|uly 2nd began as a warm day in Los Angeles. I drove from Cambria, CA the day before so that I could begin early my drive to Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street and Beverly's Star in front of Capital Records. I was fortunate to have a parking space about 4 feet from the Star! Two quarters in the meter and I was ready to place the memorial items I had prepared. In the photos the silk flowers at the top of the star are pink roses and baby's breath. I used carpet tape for all the items so that a breeze would not displace them. My helper followed a pre-trip diagram as to the placement of the photos. I printed out each photo in color, wrote a description of the photo event and had them laminated. Photos include Time and Newsweek covers (originals signed by Beverly and part of my framed collection) and a large EMI Sills poster used at record stores (I took this with me at a performance at the Los Angeles Music Center in the late 1970's. It sat in front of my legs during the performance! Backstage following the opera, Beverly said as she signed it to me 'Ed, WHERE do you find these things???' - laughing as only she could laugh!)
I brought along my small CD/DVD player. There were five selection played. Each a favorite of mine...so by the time I was at the last and most meaningful to me personally, I lost the outward composure and shed a few.
There were a few people who stopped, looked at the photos and spoke with me. One cyclist in particular said: 'What type of music did she sing?' I explained and he said: 'God bless you for remembering her...we need to remember the great ones as they leave us one by one.' Here was someone who obviously has never heard opera or knew about Beverly's life, but he responded as I would wish everyone who ever hears about her (in future generations) will respond. These 'greats' are more than good memories for those of us (the most fortunate) who heard them sing in live recital or opera. They are people who dedicated their every waking moment to an art form that brings inspiration, personal solace and pure joy to the peoples of the world. The universal language - music - was sung by Beverly beautifully and with dedication and passion.
She was a very real, loving, cheerful and caring human being. I do not think there is any way to gage the results of such a life. We are too close to it to see the full meaning. In time, I have no doubt Beverly will be recognized as one of the truly gifted people of this period. Not simply for her obvious singing ability, but for her complete immersion of being a genuine 'human' and in the way she interacted with the 'great' as well as the 'small' of the world. With Beverly there is no sense of 'competition' or 'who is best.' Only a cheerful attitude, personal sacrifice and the challenge to always give her best to achieve that inner 'knowing' that, as she said in her interview with Mike Wallace on 60 Minutes, 'I'm a damn good singer!'
It was an eventful day and one that will be in my memory until I am able to greet her once again, and thank her for helping so many of her fellow travellers to remain optimistic on this journey called 'life.' As Angel Records noted on the large poster I am holding in the photo: 'BEVERLY SILLS - The dazzling irresistible embodiment of the total joy of singing.' I add a scriptural quote: 'Well done, good and faithful servant...'