The stage is Colvin’s home

The stage is Colvin's home by David Lias Vermillion has changed a great deal since Shawn Colvin's family moved away from here when she was 12 years old.

When the Grammy Award winning vocalist stepped on the stage of Slagle Auditorium Saturday night, however, she knew by the warm response of the large audience that she had returned home.

One of the first things she told the audience after performing her first song was of the great anticipation she felt by performing in the town where many of her dearest childhood memories were formed.

"I do this professionally, but tonight I feel like an amateur," she said, joking with the audience, "I'm nervous . . . I am standing naked before you now . . . and the Queen of England and Sting in Carnegie Hall."

Above the laughter, an audience member near the front row shouted loud enough for Colvin to hear, "We love you Shawn."

From that moment on, her performance just took off. Standing alone on the stage, with no musical accompaniment other than her guitar, she would string a popular song with one that hadn't received as much exposure to the public.

And then, she would stop briefly to talk to her audience, many whom who had something in common with her — they were living in Vermillion the same time that she did.

She noted how the theme of a lot of songwriters is to "get out" of the small towns or dead end jobs that once were part of their youth.

"I think it's very interesting, because we 'get out,' and then we write very nostalgically about where we came from," Colvin said.

Nostalgia, she said, played an important role in her first trip to Vermillion since moving away from here as a child.

Colvin admitted, though, that her stroll down memory lane has been made difficult. Many of Vermillion's institutions that made a great impression on her during her youth aren't around any more.

"Here's some of the places I was looking forward to going to," she said. "Some of you will remember these places, some of you won't. I really want to go the The Cavalier. Chocolate ice cream every Thursday. It's gone."

She asked what's at the site of the eating establishment today. The audience informed her a building there now houses a plumber and a beauty shop.

Every Wednesday, her dad used to take Colvin and her siblings to Bill's Tip Top Cafe to eat. A bank is now located where the cafe was once.

"We would always get a steak sandwich, which was a steak, french fries, bread and salad," Colvin said. "My dad always said the definition of a salad at Bill's Tip Top Cafe was a quarter of a head of iceberg lettuce with some orange stuff poured on top."

She asked of the fate of Jacobson's Bakery, and learned that it, too, no longer was open.

"You can see it all has to do with food," Colvin said. She added, though, that she would be stopping by the Congregational Church, where she sang her first solo in the junior choir during a Christmas service.

And, Colvin said, she would stop by Jolley Elementary School. "It's the incidents on the Jolley School playground I remember the best — the cuts and bruises and scrapes and all the fun we had."

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