Banjo Friends

A Visit With Trudy
by Glady Zwink

July 2000

It was a long wait, more than a year, but the much anticipated day finally came. Thanks to Chris Stone and Jack and Barbara LaFond, we were on our scenic way to Enumclaw to visit the lady who, with Jack's help, sold me her elegant custom-made Richelieu plectrum banjo, with its Rosemaling (hand painted flowers) decorating the resonator inside and out.  (Richelieu’s Rick Tipple carefully restored this instrument to its original condition, erasing all evidence of the many hours of use during Trudy’s years of performing with it.) In days gone by, this banjo’s owner was known as Seattle’s Sweetheart of FUN. Her name is Trudy Hawley. After several years of hearing other club members fondly telling of many funny incidents that happened when entertaining with Trudy, I was soon to meet her.

Trudy Hawley

Our knock on the door was answered by a vigorous “Come on in. The door is open.” We were welcomed by a lovely, well dressed blonde woman sitting in a plush royal blue chair. Her practically unlined face and cheery voice made it hard to believe she knows nearly all of the past century. ( I’m beginning to suspect Trudy and Cliff Evans' Mother have found the Fountain of Youth hidden somewhere in the hills between Auburn and Enumclaw.)

After Jack introduced us he said “Trudy you’re looking good!” Trudy laughingly retorted “That’s because it’s dark in here” But it wasn’t too dark to see the table Trudy’s granddaughter Pam had thoughtfully set with fancy cookies, cashew nuts and crystal coffee service. There was plenty of light to see the lovely vintage furniture that once belonged to Trudy’s mother-in-law and the framed photographs on the wall of Trudy in beautiful dresses performing at various events. A photo that immediately caught my eye was Trudy with Eddie Peabody who liked to entertain Seattle folks with his flashy, speedy banjo style.


Trudy recalled some humorous and happy times with long-ago members of the Seattle Banjo Club and asked about the club’s current activities, including plans for next April’s Festival. Then we told her we’d brought our banjos and would like to play for her. When I placed the restored Richelieu in her lap, Trudy remarked “My, it looks so new and shiny! I’d like to hear it”. After I played the “Triplets Schottische” she said “That sounds good. I can easily hear it.” Then we played one of her favorites, “You Were Meant For Me” which she recognized right away. That gave us incentive to do other songs which Trudy used to play and sing. After each number she’d exclaim “That sounds good!” and express her appreciation for all that is still good in her life. I kept thinking “Wow! Here is a grand lady from whom time has taken most of her physical abilities and musical skills but she has the courage to accept it with grace, serenity and contentment. There’s an important lesson here for me. I’d better remember it every time I play this beautiful instrument!”

Trudy was most pleased when we told her that other members want to come to see her. At the close of our visit Chris said “Trudy, you are a real inspiration to the rest of us banjo players.”

 Chris, You sure got that right!!!

Bill Barker, Bellevue, Washington, USA
Last Revised 01/05/01

Up One Level ] Feb 2004 ] Jan 2004 ] [ Visit w/ Trudy Hawley ] Ky Fox Obituary ] Trudy Hawley Obituary ] HallOfFame ]