Memories of Prince

Four years ago, the world lost someone who could never be replaced.

I was born some six months after Prince and although I grew up in the same Twin Cities as Prince, we were in completely different worlds and never crossed paths—at least until 1984.

1984 was a big year for Prince with the release of Purple Rain. I saw the film at the old Hopkins theatre and people were on their feet cheering and dancing at the end. Friends said that Prince was at the same theatre when they were there, standing in the back watching the crowd’s reaction. I’m sure he liked what he saw.

With his rise to fame, fans flocked to his neighborhood in Chanhassen to wait outside his purple house. They were camping in the neighbor’s yards by the hundreds as they waited for Prince to come home at night from the clubs. As you may imagine, the neighbors were in an uproar over this.

Prince’s manager hired Burns International Security services to keep people from lingering. Fortunately, I was working for them at the time and I found myself stationed at his house.

It wasn’t as glamorous as it may sound. We were told that Prince was very private and not to engage with him. I was directed to sit in my car and move people on when they showed up.

I met fans from all over the country: a woman who drove up from Dallas after seeing the film, a man from Ohio and hundreds more from California, Washington, New York and so many other places. Another guard said he met a couple from England who brought actual purple doves as a gift to the man who inspired them. It was a testament to the man and his music that these fans were from all races and walks of life. Something had touched them and they were compelled to journey to Minnesota.

The first time I saw Prince was when he left in his chauffeured vehicle. He stared at me with an emotionless face as he passed by. This was the norm whenever I saw him. That was, until…

It was a sunny day in the early evening and I saw Prince’s car coming up the drive. He rolled down his window, smiled gleefully and waved. I actually turned around to see if there was someone else, but no, that smile was for me!

That was the closest I ever came to him, but it was an amazing time in my life. I vividly remember getting chills when the song Purple Rain came on the radio sitting there at the end of his driveway on Kiowa Trail. It was so cool.

There will always be a place in my heart for Prince and his music.

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