Saturday, May 14, 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History - Fame

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History by Amy Coffin is a series of weekly blogging prompts (one for each week of 2011) that invite genealogists and others to record memories and insights about their own lives for future descendants. You do not have to be a blogger to participate. If you do not have a genealogy blog, write down your memories on your computer, or simply record them on paper and keep them with your files.
  • Week 20. Fame. Tell us about any local brushes with fame. Were you ever in the newspaper? Why? You may also describe any press mentions of your family members.

Well.  While I do have some friends who have some measure of local celebrity, I don't have any that are known outside of the local area, or perhaps Minneapolis/St. Paul.  Most of those are musicians in local bands. 

I've never had any brushes with fame.  The closest I would consider would be having met and had stuff signed by a couple of NFL players from the Minnesota Vikings.  When I was rather young, Bob Lurtsema was often around on tours meeting the fans, and I recall on more than one occasion seeing "Benchwarmer" Bob in person.  He was always smiling and cheerful, a great guy to the fans.  Much later, I also met John Randle (#93), also a Minnesota Viking from a later era.  He signed a small foam football for me. 

In a similar vein, and of more significance to me as a science fiction fan, I once met Ray Bradbury.  He came to town when the local State University opened a shiny new library facility, and spoke at length about his career and books, and about libraries.  He was charming and very patient with the large crowd that turned out, and spent a long time signing books for the fans, despite his advanced age.  He was almost 90 at the time. 


I suppose I did have a little brush with fame.  I used to attend science fiction conventions, and have met a couple of actors associated with Star Wars.  One was Peter Mayhew, the really tall guy under the hair of Chewbacca.  Nice guy, looking for a place to sit down to have a smoke.  Alas, the party suite I was in was a non-smoking room, so we had to turn him away.  Another year I spent some time with Michael Sheard, known in Star Wars circles as Admiral Ozzel in The Empire Strikes Back.  One of the admirals that Darth Vader eliminates for failure.  What a charming man!  Rather than hole up in a room like many convention Guests of Honor do, he was out and about sampling the parties the fans were holding all over the hotel.  He sat in our party room for quite some time telling stories and just hanging out with the fans.  At the end of the convention, he and I pulled up the plastic carpet protectors from the walkways.  Not afraid to get his hands dirty!

But really, that's all.  I appeared in a local newspaper when I was a teen, once, anonymously, so it doesn't count, right?