In The Mailbox, An Uncanny Postscript from Pete Seeger

Jan 31, 2014
Originally published on January 31, 2014 6:51 pm
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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Kim Alexander got a message in the mail this week from Pete Seeger, the day after he died.

KIM ALEXANDER: I screamed. (Laughter) It was really a magical moment but in some ways, it was not entirely surprising because of the kind of person that Pete Seeger was, and what he meant to all of us.

SIEGEL: The letter she received had been posted just a few days before the folk singer and activist died on Monday at the age of 94. Alexander runs a nonprofit in Sacramento, Calif., and in her spare time, she coordinates a weekly music jam there. And she'd written Seeger in August.

ALEXANDER: I wrote to him because I wanted to tell him while he was still with us what an impact he'd had on me, and how I had used that inspiration to impact others.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Kim Alexander, a self-described jamvangelist, also shared with Seeger an article about how to get people to relax and join in with these kinds of public music jams.

ALEXANDER: And so he wrote back a note to me, in the margins - as he was known to do in his letter-writing - and he wrote: (Reading) Dear Kim, I've read this article several times. I think your article on jamming is wonderful and should be printed not just in Sing Out but in other magazines as well, and issued as a lovely pamphlet on good paper with good drawings on the cover. But I'm now 94, and I can't help much. My health is not good. You stay well. Keep on, 94-year-old Pete.

With a little drawing of a banjo, and then it says January 2014.

SIEGEL: Kim Alexander, reading a note she received from Pete Seeger. It arrived in her mailbox Tuesday of this week, the day after Seeger died.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, ''SO LONG, IT'S BEEN GOOD TO KNOW YOU")

PETE SEEGER: (Singing) So long, it's been good to know you. So long, it's been good to know you. So long, been good to know you. This dusty old dust is getting my home. And I got to be drifting along now it's so long, been good to know you. So long, it's been good to know you. So long, been good to know you. The dusty old dust is getting my home. And I got to be drifting along. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.