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They're Loyal Fans and They Bake
By Hillary Carlip


Hillary Carlip's CARLY SIMON letter from FRESH YARN

I sat on my bed, unable to hold back tears of relief and joy. Just then, my brother barged into the room without knocking.

"GET OUT!!!!!!!" I screamed so loudly, he jumped, then slammed the door closed.

I put on a Carly record, and turned up the volume, singing "The Love's Still Growing" along with her while I tucked the letter safely inside my shirt and pressed it to my skin.

In early May, Molly and I returned to the Troub. Carly was a huge star by then. Even though she'd won a Grammy for Best New Artist, free tickets still awaited us, and the front table was reserved for us at every show. After the performances, we hung out in the dressing room that had become so familiar I knew every stain on that plaid couch.

On closing night, I brought along a clunky tape recorder that I held on my lap during the show. It was a perfect performance to tape because, just as Carly was about to sing "Summer's Coming Around Again," my favorite song, she dedicated it to me and Molly. What stands out on the tape over Carly's voice is held-back, breathy, 14-year-old excitement escaping from me in short, giddy giggles.


"This song is dedicated to Molly and Hillary who have been in the front seats of this club more times this week than I have. They're very loyal fans and they bake. You should meet them because if they like you, they're a powerful, powerful duo."

I was so high from her lengthy dedication, and her hearty hug and kiss goodbye, it wasn't until I returned home, well after midnight, and played the tape, that I heard the word.


She called us fans.

Still, when I climbed out my bedroom window and crawled onto the roof, I played the tape over and over again. Sitting beneath a dim crescent moon, I didn't mind anymore. Was Carly leaving free tickets and reserving front row seats for anyone else? Who was she mentioning in interviews, writing letters to, dedicating songs to, and calling powerful? And who did she invite up to her dressing room every night and not only ask for opinions, but listen to them as if they counted?


I turned up the tape recorder, looked at the moon and let Carly's lyrics seep into my being, my every cell.

"We want you to love the world, to know it well and play a part. And we'll help you to learn to love yourself 'cause that's where lovin' really starts."


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