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Friday, October 25, 2013

I have a feeling there are just enough obsessed teenage Taylor Swift fans, if any of them were to google deep enough into her name that she'll come across this, that I feel obliged to pass along this story from a friend, who is also a Friend, for those most devoted fans, who might actually be interested in this, unlike my 4-5 regular readers, not including the dozen or so who've visited from the Russian Federation, according to the Live Traffic Feed down the right hand side of my page.

I had heard from my F/friend Howard that a mutual friend had lived across the street from Taylor Swift when she lived up in the Wyomissing area. I'll only identify him as Taylor L., both because that is his name and because that is relevant to the rest of this story.

Actually, I'll let Wikipedia tell some background to the story, edited down somewhat:

Taylor Alison Swift was born on December 13, 1989 in Reading, Pennsylvania. Her father, Scott Swift, is a Merrill Lynch financial adviser.  Her mother, Andrea (née Finlay), is a homemaker who previously worked as a mutual fund marketing executive. She spent the early years of her life on an eleven-acre Christmas tree farm in Cumru Township, Pennsylvania. When Swift was nine years old, the family moved to a rented house in the suburban town of Wyomissing, Pennsylvania.

Swift's family owned several Quarter horses and a Shetland pony and her first hobby was English horse riding. Her mother first put her in a saddle when she was nine months old and she later competed in horse shows. At the age of nine, Swift became interested in musical theatre. She performed in many Berks Youth Theatre Academy productions. Swift then turned her attention to country music.

At the age of twelve, Swift was shown by a computer repairman how to play three chords on a guitar, inspiring her to write her first song, "Lucky You", and now began to focus on songwriting.
When Swift was fourteen, her father transferred to the Nashville office of Merrill Lynch and the family relocated to a lakefront house in Hendersonville, Tennessee. Swift later described this as "an incredible sacrifice" for her family to make.

Taylor Swift sits and leans over her oak guitar while picking a string
Swift performing at age 17 in 2006

Not being a close friend of Taylor L's, I  had never approached him directly about his story, but when we started emailing about something else having to do with Martin Luther King and Bayard Rustin, I decided to ask him if the story about his young neighbor was true.

Here is our exchange:

From: Jamie
Sent: Monday, August 26, 2013 4:26 PM
To: Taylor L.

Thanks for that, Taylor. I’m more impressed however, by the rumor that Taylor Swift grew up across the street from you? Now THAT’s historically significant! (kidding, but still cool if true.)
From: Taylor L.
Sent: Monday, August 26, 2013 5:46 PM
To: Jamie McVickar


It is not a rumor, Scott Swift bought the small truck farm across the road from us and later the small farm adjacent to us on our side of the road. Some years later he married Andrea, then Taylor and her younger brother were born. Scott was under privileged in that he did not grow up on a farm so I taught how to do a lot of things around his farm and helped him with the care of a part of the orchard.

The Swifts had horses and built a riding and jump rink. Taylor learned horses at an early age and seemed quite good with them. Other than the horses and a monster swing set Scott built for her, she was not an out-doors girl. Some years ago a TV program featured Taylor correctly explaining pictures of her on the horse farm on which she lived as a child. The announcer then thanked Taylor for describing her horse farm in Wyomissing. (Those living in the 1/2 to 30 million dollar close together houses in Wyomissing make sure there are no horse farms in Wyomissing.)

The Swifts sold the farm and moved to a rented house with one of the best addresses in Wyomissing when Taylor was about 10 years of age. Her publicity says she is a Wyomissing native. She is a Cumru Township, Freemansville Road, native and only lived in Wyomissing about four yeas before moving to Nashville, TN. Scott and Andrea were good level headed people, it is not surprising that Taylor seems to be the same.

From: Jamie
Sent: Tuesday, August 27, 2013 11:37 AM
To: Taylor L.

Wow, this is a great story, Taylor, thanks. I saw a recent story, in the Inquirer maybe, or NY Times about the family who bought their house and is now selling it. The article gave the address and just for fun, I googled it and it was more McMansion than farm, so I wondered about the farm references until I read your email which better explains things. I am a fan of her music and her approach to her celebrity status, which as too many young women (Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, Miley Cyrus) have shown, is not an easy road to navigate.

Obviously her parents showed their appreciation for your help on their farm by naming their first born child after you. J

From: Taylor L.
Sent: Tuesday, August 27, 2013 9:16 PM
To: Jamie McVickar


Your saying "naming their first born child after you" may be an overstatement.  When she was born, Scott came over to announce the birth and her name, he said that one of the names Andrea considered was Taylor (Taylor was becoming a popular girl's name at this time) and Scott said I was a pretty good fellow and thus he had no objection to the name Taylor.

So now you know the rest of the story. Kinda cool.

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