Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers.
I had a best friend growing up, and for about as long as I can remember she was over the moon for Tom Petty. All through junior high, and high school she would regale us with the life and times of Tom Petty... his looks, his talents, his latest album, her favorite singles. She would call me when the Heartbreakers were on the radio. She labored over his portrait in art class. And no matter what anyone had to say against him, she jumped to his defense.
She kept this up through college. She got an autograph, "To Jill ~Tom Petty." She went to concerts. Lots of 'em. And she has not backed down. She was at a concert just weeks ago. The cover photo for Damn The Torpedoes has been her FB profile picture. She is still a fan.
And I guess this is not surprising, not for teenagers. Being a fan, loving a band or a musician, or a Hollywood star is pretty typical stuff, but I think Jill took it to a whole other level and just short of craZy ObesSion! She is not the same person she was as a teenager, but she has the same true devotion to her convictions, to what she loves. From a very young age, she recognized what she liked, she declared it, and she stood her ground, and her sincerity has remained, unwavering. I have always admired Jill for this. Despite distances in time and space, she is a lasting friend, a dedicated person, a true fan. She is honest about what she likes, or does not like, and those lucky Heartbreakers have had one of the most enthusiastic and steadfast supporters you can imagine.
It's sweet, I think. I love that when I hear "I Won't Back Down," The Waiting," "Here Comes My Girl"... I think of Jill. I think of all those days in school together, slam books and stickers, Licorice Pizza, and sleepovers. I think of her first car, Jenny. I think of nights we laughed over the most senseless things, Hmmmmm... smells like popcorn. There are so many things about my teen years, and college days that have sort of faded into the background, and I can see how easy it could be to let those memories slip away for good. But Jill has had the endearing charm of making me remember, making me grin knowingly, and making me appreciate what it means to stand your ground, to not back down.
Jill, thank you.
For still popping-up in my life and making me laugh at senseless things. For instilling in me an appreciation for Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, and for being a model for me of how to feel like a giddy teenage fan when I get to do the things I love. You are, and always have been, an example of living passionately and honestly, and how to stand my ground.
When I went to photograph Ron Blair, the guitars, and Jessica Baron, it was with a knowing grin, and happy memories of my friend, Jill. I kept thinking how much she would enjoy the full circle nature of this moment... new friends, new circumstances, common threads, and a cause that supports bringing music to young people.
I can be kind of shy and reclusive, and I have a tendency to feel defeated, discouraged... maybe this is not obvious, coming from a person who journals for the whole wide world, but nonetheless. The thing is, Jill was always good at bringing me out of my shell. Thank you for that too, Jill.
Inspired by Jill and her steadfast devotion to her convictions, I am suppressing my inclination to retreat, to back down from talking again about Guitars In The Classroom, and pointing out that a really marvelous event is happening that can raise money to keep music programs in our schools.
My photographs are published. *blush* And, I am owning the truth that I feel pretty darn giddy about photography and being published, and yeah... so, you know... just a little showing off.
There are so many creative, talented, and generous people out there! They are sharing for the auction, they are bidding at the auction. They are in music studios, and art studios. They are at kitchen tables, and out in our communities. They are fans of music and art, of science and education. And it's because they give time, or make time, and show their interest that we can hope to keep education meaningful and alive.
We need people who are true fans, who won't back down. We need tireless people, like Jessica Baron. We need superstars, like Ron Blair, and Tom Petty. We need volunteers, and teachers, and people like you and me... to take action, get involved, make a stand, lend a hand, "Like" on FB... be a true and lasting fan, for the sake of children everywhere. I hope, in even a small way, I can influence support for Guitars In The Classroom. I hope I can continue to be as true a friend to the things I love, not retreating or giving into doubt, just as my friend Jill has been teaching me.