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~