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I’m 89 and a huge Taylor Swift fan. I didn’t let my age stop me from flying to Paris to see her in concert

This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Nancy Strong. It has been edited for length and clarity.

My granddaughter, Jennifer, and I were visiting my brother in New York when tickets for the second leg of Taylor Swift’s The Eras Tour were released in Europe last fall.

It was the middle of the night because of the time difference. But we hit the internet the second they became available. “We’ve got to make this happen,” Jennifer said as we joined the virtual ticket line.

I stayed up for as long as possible before giving up and going to bed. Then, around 3 a.m., Jennifer burst into my room, threw on the lights, and yelled, “Grammy, Grammy — I got the tickets!”

Of course, I jumped out of bed screaming like crazy. It was stupid fun. We jumped up and down. We were going to Paris to see Taylor on May 9, 2024.

I’ve been a Swiftie since September 2009, when I watched the MTV Music Video Awards show at my home in Dallas.

Unfortunately, it was the infamous night that Kanye West jumped onstage, grabbed the microphone, and interrupted her acceptance speech.

At first, I was confused, thinking it was some kind of stunt. Then I realized it wasn’t. “How could he do that to that young, vulnerable, sweet girl? ” I thought.

I felt a connection to Taylor Swift

My last name is Strong, and I live up to it. I don’t like to see people bullied, and I admired how Taylor handled the situation.

The incident triggered my interest. I discovered she’d been born and raised in Reading, Pennsylvania. My husband, Asa, 93, and I lived in Reading during the 1960s — when our five sons were born — so I was very attached to the town.

It was a connection. The more I read about Taylor, the more I liked her. I was impressed that her parents were involved in her career, and she was all about family.

I’ve been blessed with 12 grandchildren, six of them girls. They told me how much they felt inspired by Taylor and related to her as a successful young woman.

We listened to her music together. We loved how she wrote about her own life in her music. She was relatable because she sang about loneliness, break-ups, and pure happiness. People understood her because her life experiences reflected theirs.

When Jennifer asked if I wanted to see Taylor with her in Paris, it was a no-brainer. I’ve run a travel agency for nearly 50 years and have flown worldwide. The only places I haven’t been are The Arctic, Antarctica, and a few countries in South America. I’ll be 90 in August but I can’t slow down.

I’m in love with Europe. When we got the Taylor tickets, we booked a weeklong vacation in Amsterdam and Paris. We paid for the business class flights with points. Five of us went to the concert, including Jennifer, 32, another granddaughter, Brianne Pattison, 36, and my daughter-in-law, Kay Strong, 66.

I was dancing so much, I thought I might tumble over

It was one of the most exciting nights of my life. Taylor has a great work ethic. She came on at 8 p.m. and left at 11 p.m., entertaining us the whole time. How she changed those costumes and showed up in those high boots is beyond me.

My favorite song is “The Man,” followed by “Shake It Up.” I went crazy when they came up. I was up on my feet so much, I was worried I was going to tumble over the seats. The atmosphere was amazing. I loved watching the audience scream their heads off.

As for my outfit, I wore a sparkly top over some pants that I bought from Anthropologie. The top covered up a multiple of sins for an 89-year-old lady. I felt great.

A few days after the show, someone posted an Instagram video of me dancing. You can’t see my face, but the clip went viral. I’m happy that the younger generation knows there are older people like me who love to have fun in their life.

 

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