Monday, May 24, 2010

First Crushes and Brushes with Fame


When I was a very young girl, perhaps about 4 years old or so I was watching the Young People's Concert on TV that was hosted by Leonard Bernstein. I exclaimed to my mother excitedly "WHO IS THAT MAN?" Leonard Bernstein, she replied. "I LOVE HIM!" I said.
I guess at four years old that was a tough name to remember so every once in a while I would ask her "Who is that man I love?.... Leonard Bernstein" she would answer. "Lets say it" I would ask and we would repeat his name a few times, "Leonard... Bernstein.....Leonard Bernstein" hoping that the repetition would indelibly seal itself in my brain until the next time I needed to call him to mind. At one point I even put in a request for a Leonard Bernstein coloring book.
I mean we had one for Captain Kangaroo for Pete's sake! ( did I really just say for Pete's sake? that is so not me!) My folks happened to have a friend that actually KNEW Leonard Bernstein and it was reported to him that there was this little girl that wanted to have a Leonard Bernstein coloring book. and do you know what he said? "How Sweet"

I think that my mother thought that this might mean that she'd have a musician in the family but I'm afraid in my case it meant a groupie. I went on to have crushes on Hoagy Carmichael, Gene Kelly (we had an album where he sang children's songs) Harry Belafonte and even Jimmy Durante!

I continued on with my musician crushes- Paul McCartney of course. One of the problems I had with my Paul McCartney crush though was that after seeing " A Hard Days Night" in second grade I realized the inappropriateness of our age difference and had to work out my fantasies into something like me being his child and he would "Want to hold my hand" and we could listen to Beatles records together.

Into the teenage years was intrigued by another conductor, Seiji Ozawa. I had a full on crush on Leonard Cohen's voice and Tim Buckley. There was a boy at school that looked like Tim Buckley so that was enough for me to have a crush on him although I never did actually speak to him, I'm not sure I even knew his name. Mystery is good for crushes sometimes.

When I was in college I was telling my grandmother about a friend that was going to be studying for two weeks under Leonard Bernstein and then two weeks under Seiji Ozawa.
My grandmother quickly exclaimed "I'd like to spend two weeks under Seiji Ozawa!, I just think he's so charming!" at which point my grandfather said. "Marion always did have a bit of the Aphrodite in her" My mother still cannot believe that this conversation took place!

As far as brushes with fame, my friend and I climbed up on an outdoor stage where Dr. John was playing and danced in the background.

I square-danced with Dave Brubeck's son when they came to Alaska in the late 70's. My mom said that was equivalent to one of my kids dancing with Paul McCartney's kid's in her mind.

Since then I've only had a couple of brushes with celebrity. Jeff Tweedy from Wilco was tying his shoe on the bench I was sitting on in the Chicago airport. I had just seen them in concert a month previous, otherwise I wouldn't have recognized him, I was that new to Wilco.

Susan Stamberg from NPR stopped by my booth at the Farmers Market and admired my work.
I didn't realize who she was until I saw her picture in the paper a few days later.

Aside from a minor Palin sighting at the market that's about it for my brushes with fame. (no, she didn't stop by and admire my wares but that's OK)

As far as my crush on Leonard Bernstein goes, it's still easy to see why I was so inspired by that passion and energy he exuded and why I was so thrilled by him at my sophisticated young age of four.

I would love to hear about your first crushes and brushes too~


  1. I lol when I read Captain Kangaroo. I used to love Mr. Green Jeans and also my dad's barber Uncle Louie
    who I told everyone I would grow up and marry. the only brush with someone famous is an architect who
    created/wrote "Cradle to Cradle" about upcycling- William Mcdonough, who I greatly admire. Met him and had him sign a copy of my book...... if Candace gets here soon she can come with me to Squam!!!!

  2. Gosh that's taken me back I was about 10 and in primary school there was a boy who used to go past the school on his way to 'big school' his name was Terry Floyd i never spoke to him but me and Diane Hopkins has a massive crush on him .Once although I am ashamed to admit it we scratched his name on the door of the school toilets...I have never told anyone this how funny it was so out of character for me ....he he ...I had a crush on Gene Kelly too his smiley face and amazing dancing also Marc Bolan ..I was totally 'gone'on him
    as for brushes with fame mmmm when I was 14 and on a school trip in Austria I danced with Cliff morgan who was a Welsh TV presenter ( I am Welsh ) so it was a BIG deal ..xx

  3. Crushes and brushes. I love this title. It might just call for a post of my own. Brushes would feature Woody Allen, Tony Randall, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Jane Alexander, Jodie Foster, Jimmy Dean...I'm sure there's more...just can't remember. I lived in NYC and have run into stars at the Sundance Film Festival.

    Crushes would be: Yul Brynner, Tom Watson and Daniel Craig.

    I totally understand the Leonard Bernstein thing. He was pretty engaging.

  4. Some people think my husband looks like Daniel Craig but in Asia they thought he looked like Hulk Hogan!

  5. Gosh, this post and the comments send someone like me careening through her free associations. By the way, Lorna, my family are Welsh ~ my last name is Morgan. My ancestors came to the U.S. from Blaneau Ffestiniog where I have visited.

    Crushes ~ John Lennon until the day he died. I lay in my bed at night in Salt Lake City, age 12, almost praying that he'd put his life on hold and let me get just 6 years older. I'm not sure how I thought we were going to bridge the distance between the U.K. and S.L.C. or what we were going to do with Cynthia and Julian.

    Brushes ~ my beloved late stepmother was one of two nieces of Gene Autry who had no children of his own. So - Uncle Gene. When I was in high school, the musical group The Turtles were local young men who threw lots of parties. And, in June, 1968, I shook the hand of Robert Kennedy in Olvera Street in Los Angeles - the original Mexican settlement. He said about 10 words in Boston-accented Spanish and the huge crowd went wild for him. The people were packed in so tight, I'm sure he didn't know whose hand he shook, but I know. He was shot that night and died the next day.

  6. lived in LA for a couple of years so had lots of brushes, more than I can even tell you about, mostly at the local pizza joint where the LOCALS all went with their kids. it was just soo normal! can't think of any crushes though!!

  7. When I was little, taking piano lessons, I wanted to BE Liberace and got to see his show in Vegas twice. I always remember asking my Dad for a baby grand piano like his. As I got older I realized Liberace was more about the "entertainer" and not the "pianist" that I wanted to be, and when I turned 40 I gave myself a birthday present and bought that 6ft baby grand that I always wanted!

  8. hey Kim just thought of a REALLY cool brush with fame .....although it's fame by proxy if that counts daughter sang at Buckinham palace no less for Prince Charles' 50th private birthday celebrations so she sung in front of Royals and the Queen ( she was in a choir)...I'm not sure what I think about royalty but it was a blooming big thing !!!I don't have such an exciting life ....xx

  9. Brushes by proxy, that's a whole 'nother post!
    I have a picture of my brother standing with Bill Clinton and my other brother met Baba Ram Dass back in the day and Frank Zappa sploke to hin after a show. And I was with this guy that once slept with..... oh never mind!


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