anything I say through those rollers on your head? I’ve told you ten times. Prince Robinson. He played with McKinney’s Cotton Pickers. Coleman Hawkins said he admired Mr. Robinson when he was a young man. And Mr. Robinson played with Louis.”
“Clarice, I give up. Louis Armstrong.”
“All right, Sally. I’ll wear the blue chiffon. Those boys were dreamy. And four trumpet players, too!”
And a postscript. The music above stands on its own, as do the holy paper relics. I’ve indulged myself in inventing conversations. But online life is both peculiar and marvelous. “Flo” is untraceable and I think no longer on the planet, given the arithmetic of 1937 and 2021. But “Sally Green” from Vassar College is less phantasmal: she’s second from left in the front row — page 3 of the Vassar Chronicle, April 19, 1952. She looks like someone who would properly appreciate Prince Robinson!
May your happiness increase!