It happened on her fourth trip. Chesca Potter had a dream come true. She met Taylor Swift backstage after her concert at Gillette on July 7.

Four years ago, at her first Swift concert, she came close. Her dad, Bells Potter, bought tickets in “the pit,” right next to the stage. They arrived early, met the security detail, and Bells arranged for Chesca to present Taylor with flowers at the end of her performance. All went well, with Chesca standing in waiting with the flowers, when a well-known Boston personality shoved her aside, enabling his granddaughter to deliver the flowers instead.

The next year, at her second concert, Chesca wrote Taylor a letter and made several copies. They stayed at her hotel in Boston. Their goal was to deliver the letter to Taylor. They left copies of the letter in several strategic places with no luck.

As is well known, Taylor Swift concerts are attended by thousands of people. From these thousands, 20 are chosen to meet her after the show. “You need to learn how to play the game,” Bells said. “First, you must sit in “the pit,” right next to the stage. There’s a picker—a person who chooses the 20 fans to meet with her. You need to spot her and impress her in some way.”

They did a pretty good job in Ottawa for concert number three. They dressed in costumes, performed for the picker as she strolled by, gained her attention, and she promised to return for them. When the picker failed to show up after the show, Chesca was crushed.

One of Chesca’s favorite Taylor Swift songs is “Wonderland.” For concert number four at Gillette, Chesca went as Alice, Bells as the White Rabbit, Kerry, Chesca’s mom, as the Queen of Hearts, and her cousin Genevieve as the Cheshire Cat. It worked. They gained the picker’s attention, and this time she returned for them.

The four spent an hour backstage, and 15 minutes with Taylor Swift. “She was wonderful,” Chesca said with a huge smile. “She asked me about my school and my life on the Vineyard. Mom and Dad talked to her about some people they knew in common. My dream was to hug her one time and thank her for her beautiful music. I hugged her three times. It was so awesome.”

I left the Potters’ living room with the sense that I had just interviewed a very determined and focused young woman. It will be fun to watch Chesca as she works her way through school and beyond. I wouldn’t be surprised to see many of her dreams come true.

Richard Taylor writes about African Americans who have made dreams come true. Taylor has the lead article in the upcoming summer issue of the Dukes County Intelligencer, a publication of the Martha’s Vineyard Museum. The article is entitled “A Shared Vineyard Vision: Harry Burleigh, Luella Coleman and the Rise of an African American Summer Colony.” The article is adapted from his forthcoming book, Hemmed in No More: Martha’s Vineyard African American Profiles. In the article Taylor provides some interesting history of the Shearer Cottage and some of the famous people who have summered there. It’s an article you won’t want to miss.

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