28 May 2014

Sad news today of Dr. Maya Angelou's passing. I shared the below on my Coffee and a Book Chick Facebook page, but thought it more appropriate to dedicate a post to her here as she made such an impression on me when I met her twenty-some years ago. I wish I had a picture to commemorate it, but I was so nervous, so the above is a picture I found at the University of Delaware site. So my quick story here is more from my memory, my own personal moment I will keep for the rest of my life.

Back in my college days at the University of Maryland, I had the lucky chance to introduce Dr. Maya Angelou to over 1000 attendees who came to hear her speak. This was shortly after the President selected her as the Poet Laureate. I was told she wanted to meet the person introducing her before the event was to begin, and I remember so many things. First, that when she opened the door after I timidly knocked, how unbelievably tall she was. Second, to notice how her clipped and eloquent voice was so smooth as she politely asked how long my introduction was. (Apparently, at a prior event, the person introducing her had several pages to read and she was not happy). I, with shaking hands, showed her my short paragraph and I was so relieved when she nodded her approval as she placed her hand on my arm. She thanked me, I thanked her, I shook her hand, and then I walked down the hall to an immense event room filled with people and press. Somehow I was able to get on the stage and welcome her to the University of Maryland and I kid you not, it was one of the most amazing moments of my life that I'll never forget. Rest easy, Dr. Angelou. You have left a resounding legacy. I was lucky to have just a few moments of your time.

6 comments:

  1. I love this so much. Thank you for sharing with us, and I can't even imagine! I would've melted into a puddle on the floor.

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  2. Thanks for sharing. What a beautiful memory. I don't think I could have introduced her after that - even if I'd practiced my usual gazillion times. I've had to introduce several speakers, after the first couple I always shortened their bios to one paragraph. No one listens to much more than that.

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  3. That's a very sweet memory - thanks for sharing it. She will be missed, but you were lucky to meet her, even so briefly!

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  4. What a great story! I won I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings in a giveaway a while ago, and I really need to read it.

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  5. Oh my gosh - what a wonderful experience! And so marvelous that it wasn't one of those things that you didn't appreciate until you got older as so many things are.

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  6. Wow, what a great story and memory for you. You are so lucky that you had the opportunity to meet her.

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