Patti Smith just met her biggest fan. The rock star was giving a reading from her memoir at Illinois’ Dominican University on Sunday evening when a woman in the audience interrupted her to give her a bag containing Smith’s personal goods, which were stolen in 1979. Noreen Bender “had kept a sheer top, a Keith Richards t-shirt, a remembrance cloth and other accessories hidden away in a Bob Dylan merchandise bag for decades, waiting for the moment to return the items to her idol,” writes the Guardian. Bender came into possession of the items through a friend of her roommate in Chicago at the time.
A visibly moved Smith weeped as she recognized the items. “A clearly emotional Smith identified the top as the one she wore on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine in July 1978, and the cloth as belonging to her brother and road manager, Todd Smith, who died in 1994.” In 1979 a rental truck containing $40,000 of musical gear and other items belonging to Smith and her band was stolen outside a hotel in Chicago. Smith spent the rest of the reading with the bag’s contents beside her. “The rest of the program, after she piled everything on the podium, she couldn’t stop touching them, eventually slowly slipping the bandana into her pocket . . and proceeded to do a ripping version of ‘Because the Night‘ with her son on acoustic guitar.”