Updated: Aug 2, 2021
“ A few weeks later, the autographed photos began to arrive. Each day, my heart would race as I opened the mailbox, wondering who would acknowledge our friendship. "
By the age of twelve, I would run home from school to watch Mike Douglas, then Merv Griffin, then beg to stay up through primetime for Johnny Carson, my favorite, as the humor was more risqué and I “got” the inside Hollywood jokes. I absorbed it all, creating a cross reference of celebrity stories and relationships which made me feel as though I was a part of their world. With my cheaply stapled copy of The Star Address Book Volume IV, ordered from the back of one of my mother’s gossip magazines, I began to write fan letters of admiration with a tone of familiarity. A few weeks later, the autographed photos began to arrive. Each day, my heart would race as I opened the mailbox, wondering who would acknowledge our friendship. Carol Burnett answered first, and I lightly scratched her signature with the edge of my mother’s comb to see if it was real ink. Next came a handwritten note from Sally Struthers, which I ran to show our neighbor Elinor, holding it carefully so the words wouldn’t smudge. I got a Christmas Card with “God Bless You” written in red marker from Charlene Tilton, and I placed it on the TV next to the other cards from relatives. Phyllis Diller sent me a photo and a recipe for her favorite omelette. Isabel Sanford wrote “To Scott, Stay Sweet,” and signed her picture “Weezy.“ When Barbra finally arrived, I ran up to my bedroom to open the envelope, and my hands shook and I cried a little, although I knew she was away shooting The Main Event so she probably never read my letter.