Boob Di-lan and My Grandmother

grandma dylan

Way back in the early 1980’s, my grandmother went on a trip to Europe. When she got back, she had little gifts for everyone, and one of them was a napkin signed by Bob Dylan to my sister Abbie.

It tuns out that she was in a store or cafe and heard a commotion, with people around here saying rather excitedly “Boob Di-lan. Boob Di-lan.” She said she saw the crowd gathering, went over, and got his autograph. I’m pretty sure she had very little idea of who he was.

At the time, Abbie was learning french horn. To my grandmother, that qualified as “interested in music” and worthy of the autograph. (Never mind that my sister didn’t really care for Bob Dylan, nor that I was just getting interested in him.  I was a bit jealous.)

Years went by. The napkin was misplaced. The story was remembered.

A couple of weeks ago, my sister was contacted by someone she didn’t know. “Are you the Abbie Grotke that has a Bob Dylan autograph?”

She thought that perhaps the napkin had been found. She wrote back saying yes, but that the autograph was long missing.

The stranger didn’t have the autograph, but did have something. He pointed her to a YouTube clip, of Bob Dylan in the streets of Vienna, in the early 1980’s, being asked for an autograph by my grandmother.

At about 18 seconds into this clip, a woman in a blue coat steps right up next to Mr. Dylan. That’s our Grandmother Bailey.

As it turns out, the stranger who contacted my sister was simply a big Bob Dylan fan, tracking down details found in obscure YouTube clips. 

A few more details were obtained:

“Bob Dylan performed a show in Vienna at the Wiener Stadthalle on July 21, 1981 – his first ever in the city, to support his ‘Shot of Love’ LP. Last year Bob Dylan released Volume 11 of his Bootleg Series, a 2CD set titled ‘Trouble No More’ which includes live performances from this tour. Oddly, Dylan is currently on tour in Europe, and will be performing in the exact same Wiener Stadthalle venue this coming Monday (April 16) – 35+ years after the above video clip was filmed.”

The autograph remains missing, but I think this is almost better. How many people have footage of the autograph being given? Or the celebrity spelling out your name?

Comments | 7

  • Hmmm

    Is this getting a large number of reads because of Boobs, or Bob? : )

  • Boob

    Now that is cool.

    A long time ago (early 1970’s) I used to work in a bookstore in Times Square, NYC. Dylan came in, and was wandering around the store when another customer recognized him. “Aren’t you Bob Dylan?” “No, I just look like him. I get that all the time.”

    • NY

      I like the part when she asks if he speaks English.

      I had a friend who worked in a clothing store in NYC. James Taylor came in, and was so wasted he almost walked out without pants. She had to stop him before he left.

      • Grandma

        I think your Grandma stole the scene as an emerging Punkster standout with Impressive doo and shades, truly a women ahead of her time that even got a positive reaction from the icon himself, where he has been known to snub those who press in the past.

        • Great shades...

          She would have been intrigued to hear that she was an emerging punkster. Not sure what her friends at the fashionable Punta Gorda Yacht Club would have said about that description. : )

          Perhaps he responded because she didn’t really know who he was, and therefore didn’t exert any “crazed fan” energy toward him.

          My grandmother had the ability to summon people. Very often, she’d be telling some story of some friend of a college friend who married someone who they hadn’t seen in years…. and then the doorbell would ring and that person would be there. Or they’d call. It was weird.

          • Go Granny Go

            Maybe Bob will end up on your door step someday with that autographed napkin she dropped that day!

  • Whoda Thunk?

    I used to frequent Gerde’s Folk City in NYC”s Greenwich Village.
    There was a performer there who was billed as “Little Bobby Zimmerman”
    You’ve come a long way, Bobby!

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