I have a funny story from about 15 years ago. I was playing a wedding and doing the solo cocktail hour on the bandstand before the rest of the band came up to play.
I was playing a variety of tunes, basically anything that came to my head. I started playing that great old standard "Close your eyes" in a latin type groove. I played the melody and started to blow over a chorus. About in the middle of the song, this really old lady comes and stands by the side of the stage. I mean she looked to be well into her early '90s or late '80s. She just stood there for a few seconds watching me and then all of a sudden I hear this sharp, loud, clear as bell voice that rose over the racket of the guests..."I wrote that song you know". At first I couldn't believe such a powerful, cutting through the din voice was coming out of this diminutive older woman. I just kind of looked over at her smiled and acknowledged she was there...almost like-go away lady, you're bothering me..
I came back in with the melody and all this time she's still standing on the side of the stage staring at me. Again she blurts out..."I wrote that song you know". I finish, pause and said hi; so are you saying you're the composer for this song "Close your eyes"? "Yeah, I wrote that a long time ago, probably before your mother was even born". ..
"Really" ! I said. "And you would be" ? She shoots right back almost indignantly, "Bernice Petkere, ever hear of me" ?! I said sure...you wrote "close your eyes".
She said.."yeah I wrote a lot of other ones too honey" !
It was perfect, here's this old, scrappy gal who I didn't know too much about at that time except she wrote that tune. Later on I researched her to find out she was the most prolific female composer of the Tin Pan Alley days ! She wrote "Lullaby of the Leaves" which I first heard Tatum and then Hank Jones play. Always loved that song too.
Anyway she went on to say she enjoyed my rendition. That was pretty cool. Now whenever I play that song, which is quite frequently, I think of that chance meeting.