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Briggs: A Fargo superfan reunites with her musical idol after 50 years

Carol Brooks met accordionist Albert Mikesh 60 years ago. He even played at her bridal shower. She hadn't seen him since then. But they reunited for "the best birthday I've ever had!"

Back Then: Mikesh Brooks
Carol Brooks said she used to go to Albert Mikesh's concerts "many moons ago," but hadn't seen him in years. After reading about him in The Forum, she asked if he could play for her on her birthday at Villa Maria in Fargo. Tracy Briggs / The Forum
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FARGO — You have to hand it to Carol Brooks of Fargo. She knows how to leave an attention-grabbing voicemail.

"Tracy, this is Carol Brooks from the Villa Maria nursing home. I have never walked a day in my life, and I didn't even crawl as a baby."

I was intrigued.

She went on to say that she had read a story I wrote about accordion player Albert Mikesh celebrating 70 years in music . She said she was a huge fan of his back in the day — so much so that when she was set to marry the Rev. George Arthur Brooks in 1969, her friends got Mikesh to play at her bridal shower.

Back Then: Mikesh Brooks
Carol Brooks' engagement announcement from 1969, though it doesn't mention that Albert Mikesh played at her bridal shower. Forum archives

The voicemail continued.

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"I used to follow him around with his concerts many moons ago, but I haven't seen him for years and years and years. I was just wondering if I could see him again," she said.

After a few phone calls between Mikesh, his daughter Betty, Carol and the Villa Maria senior community, a meeting was set — and better yet, a celebration.

"She gave me a call and I said, 'Well, we have to have a party!" Mikesh said.

The long-awaited reunion of superfan with artist took place on Nov. 26 in honor of Brooks' 83rd birthday.

Brooks, who was paralyzed following a traumatic birth, said through the years she would buy Mikesh's records and she and her husband of 30 years would try to see him in person. But life happens and the concerts stopped. Her husband died in 2000, and she eventually moved into Villa Maria.

Mikesh arrived the day after Thanksgiving with his wife to perform a few favorites for Brooks and the other residents. He did the standards as well as a few Christmas songs. And when one resident yelled out, "How about Johnny Cash?" Mikesh obliged with a little "Ring of Fire."

Albert Mikesh plays for his super fan

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Following the concert, which lasted close to an hour and a half, Mikesh and Brooks had a nice visit. Mikesh seemed flattered Brooks was such a devoted fan.

For her part, Brooks said, "This has been the best birthday I've ever had!"

Readers can reach Forum reporter and columnist Tracy Briggs at tracy.briggs@forumcomm.com.

Tracy Briggs Back Then with Tracy Briggs online column sig.jpg
"Back Then with Tracy Briggs"

Tracy Briggs is a News, Lifestyle and History reporter with Forum Communications with more than 30 years of experience.
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