How Sad How Lovely Connie Converse
— By Anelise Chen | March 16, 2010
This story has been told hundreds of times by now: the story about this mysterious woman who got in her Volkswagon and drove away, never to be seen again. In the days leading up to her disappearance, she had written letters to friends and family, saying her goodbyes. She was a singer-songwriter who dropped out of Mount Holyoke to pursue music in New York City, only to find that her music was never going to reach an audience beyond a small dozen around the world. Heartbroken, she moved to Ann Arbor to be closer to her younger brother and his family. Nobody knows what happened to Connie Converse; if she is still around, she would be 86 today.
You only have to listen to her songs once to be completely, utterly transported. After singing “One by One” for Gene Dietch in 1954, you can sense the reaction in the studio. “Gosh, that’s beautiful…” Dietch says, kind of blown away. “When was this? When [did you write this]?” She answers, feigning perhaps indifference or nonchalance: “I dunno, about a month or so…I don’t remember.”
The lyrics are so good, I feel like reposting here:
We go walking in the dark/ we go walking out at night/ and it’s not as lovers go / two by two, to and fro/ but it’s one by one/ one by one in the dark/ We go walking out at night/ as we wander through the grass/ we can hear each other pass/ but we’re far apart/ far apart in the dark/ we go walking out at night/ with our grass so dark and tall/ we are lost past recall/ if the moon is the down/ and the moon is down/ we are walking in the dark/ if i had your had your hand in mine/ I could shine, I could shine/ like the rising sun, like the sun
Listen to the amazing episode “How Sad, How Lovely” over at Sanguine Soul radio, with special guest Johnny Ray Huston.
“The Musical Mystery of Connie Converse” SF Chronicle March 08, 2009
Still from when she performed on “The Morning Show” with Walter CronkiteTweet