30 years ago today, I was in my friend Lynn’s Caddy (or was it a Lincoln?) on a ROAD TRIP! to Miami from our college in Michigan. We had with us my bf Marianne and some guy. We had left in the early morning hours on a drunken whim, but Lynn had a credit card and a car, so we were good to go. Somewhere in Tennetucky we had stopped, and when we got back in the car and turned the radio on, they were playing “Cats in the Cradle”. I’m pretty sure all of us had seen the concert when Harry Chapin had played at our college (He kissed me twice!) so we all sang along. Then “WOLD” came on right after, and we were all, “WTF? Did he die or something?” Yes he had.
Harry Chapin was a crusader against hunger before it was trendy. A husband, a father, a singer and a poet dedicated to somehow, some way helping those in need. His family has continued his work, you can visit the Harry Chapin Foundation here. I’m getting me some more t-shirts, ’cause my “Cheap Seats” one is long gone. He would have made a helluva Senator Chapin (D-NY)-
“Just to call him an inspiration would minimize his real impact. Harry Chapin, his life and his efforts, did an awful lot not only to stimulate the success of We Are the World, but its longevity,” said entertainer Harry Belafonte, a driving force behind the 1985 benefit that raised millions to fight starvation in Africa.
“It’s hard to overestimate the amount of good he did,” added Sen. Patrick Leahy, a close friend of Chapin’s who confessed he broke down in tears after he was summoned from the Senate floor on July 16, 1981, and told of the fatal crash. Speaking at Chapin’s memorial service, Leahy said, was one of the most difficult things he’s ever done.
“There are a huge number of people who probably have no idea who he is,” Leahy told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. “All they know is they got fed because of him and they wouldn’t have otherwise, both in this country and abroad.”
The Vermont Democrat recalls a meeting with Carter in the White House, when Carter agreed to form a commission focusing on world hunger. Chapin’s tenacious spirit almost kyboshed the deal, Leahy said.
“We sat around the Cabinet room and he starts telling the president we should do this. And the president’s trying to say `I agree with you, Harry.’ And he’s just getting all wound up and excited. I finally said, `Harry, Harry, don’t talk him out of it.’ Everybody laughed, but he pushed for it and pushed so hard.”
ADDED- Another great site- Harry’s Friends