Providence, RI

A crowd chased my mother because they thought she was singer Connie Francis

Tracey Folly

*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events as told to me by a family member who experienced them firsthand; used with permission.

Way back in the late 1950s or early 1960s, my mother heard that a famous singer named Connie Francis was scheduled to appear at the Outlet Company in Providence, Rhode Island. Connie Francis was my mother's favorite singer, so she was very excited.

She told me that people used to tell her she looked like Connie Francis all the time, which she found quite flattering considering how fond she was of the singer. My mother was so happy that she would get to see her idol that she wore her Sunday best for the occasion.

My mother put on her best outfit, a long-sleeved dress of golden mustard yellow nylon fabric with a brocaded skirt underneath. According to my mother, she felt like the cat's meow in her fancy dress. "It was so hot in that dress," she said, "but all I cared about was looking good."

There was a lot of excitement in the city that day.

When she arrived at the Downtown Providence location where Connie Francis was slated to perform, she saw the setup was a little stage set high above the audience down below on the sidewalk. My mother waited for hours and hours for Connie Francis to show up on that little stage, but the singer never showed up.

My mother went for a walk to make the time go faster. She said she saw a little group of people staring at her as she passed. Someone shouted, "There she is," and the people started chasing her down the street.

She felt shocked when she realized these people thought she was the Connie Francis. "Sorry," my mother told them. "I am not Connie Francis."

"Their eyes were as wide as saucers," she told me. "I'm not sure if they believed me, but they finally stopped following me and left me alone."

My mother went back to the sidewalk in front of the outlet where the little stage remained empty for the next three hours before she gave up and went home. Connie Francis never showed up. My mother was very unhappy, but she didn't know if she was unhappy because she didn't get to see her idol Connie Francis or because so many people thought she was Connie Francis.

"I hope I didn't disappoint anyone," she said.

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