Folk Singers Responded Years Ago

Article excerpt

Byline: Nick Marino, Times-Union staff writer

In 1967, Alice Schert put an 8-cent stamp on a letter to folk singers Peter, Paul & Mary, asking them to stop by Hope Haven Children's Hospital, where she worked, to visit some of the children.

She wasn't necessarily expecting a response when she gave the letter to a friend, asking her to drop it in a downtown mailbox.

"I handed it to her and said, 'There goes 8 cents,'" Schert remembered.

But she did get a response. She walked into work one day and "a nurse upstairs said, 'You've been having calls from Peter, Paul & Mary's manager.' And she said, 'Do you know anything about that?' "

And Alice Schert said, why yes.

Schert, now a sharp 92 years old, still vividly and fondly remembers Peter Yarrow, Noel Paul Stookey and Mary Travers coming to Hope Haven, performing for the children and generally distributing goodwill.

"They put on a real nice concert for us," she said. "I had a chance to see their personalities. They seemed so kind."

At one point during the visit, Schert lost track of Mary Travers.

"We looked for her later," Schert said, "and saw that she was putting a quilt or blanket on one of the boys she saw was chilly."

Schert spent some meaningful time with the performers, something you don't get to do with most artists these days. She built up a nice relationship -- a letter here, a phone call there -- and she even "rapped with Paul about Jesus. …

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