Sunday, March 1, 2009
As we walked into Willa Ward-Royster's home, we immediately realized just how lucky we were to be there. The pianist and singer, who came to fame thanks to her work with the Famous Ward Singers and later with her solo work, welcomed us warmly into her Logan home. The same radiant smile she showcased in photographs around her house with the likes of Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald, showed such a level of graciousness as we prepared for our interview. We were able to walk around her home and take in the many awards, memorabilia and souvenirs from her worldly travels. Willa was everything and more than we could have expected. Her gold flecked ensemble, freshly done hair and makeup and her assortment of glimmering jewelry showed us the hints of glamour that this accomplished Logan resident still holds onto. And at 88-years-old, Willa surprised us all by topping off her look with a pair of gold heels that showed us the agility and vibrancy she still maintains into her older age.
After our interview, Willa invited us to stay for wine, and with the stories she had to tell, we were so happy we got the chance to listen. As we sat around her kitchen table with a bottle of Robert Mondavi's Private Selection Merlot, Willa grabbed herself a glass of scotch and told us, "Now I could outdance you all...better watch out!"
And as we reassured her that we were little competition, she danced her way from the counter to the table with an ease that made us all smile in surprise. She went on to tell us of her many travels, her relationships with the men that always seemed to want to tame her and of her love for soap operas and professional wrestling (yes, we couldn't get over that one either). We laughed and took in as much as we possibly could about this woman who has had more experiences than any of us could wrap our minds around. She made a point to tell us that if she died tomorrow, she would die a happy woman because she has, "...done it all."
It was a lovely day that went far beyond our expectations. Sitting down with Willa, and getting to know her on a more personal level, was part of an afternoon that all of us are going to be able to hold onto long after this class has ended.
Group 9 Olney/Logan - Casey Snyder, Mari Saito and Julio Nunez
Posted by caseysnyder at 4:15 PM