Another great week of answers for the #NieldsXVII Story Contest. This week we had another hard time picking a winner, so we had to bring in the tie-breaker again with the impartial Matthew. We continue to be humbled and amazed by the stories coming in. Besides the winner, we’ll be reaching out to all of this week’s participants individually with a special thank you.
Thanks to everyone, and we’ll see you with a new question on Monday!
Your House is Strong.
Last year the Nields played a house concert in my house, my old St. Louis house. Over the years my house emptied, of children as they grew up, of my partner as she went to assisted living, of pets as they aged and left the earth. And my house no longer welcomed guests. There were no delicious smells of meals cooked and shared, no sounds of conversations, laughter, music… Caring for loved ones as they aged and ultimately left me took over my life. I closed the windows and doors and the house was shut down.
Then my friend Jill convinced me to host a house concert.. one and then The Nields. That night the house was full, the music glorious, the love palpable, the laughter genuine, and the house came alive. They sang “Your House Is Strong” and I knew where the broken parts were and I knew that the light could come through, and if my house is strong, then so am I.
The only thing we can say about the answers to this week’s question is, “Wow.” We’re learning a lot about our fans that we never could have anticipated. The stories this week were personal, generous, and in many cases (we’re going to say it): DEEP. We couldn’t pick just one. Luckily we have a new team member, Matthew, who acts as our tie-breaker.
We cannot thank you guys enough for sharing your stories. Know, that even if your story isn’t the week’s pick, we’ve both read them, multiple times, and they continue to convince us we have the best fans in the world.
So without further gushing…
I am not stupid.
I went to Harvard.
However, on July 3rd 2007 at around 10:30am I began experiencing a persistent back pain.
I was a mother by noon.
I delivered the baby all by myself in my posh Atlanta apartment before I called 911. The last clear thought that I remember having was “thank God it’s a girl”. We were taken to Fulton County Hospital in separate ambulances.
I kept thinking about how I just drank through an entire pregnancy and had no business caring for a child, especially one who would probably have special needs.
I kept thinking I cannot possibly keep her.
After I was settled into a hospital room, I had to start figuring out what to tell people.
I decided to tell my sister Alice first. She was at work and I couldn’t reach her right away. When she finally called me back, she offered to tell my parents. I was so grateful. She was also very straightforward about giving the baby up. She said “don’t do it, just come home.”
They brought me the baby who they estimated to be 8 weeks early. The baby was flawless except for her tiny size and underdeveloped ears. No signs of FAS.
I spent the 4th of July in a Hospital bed, listening to fireworks and halfheartedly attempting to breastfeed. Some of my friends passed through for a few minutes, but instead of the usual happiness that comes with a birth, they were just weird and distant.
On the 3rd day my mom arrived from western New York to pick us up.
I left my car, my belongings, my apartment, my job at the IRS and my pet guinea pigs and went back to New York.
I named her Gloria Georgia after “Merry Christmas Mr. Jones” and to a lesser extent “The Day I Let Glory Steer”
Epilogue: I have an IT job in western New York. Gloria is in second grade, she gets exceptional grades especially in math and reading, she is a Girl Scout and a blue belt in Tae Kwon Do.
We’re having too much fun with our 17-week Story Contest! It was again hard to pick our favorite, but our pick from Steve squeaked into the top spot. A special honorable mention to Jeff, who coined the term “Nieldsian” in his answer. The word has already been fully infused into our collective lexicon, so thanks Jeff!
Of course, thanks to everyone who took part again. We’ll post a new question on Monday!
The year, if I remember correctly, was 1998. The band was playing its first or second show in support of “Play” at the Somerville Theatre. My then girlfriend and I had seen maybe a few dozen Nields shows by this point, and since we were going to be in the area visiting my family, we weren’t going to miss the opportunity.
We got on the commuter train near my parents’, and rode it into downtown, with plans to take the bus out to Somerville. While I don’t recall the decision-making that led us to this hare-brained idea, I do remember that we ended up getting off the bus somewhere a mile or two away from the theatre, with no idea where we were, and not in the best part of town.
A long walk with a lot of swearing ensued, and by the time we reached our seats (somehow I had managed to land us in the front row!), I’m pretty sure the two of us weren’t on speaking terms anymore.
But it didn’t matter once the band came on. As per usual, I threw myself into the music, bouncing in my seat and air drumming, all along notice that the crowd was pretty darn staid for a Nields show- industry types maybe?
Heading out after the show, Dave Chalfant passed me and said “hey, thanks for rocking out!”, and that made the whole ordeal worth it.
We were pleasantly surprised by the number of responses we got from you guys on the inaugural week of our 17-week Story Contest! It was hard to pick our favorite, so we picked two. We’ve posted both stories below and will be contacting the storytellers in short order. Thanks so much to everyone who took part and see you again with a new question on Monday!
While I have met many friends via The Nields, there is no way this story could be about anyone except Charlotte.
If this were a movie, there would be a montage of missed connections. Charlotte and I have known each other virtually through the Nields Nook since we were teenagers in the late 90s. We were often in the same places without meeting. We went to many of the same concerts. We both attended Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, 10 hours from home. I once went to a show with several friends, and ended up meeting Charlotte’s mother. One of the friends I was with that night ended up marrying Charlotte, but he met her mother first.
Eventually, Charlotte chose to go to UNC-Asheville, the same college as me. That first day we arranged to meet in the student center. I saw the person I was sure was Charlotte, but no amount of eye contact seemed to get her to acknowledge me. She later admitted to being nervous, and we made new plans to meet. We spent hours talking like old friends.
“I should end this story here, now that all is well. But you know, and I know, that there’s always more to tell.”
We’ve lived together, with Christmas lights and her TV. We’ve spent years separated by states and oceans, yet still managed to be in each others weddings. In 2009 we ended up back in North Carolina, waiting on the arrival of her son. In 2010 Charlotte stood by me as I welcomed my daughter into the world. In 2011 I did the same for her. I hope we will continue that tradition this summer for the birth of my second child.
We grew, and still we grow.
Ha! Did I meet *anyone* because I am a Nields fan? In fact, I met *everyone* because I am a Nields fan! New to the area in the fall of 2012, I was looking for ways to make friends and feel connected to the community when someone suggested signing up for a Hootenanny class.
“It’s run by the Nields, do you know them?”
“The Nields?! Yes, I love their music. So, it’s, like, a class where someone teaches you and your kids Nields tunes?”
“Well, yes, the Nields teach you Nields tunes, and traditional songs, too.”
“Wait. The Nields are the teachers? I don’t think I could act normal in a class with them. They’re famous and cool and…”
But, desperate to find my Valley tribe, I signed us up for a Hoot class, picturing us dancing and singing in a huge mass of parents and babies and toddlers (we moved from Boston, where “small” classes are anything but). When we got to our first class, I was astounded to see that there were maybe 20 families. Two families had children in my older son’s preschool class, and we got to know them much better over several Hootenanny seasons. Two other children ended up being in my younger son’s gymnastics class, and our Hoot connection jumpstarted that friendship, too. At various kid-friendly events all over the Valley, I’d overhear unique children’s names that I recognized from the Goodbye Song, then mosey over to their parents to strike up a Hoot-based conversation. Oh, Nields! How would we have settled in to life in the happy valley without you?
Our new album XVII is out today! Feb. 2, 2015! MONDAY! GROUNDHOG’S DAY!
Thank so much for supporting our PledgeMusic Campaign, friends. We ended at 109% of our goal!
Here is our February newsletter .