Today Dr. Maya Angelou has been gone from us for two years. She will never be forgotten.
I stood for 2+ hours in the rain outside of that store. A woman on a mission, Dr. Maya Angelou’s book in hand. October 1996 was a time before everyone had a cell phone, iPod or iPad for self-entertainment. Back then, people talked to one another. Excited to meet Maya, we cited our favorite book, saying or poem and why.
When they finally opened the doors and allowed us to slowly file in, we all kept asking “What is taking so long?” The murmur rolled through that she was taking her time and talking to each person. The complaining stopped. Before I even saw her, I heard her voice and her rich, robust laughter. There she sat, totally at ease and looking quite “regal.” Indeed, she did chat with each of us as she signed our books with slow deliberate artistic strokes.
“Hello, Child.” “Would you please sign this for my daughter? It’s Jazmine with a Z” “Well, what is your name?” “My name is Laura, but her’s is Jazmine with a Z” “Why a Z?” she inquired. “Because I always wanted a little girl named Jaz.” “Well, to Laura and Jazmine with a Z, it is then.”
I saw her speak several times after that at the University of St Catherine “Woman of Substance.” series. Every time I came away thinking how simply complex she was. Her words so deep, yet, simple. Each time I anticipated her beginning line of her renowned poem that speaks to all women — “Pretty women wonder where my secret lies” and ending with — “Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman. That’s me.”
Today I am thankful
Women who inspire; my daughter and my best friend
A cleansing cry just because
The yearning for something more in life
I have attached a link to Dr. Maya Angelou’s reading of my favorite of all her work. Enjoy.
affectionately yours, Laura