It was a few decades ago that I had my meeting with
I was very young , so young in fact ,
I don't remember how old I was exactly. The best that I can figure , thinking back , I'm guessing around eleven years old.
I never liked school. I don't know why. It could have been because of my extreme shyness or perhaps because I had went to so many different schools up until high school , which I really didn't like. It was then that I was in the same school for four years.
Before high school I spent three years , sixth , seventh and eighth grade at the same school. Before that I lost count of the different schools that I attended due to the yearly moving across country for my father's job.
It was in the sixth grade that I met Andrea. She was a cute little red headed girl with the same sense of humor as me.
We became fast friends. As a matter of fact that is when I remember starting to have those hysterical fits of laughter that I had spoke about in the past.
All it would take was a couple of crazy faces made back and forth at each other. The laughter would start and inevitably,
we'd end up getting into to trouble again.
I don't think that Andrea liked school much either because we would skip out of school frequently. We went on many adventures together during those days , most of which were taking the El ( Chicago Transit Authority Elevated Train )
from the Lake Street Station to Downtown Chicago.
We had many , many fun adventures downtown. We would go inside all of the different shops. One was a Popcorn shop that had all different forms and flavors of Popcorn. I've often wondered if it still exists. It was one of my favorite places to visit. The aroma of the delicious Popcorn would envelop us as soon as we walked through the door. We usually bought Popcorn Balls. They were portable and fun to eat.
Marshall Fields was another fun place to go to. We used to love looking at all of the different departments, quite different from today's shopping indeed !
Another time we wandered into a theater to see the movie
"Shaft". Maybe you could imagine our surprise as we went to find our seats. We were the only two little girls , little white girls in the theater !!
It didn't seem to bother anyone and we enjoyed the movie ,
so it was another fun outing.
Another thing we enjoyed doing was going inside the big and fancy hotels such as The Chicago Hilton.
We knew that movie stars would often stay there. I don't remember how we found this out but it doesn't and didn't really matter as the fun was in the hunt !!
I don't know how we found out that Frankie Avalon was staying there on this particular day but again it doesn't and didn't really matter. We both had a crush on him. You may or may not remember him. He was most famous for his beach movie's in the sixties.
I had such a crush on him that when I would watch his movie's , I would take black and white photo's of him on the Television, with my Baby Brownie camera that my mother had given me.
On this particular day that we chose not to further our education , we were determined to find and meet
Mr. Frankie Avalon.
Never underestimate the determination of a love struck young girl , let alone two ! The question was , how on earth would we find him in this huge hotel ?
We started out walking all over the inside of the hotel trying to act as grown up as possible. We didn't need to draw attention from any adults that may be wondering why we were wandering around on a school day while school was in session.
Then one of us, I truly don't remember who but it most likely was Andrea, had a great thought. Lets ask the maids !
Well let me tell you, those maids are a tight mouthed bunch!
I don't know how many maids we asked.
I don't know how many floors we searched.
I didn't know that there were secret hallways.
That's right, secret hallways. We found this out thanks to that one loose lipped maid !!
Oh it was such an odd feeling sneaking through the different floors and and hallways to find the one secret hallway that we were told about by the nice loose lipped maid.
We felt like spies on a secret mission. I guess in a way we were now that I think about it.
Anyway we finally found said hallway. It was odd. There was a main long hallway and then , as we kept walking, there it was to our right. A hallway that led several feet to a large door that had a peep hole on it.
I can't tell you how nervous we were as we walked arm in arm to the door trying so hard to be quite. At that age it's very hard to stay quite, at least for us it was.
As we reached the door, one of us decided to knock. I don't remember which one of us that it was but it was probably Andrea.
Just a few seconds went by when we heard a voice say,
" Who is it?". Then in a very timidly, shaky voice, one of us said, " We are here to see Frankie Avalon." .
I don't remember which one of us said it but it was probably Andrea.
The mysterious voice behind the door replied,
" Go away." And it was at that very moment, if you had been a fly on the wall, you would have seen two little girls
deflate. Not only did we feel deflated but fear as well.
We were afraid we might get reported and caught!
But all was not lost.
Right after we heard the voice telling us to go away, we heard another voice in the background.
It said, " Let them in." very calm and matter of fact.
The big door was opened by an unfamiliar face and it was then that my eyes took everything in very quickly.
I noticed a good sized kitchen to the left and large windows
in the living room area where the very, very big sofa sat.
The sofa that held Frankie lounging on his side in his stocking feet. I don't know why seeing him in his stocking feet was such a big deal to me but it was.
His socks were black and they looked expensive.
Maybe they came from Marshall Fields.
There we were, just Andrea, me, Frankie and this unknown man. I could not believe this was happening.
Here's the sad part. I don't remember a thing that was said by me or Andrea or Frankie. I guess I was really
" Star Struck ". I do remember him being very kind.
We didn't leave his room empty handed.
We each had a personalized, autographed, hotel information booklet in our young " Star Stuck " little hands !
We left Frankie's room feeling elated to say the least.
The big door had shut behind us.
Andrea and I turned and looked at each other and just started
screaming with happiness as we dropped to the floor kicking our feet.
I can't imagine what Frankie and the stranger thought of us at that point. Thinking back on the moment now,
I'm pretty sure they were used to that sort of thing.
Years went by and I lost touch with Andrea.
We were in different high school districts.
I met my first husband and my autograph was destroyed in a flooded basement of the house that we lived in.
But that was a memory that will never leave me.
Unless of coarse I loose my mind!
Thanks Frankie !!