How Prince helped create life in Woodhaven
by Ed Wendell
Apr 26, 2016 | 12299 views | 0 0 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Teresa Heesemann Reeves and her Prince guitar.
Teresa Heesemann Reeves and her Prince guitar.
Private Kristina Karkota was born because her mom won a contest and a guitar signed by Prince.
Private Kristina Karkota was born because her mom won a contest and a guitar signed by Prince.
When news broke last week that Prince had died, people took to social media to share stories and recollections. For some, it was a favorite song or album. For me, it was the memory of my very first date with my wife on August 31, 1984, seeing Purple Rain at the Continental Theater in Forest Hills.

But Teresa Heesemann Reeves, who grew up and still has family here in Woodhaven, shared a memory of the late artist that topped them all. You see, it was Prince who helped Teresa get pregnant.

Flashback! It was February, 1993, and Reeves had won tickets from radio station Z-100 to attend a St. Patrick’s Day party at Tavern on the Green in Central Park.

At the party, she took part in an apple-bobbing contest and won tickets to a Prince concert, along with a chance to win his guitar. Not just any guitar, but a custom-made Yellow Cloud electric guitar adorned with the symbol Prince had adopted in the midst of his battle with Warner Brothers.

It was the very same guitar he used in concert and in the video for the hit song “Cream” from the popular “Diamonds and Pearls” album.

A few nights later, Reeves gets a call from Z-100. Not only did she win the guitar, but she also won front-row seats to see Prince at Radio City Music Hall, where she would be presented with the guitar.

“I was shaking, I couldn’t believe it because I loved Prince,” Reeves recalls. “I had been listening to Prince since high school. And I was excited I was going to have his guitar, one that he actually played.”

At Radio City Music Hall, Reeves was presented with the guitar and enjoyed the concert. She was approached by a rep from the Hard Rock Café and famous people like concert promoter Ron Delsner and actor/comedian Jamie Foxx with offers to buy the guitar from her.

“I was offered $5,000 for it and I said ‘no way!’” she said. “I am holding on to this thing for life!”

She didn’t get to meet Prince that night as he was notoriously shy. “We did end up getting near him,” she recalls. “Sitting in the front row was the closest I got to him, and I was thrilled.”

Afterwards, she brought the guitar home and friends and family enjoyed taking pictures with it. And then it was locked away in a glass cabinet where it was destined to remain until fate intervened.

“A few months later, my ex-husband and I found out that we couldn’t have children without the help of fertility medication, and our insurance company wouldn’t pay for it,” Reeves said.

The medication was costly and only thing Teresa had that was worth any real money was Prince’s Yellow Cloud guitar.

“It was a no-brainer,” she says. “I really wanted to be a mom.”

They enlisted the help of Christie’s auction house, and it was sent to London and ended up being featured on the cover of their catalog. And after commission, Teresa ended up receiving approximately $25,000.

The medication worked and shortly thereafter Teresa’s dream of being a mom came true. She named her little girl Kristina, but always called her “princess,” as a nod to her favorite artist.

Kristina grew up here in Woodhaven, went to St. Thomas the Apostle and, in time, would join the Army. Private Kristina Karkota, born because her mom won a contest and a guitar, would be trained on the Patriot Missile Launcher and serve overseas in Kuwait.

Reeves was saddened when she heard that Prince died, as she always hoped that somehow she’d have the opportunity to share her story and to thank him for one of the greatest examples of a gift that keeps on giving.

Artists have a way of touching the lives of people they never meet. This was the story of how Prince helped in the creation of a person, right here in Woodhaven; a young woman who grew up to serve our country.

You just never know.

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