I was at Berkley in the 60’s, so I had the extreme pleasure of seeing Harry playing in Coffee houses and the like. He was fabulous. Every now and again, if an early class wasn’t interfering, I had the chance to speak with Harry. We would discuss politics, the Vietnam War, Johnson, Kennedy, Nixon, and so on. If it could be protested, we discussed it. Harry was a friend of sorts. Not one that came over to party and barbecue, but a friend of acquaintance.

In the 70’s, I stopped droping acid, and smoking pot, and I became a citizen of some upstanding moral beleif. Much to the chargrin of my family, I had already ruined their reputation. One night after a particularly bad scene with my folks, I was driving home and who but my old friend Harry came on the radio. I couldn’t beleive it!! He was so fabulous, and so many years just seemed to melt away! Back to a time when I remembered who I was, and what I had stood for!

The next day, I went and searched out friends and found out that Harry had a few albums out. I went out and bought them right away. I found “Old College Avenue”, and right then I knew that I had given up myself when I gave up the sixties. I left a boyfriend in the very manner discribed in that song. I went back to Berkley that year, and stood outside of a red brick apartment building looking at the window of the apartment that Chris and I had once shared. As tears streamed down my face, I remembered what passion felt like.

In the years proceeding to Harry’s untimely death, I was lucky enought to see about 325 Harry Chapin concerts. Some benefits with Tom, some with the full band. Every one of them touched my heart and opened up different memories. Speaking with Harry one night after a benefit, I told him who I was and where I had first met him in the sixties. He laughed and said he sure had come a long way since then. He had, I had come full circle and I had found myself.

I only spoke with Harry four or five more times after that. One day on my way home, I heard on the radio that he had died. I had to pull over, my heart was heavy and I couldn’t see for the tears. A man who hadn’t even known what he had done, had saved me from myself, and now he was gone. I pulled out the old photo album from Berkley and looked at the old pictures I had of Harry and me, Harry and Chris, Harry and half a dozen other people who would stay late to try and solve all of the problems of the world in one night. I cried again.

I guess being a Senators daughter had it’s perks. I was on hand when Harry’s wife was awarded the Special Congressional Gold Medal. It was Peral Harbor Day, and so cold, but the love and emotion inside Carnegie Hall was amazing!

I think of Harry often, and I am truly blessed that I had a chance to know him and to learn from him. I hope that others will have this opportunity.

I sincerely hope that his memory will live forever.

Good-bye my friend, and thank you!

Brittiney Parsons

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