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Penni Goode Evans

I have been a Prince fan since I was about seven years old. My babysitter was a huge Prince and Rick James fan and would play their records constantly - but mostly Prince. When Purple Rain came out and I saw him on the screen, I was officially in love. After that, I bought every record and cassette and I listened to Prince more than any other artist, which is still the case to this day. As with most Prince fans, his music was the soundtrack to my life.

Penni Goode Evans, Paisley Park, conte crayon and oil pastel on board, 2016 (detail)

When I was fourteen my friends and I met a guy whose room was covered with Prince posters on the wall. I knew instantly that this guy and I had an amazing thing in common. His name was Steve, and he told me about Jesse Johnson, and The Family, and Mazarati and lent me their albums. We became good friends immediately and years later started dating. We are now married and have two children. Our daughter's middle name is Jesse, named after Jesse Johnson.

Right before Prince passed, a friend sent me a CD of the Piano & a Microphone tour in Sydney. When my husband and I listened to it and Prince sang “Do Me Baby,” I started to cry. I hadn't cried while listening to Prince since being a teenager, and now I was in my early 40's. There was something in his voice, something so touching and so special. That song reminded me of my husband and I when we were younger, and always having Prince as the backdrop to our lives. When I found out he passed about a week after listening to that recording, I was devastated. I called my daughter, who was just as upset. “What? What? Are you sure?” It was almost impossible to conceive that Prince could die. There was just something so magical and so special about Prince that he seemed immortal.

On the day he passed, I sat down at my art table, listening to the Piano & a Microphone show and began drawing paper dolls. I had no idea where I was going with them, I just began drawing - the woman who sits all alone at the pier, the Raspberry Beret girl, the Ladder, flowers. I was crying and drawing and coloring them with oil pastels. I cut them out and put them on a large 4’x3’ board. I spent about two weeks working on the paper dolls, adding lyrics to Paisley Park. Somehow, working on this project helped me to deal with this massive blow. 

For a good year after Prince passed, I would wake up every morning and immediately think, “Prince is dead,” and just lay in bed and try and process the idea that Prince was no longer in the world. Without him here it definitely feels less magical. Just knowing that he was in Paisley Park made the world seem right. With him gone, I can certainly say that it feels different somehow, almost as if Prince just being here emitted some sort of Positivity into the Universe. I feel very lucky to have had him as the backdrop to my life, as I'm sure many fans feel. Thank you, Prince.

Penni Goode Evans is a writer and painter from Chattanooga, Tennessee. She currently lives in Mobile, Alabama.

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