MEETING JIM CROCE
Just as I was turning sixteen, my sweet mother died at only 36 years old. I left Girl’s High School and my gymnastics class forever and moved to my father’s home in the suburbs. At Springfield High, while I was transforming from a cartwheeling cheerleader into a passionate folk singer, I met Jim Croce. It was on a snowy night two days before Christmas in 1963 when I was auditioning with my band “the Rumrunners,” to be a contestant in an upcoming “hootenanny” at the WDAS radio station in Philadelphia. From the moment Jim and I fell in love, good food, friends, art and music graced every facet and nearly every moment of our lives. We married in 1966 and after I attended RISD and Moore College of Art, we moved to New York City to promote our Capitol album Jim and Ingrid Croce. Through the folk movement of the sixties, we wrote our own music and toured playing for our suppers in small clubs. We ate our way across the country from collard greens at college concerts in the South to Maine lobster at The Ship’s Fare. When our album failed to get public acclaim we left New York City and moved to the countryside in Pennsylvania. There, Jim worked construction and drove a ten-wheeler while I sold my art, painted, potted and planted our garden with zucchini and thyme. In between writing “You Don’t Mess Around with Jim,” “Operator” and “I’ll Have to Say I Love You in a Song,” there were blueberry blintzes, homemade gnocchi, and squash-blossom frittatas to be enjoyed. And, as I like to call it, “The Original Croce’s Restaurant” was born.