Posts tagged ‘george burns’

A QUESTION ABOUT MY PAST

Recently, a Mélange Books author asked questions of the authors with stories published in the anthology Curious Hearts. My question was, ‘Name the most famous person you had a face to face encounter with’. I thought I would share my response with you.

I pondered those considered ‘famous’ that I have met, and I came to a conclusion. Fame is relative. In some circles, a name wins instant recognition. In other circles, the same name would bring the response, “Who?”

For example, during my research career, while working at three medical schools, studying renal physiology I met many world famous nephrologists and scientists. However, unless you were familiar with the area, their names would be meaningless.

I volunteer at the Mid Atlantic Air Museum and work at their annual air show. Over the years, I have had the opportunity to shake hand with Paul Tibbets, pilot of the Enola Gay the plane that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima.
I also met Robert Morgan, the pilot of the Memphis Belle one of the most famous bombers of World War II. But to the younger generation, these names might be meaningless.

Our local bookstore, The Chester County Book & Music Company, where I had a book signing for my novel, New Moon Rising, hosts many authors. There I met Jane Smiley, but if you’re not a reader that name will bring no recognition.

For seven years I lived in West Los Angeles while working at the UCLA School of Medicine. In that area of Los Angeles, you are constantly stumbling over celebrities.
One evening, while walking back from dinner with my wife and two friends, this literally occurred. It was in the early 1980’s, and as we walked home from dinner at a local restaurant, we walked past an eatery that was an expensive establishment. There, standing on the sidewalk all alone was a short old man smoking an immense cigar. We had just walked by George Burns.
My most memorable encounter occurred around 1980. I was single then and lived next to a very mysterious woman. She would leave Los Angeles for extended periods of time and ask me to pay her bills. The strange thing was; her return date was open-ended.
One summer Saturday afternoon, after a morning of fishing at Malibu Pier, she knocked at my door and asked for a ride. Clothed in an old sleeveless sweatshirt, I said sure. I loaded my neighbor and her luggage into my VW beetle. Following her directions, I soon found myself in the hills north of Sunset Blvd with my bug passing past mansions.
We pulled into a circular drive, announce our presence, and were met by servants. I brought my neighbor’s suitcase in, and while standing in the foyer, she came in. Wearing a bathrobe and a towel around her hair, strode Peggy Lee. My neighbor was going to be her companion while she was doing a show in New York.

Those are the famous people I have met, and as time marches on, their names fade into the past, to be replaced by those who now bask in glory, but will all too soon fade into the past themselves.
Walt Trizna

October 3, 2011 at 3:57 pm 1 comment


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