Thursday, July 16, 2009

Rubbing Elbows With The Famous Only Makes Them Sore

I have often referred to myself as a female Forrest Gump. I'm just a simple girl, really, but I have found myself flitting on the periphery of fame since I was very young. I tell these stories to friends here in Byron from time to time but I can see the internal eye roll happening and the silent, "Uh Huh. Sure," being uttered in the recesses of their brains. They either don't believe me or are summarily unimpressed. Let me drop some names:

Bob Seger (Do I need to tell you who that is?)
Madonna (Ditto)
Doobie Brothers (Ditto again)
Mike Binder (Actor, movie director)
Lee Iacocca (Saved Chrysler in the 1970's)
Stone Phillips (News)
Chris Hansen (Dateline)
Bob Woodruff (News - injured in Iraq)
John Bowman ( Actor/comedian)
Insane Clown Posse(Rap musicians)
Bob Stewart (who????)

Bob Seger's manager, Punch Andrew's lived across the street from my best friend Karen on Beach Rd. in Troy, Michigan. When Seger was first starting out - before "Katmandu" was a breakout success, Punch schlepped the albums out of his car. In fact, he gave Karen several copies and told her to pass them around because ."Soon this guy will be famous." It was probably 6 months later, I was standing in the shower with my orange Panasonic bowling ball shaped radio set on CKLW when I hear the first riff of "Katmandu." I knew it instantly and I rocked out stark naked with shampoo running down my face until the last sounds faded away and the dj started talking. It's a wonder I didn't break my neck.

Madonna grew up in Rochester, Michigan. She attended Rochester Adams High School with my husband's step brother. More interestingly, her brother Tony worked for a time for my father in law in the building business. In fact, Tony holds the honor of being the guy that wrecked their work truck in the first ( and last) week of his construction career.

In college I dated an actor/comedian. His name was John Bowman. He was with the local Boar's Head Theater in Lansing, Michigan and part of a comedy act at the comedy bar where I worked. We dated a few times and I can attest that he was a world class kisser. An actor's ego is a fragile thing so when I came back from spring break engaged to Dave, that pretty much ended the relationship. I like to think his broken heart is what prompted him to look for bigger opportunities in entertainment and it must have worked too. Every once in awhile I'd see him in a movie ( peripheral parts) and on tv ( Miami Vice - killer of girls that he dressed up like dolls - oh so creepy!) and finally, he was the last comedian to appear on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. AND GUESS WHAT! He did a bit on the Michigan Hand Map and I SWEAR TO GOD - I gave him the punchline all those years ago. That boy owes me some money.

Bob Stewart. Ever heard of him? Probably not, but I guarantee you have heard his talent. Bob was my next door neighbor and very first boyfriend. He used to come over on hot summer nights and watch "The Ghoul" - a 1970's Detroit latenight Elvira type show. My heart skips even today when I think about our first kiss (August 22, 1974) and then the subsequent on again, off again mack sessions we had throughout junior high. Teen hormones aside, Bob was really talented. He had this uncanny ability of picking up an instrument and just playing it like he was born with it. He could just sit down at a piano and play, instantly composing on the spot as he played. Then, he would go to another instrument and play it and on and on. He would record all of this on a huge reel to reel that sat on top of this old upright piano. He turned me on to Deep Purple; Emerson, Lake and Palmer, and well, never mind ( See July 4th blog concerning Jackpot and you can figure it out.)

Bob left for California in 1985. I remember sitting in his downstairs family room on a visit back to Michigan when I was 3 months pregnant with my first child. He had been out to Cally for awhile but was contemplating going out to California for good. I told him to go and give it a whirl. Twenty 24 years later, Bob owns Stewart Sound, a full service post production something or other . He is an accomplished composer and the winner of not one but TWO Emmy's. He is married and father of ( at last Christmas newsletter) 2 boys. He is the only guy I have ever heard refer to his wife as a) one of the coolest people he knows and b) so darn cute. If one measures success by what they accomplish, then Bob is a success. If one measures success by happiness, then Bob is an astounding success.

I like to think that is because of me. . .but I know better.

And that's ok, I sure as heck don't want to ride the coattails of those who have "made it," and claim a fame of my own. I measure success by happiness and with that yardstick, I am one of the most successful people know. How about you?

For a full disclosure of how and why I am connected to any of the other names listed- feel free to ask, but promise not to roll your eyes!

THIS JUST IN. . . Diane Roth Helbig wants us all to know she went steady with Bob Woodruff for one week in 6th grade. Molly, do you want to weigh in????

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