Saturday, January 26, 2008

One would think I live a glamorous life. One would be wrong.

I haven't been that into memes lately. Been there, done that. But this one at Sarah O.'s blog really intrigued me. It's the Seven Famous People I've Met meme:

  1. Kurt Vonnegut -- Don't ask me why, but he was in the Roanoke, Virginia airport one day in the mid-1980s. Some friends and I were there seeing off some exchange students and spotted the literary great and spoke with him briefly.
  2. John Grisham -- He lives around here and buys food at some of the same places I do. I haven't actually met him; however, I have seen him with my very own eyes and I have spoken with his wife a couple of times and she is an absolutely lovely, gorgeous, gracious woman.
  3. Jan Karon -- Another famous author who lives in my town. I heard her speak several years ago and she was so very entertaining. At the reception afterward, she made a point to shake hands with each person and look us in the eye while asking questions about us.
  4. Sissy Spacek -- This lovely actress lives here in my town. Technically, I haven't officially met her, but I have bumped into her a couple of times. The first was about 15-16 years ago, when she was shopping at the same grocery store. At the time, she had a small child on her hip. More recently, I saw her downtown with her family, including her daughter Schuyler Fisk (another actress).
  5. Brooke Shields -- When I was in junior high, my language class went to Washington, DC for a long weekend. To us, this was the epitome of sophistication and culture. I think that tells you what a provincial group of kids we were. While in the Big City, we visited the Kennedy Center, where they were taping one of Bob Hope's all-star shows. Brooke Shields came out of the building and we swarmed her like a pack of dogs on a three-legged cat. Poor girl never stood a chance. Not long after, Christie Brinkley came out, saw the crowd, and escaped through another door.
  6. Fawn Hall -- A long time ago, in a galaxy far away, I was a guide at Monticello. During the first summer I worked there, Fawn Hall of Iran Contra fame came through on a tour. We guides debated whether or not we should offer her a special tour of the house, but decided against it, as her so-called fame was based on some rather non-Jeffersonian principals. Also that summer, Robin Williams visited, but I didn't get to meet him. Nor did I get to meet the Crown Prince (now king) of Jordan.
  7. Denny Hamlin -- For those of you not familiar with NASCAR, Denny is apparently a huge star and one of the best drivers out there. I, however, am not in the know about these things, but I did meet him at OUR grandfather's funeral last fall. Yes, you read that correctly. I don't feel like repeating the whole story, so the relevant links are here and here.
You wouldn't believe how many famous people live here in my town. For example, Pete has run into Howie Long, who is by all accounts just a ginormous man in real life. (I know, I know, he'd have to be if he played professional football.) I know loads of people who either know or are actually related to the various members of Dave Matthews Band, including two of my neighbors. Julian Bond (the civil rights activist), Rita Dove, and Rita Mae Brown are all local. Jessica Lange and Sam Shepard used to live here, but moved years ago. The Rock has recently bought a house here.

Pete told me to add Billy Wagner, who is apparently a Major League Baseball player, but I wouldn't know if him I tripped over him. Well hell, if we're going to add athletes, let's not forget the famous ones who attended the not-too-shabby university down the road: Tiki Barber and Ronde Barber (who grew up in the same part of Virginia as me), Herman Moore (football), John Harkes (soccer; we were in some history classes together), James Farrior (football) ... the list goes on. And while we're on the subject of the university, other alumni include Katie Couric, Tina Fey, various Kennedys, and more. The village idiot who lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington DC, has a daughter getting married this summer and the bridegroom is a student at the graduate business school, but he doesn't really count as someone famous, so I'm not putting his name in boldface. Also, I can't remember his name. And, he's most likely of the same political persuasion as his mentally deficient future FIL, so now he really doesn't count in my book.

Then there are the former presidents: Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe. Oh, and Lafayette once visited and stayed a number of nights; not that he was ever president but I think he counts as famous. I guess that's going back a bit far.

Yeah, this list could go on and on for while. It's a surprisingly high number, given that there are only 40,000 residents in town and another 85,000 in the surrounding county.

If anyone feels like doing this meme, consider yourself tagged.


Sarah O. said...

I've been to your town a couple of times and can understand why famous people choose to live there. It's gorgeous, friendly and, being a university town, very cool.

Fawn Hall? Wow, that takes me back! Meeting infamous people is much more fun than meeting plain old famous types.

Linda and her Surroundings said...

I am afraid I could only put two people down on a list of famous people I have met. And one them is dead. Must be something in the air where you live with all them famous folks.

MizMell said...

I didn't realize you lived in just a posh neighborhood! All those celebrities...

Jennifer (Jen on the Edge) said...

Mizmell: Most definitely not posh; in fact our neighborhood is incredibly normal, which is nice.

erin said...

I agree with Sarah O., I can absolutely see why people (including famous people) choose to live there. I love your town - I'd move there if I could find a job in the area! All those bookstores, all that history, the mountains...just thinking about it makes me jealous!

I've met a few celebrities, but I'm not really a big fan of it - as a general rule, it makes me very uncomfortable. I did meet Mike Doughty after a show during which he had taken requests from the audience. I told him I'd wanted to request a song but couldn't remember the name. So he asked me to sing it - and I did, despite being sober and having an awful voice. Embarrassing! But, he played the song the next night. (Possibly out of pity!)

smalltownmom said...

I've seen Bo Derek at the hardware store several times. Never saw Michael Jackson, ever! He was seen at local toy stores, many times. I think I've seen John Cleese. Who else lives around here that I haven't seen? Rona Barrett, Bernie Taupin, Noah Wilde, Tommy Aldridge from Whitesnake (who lives in a tract house!), David Crosby, Jackson Browne (a little further away), and then we get into Oprah territory. I just don't move in the right circles.

Jennifer said...

The Denny Hamlin connection? Well, let's just say I have a whole new respect for you, even if you don't care much for his career choice.


I've always loved the C'ville area in part because of the magnetism it possesses to attract such literary talent. The reasons for the attraction are quite obvious, even on a purely visual level.

Lori Anderson Designs said...

I've been (accidentally) thisclose to Reba McIntire, when she was playing on broadway -- Rick and I were walking down the way from seeing Les Miserables and I got caught in the crush! She has the best smile.