Remembering the Purple One
I'd posted the following to Facebook on April 21, 2016, after hearing that the extraordinary musician Prince had died.
In elementary school, I had the "Purple Rain" 45. I can't remember who gave it to me or how it came into my possession, but this record was seriously the most beautiful thing I'd ever owned in my entire young life. My brain just couldn't process that a record could be purple! It was a gorgeous electric violet disc that had a dark purple textless label with raindrops on it. The sleeve showed His Magesty sitting on a motorcycle, lips pursed. I think it may have been one of my first notions of "This is what 'sexy' means."
I brought the 45 to show-and-tell at school and then listened to it later at my grandma's house. A distant relative who was not from the area and didn't come around much came in to say hi. I gushed about the record and how cool Prince was; I mean, I just couldn't help myself.
This relative replied, "You can't like Prince. He's black. Do you want everyone to know that you're in love with a black singer?"
I didn't know what to say and my young brain couldn't fully process this, but I knew that what this distant relative said was very wrong.
Welcome to Ohio, folks. Sigh.
Here's the thing, though: that relative is long gone. I still have my 45.