Today I’ve spent most of the day in bed with a full-blown sinus infection. I haven’t been able to read or think or write. But my medication must be working, because I feel a bit better at the moment. Well enough to attempt a Slice. For help, I turned to Listography: Your Life in Lists. Created by Lisa Nola, this book “is designed to help you create your autobiography through list making.” This book contains over sixty different possible lists, with everything from “Places You’ve Lived” to “Favorite Records” and “Your Life’s To Do List.” I choose “Famous People You’ve Encountered.” I didn’t include all the rock-star educators and authors I’ve met at readings and conferences because, as thrilling as it is to meet my heroes in real life, those encounters aren’t really random.
Martin Sheen—I grew up (and still live) in a very small town in northwestern Connecticut. Our neighbors were mostly farmers, with a variety of business owners and professionals mixed in. But there were also many weekenders; people up from New York City enjoying the countryside. Each year, the firemen in our town hold a country fair to raise money. A parade filled with firemen and trucks from neighboring towns kicks off the weekend. When I was 13 or so, my friends and I were walking along the parade route when we noticed Martin Sheen standing at the edge of the crowd. We boldly walked right up to him and asked him for his autograph, which he gave to us. I don’t remember him actually saying much. This was in the early 70s, and he was in his brooding bad-boy phase. He was so handsome. He looked like he’d just walked off the set of Badlands. I can’t imagine he came to Bridgewater for our fair, but he might have been visiting any one of the movie stars who live in my neck of the woods.
Mia Farrow—She has lived in town for as long as I can remember. She keeps a low profile, but also is out and about like everyone else. I’ve run into her at the local store and the post office. She’s always friendly and says hello.
Caroline Kennedy—One year during Christmas break, my sister and I went to New York for a “girls day.” Our first stop was the Metropolitan Museum of Art. There was most likely a special exhibit we wanted to see, but I don’t remember what it was. After we left the museum, we were walking down Fifth Avenue debating about getting a cab when we noticed a family leaving the park after a sledding adventure. One of the children was crying hysterically about going home; she wanted to keep sledding. I smiled sympathetically at the girl’s mother, who was calmly explaining why it was time to go. My sister, afraid I would embarrass her, pulled my arm and hissed at me to “just keep walking.” I was surprised at her vehemence. The wind was whipping in our faces and I had no intention of stopping. It was only when the woman looked up and smiled back at me that I realized who she was. I was comforted to know that Caroline Kennedy’s kids gave her just as much of a hard time as my own.
Dustin Hoffman owns a home in a neighboring town and for years I longed to bump into him. Lately though, I’ve heard that Daniel Day-Lewis loves a certain restaurant nearby. Is it a coincidence I always want to go there for dinner? I don’t think so.
Thank you to Stacey, Betsy, Beth, Kathleen, Deb, Melanie, Lisa and Lanny for creating this community and providing this space for teachers and others to share their stories every day in March and on Tuesdays throughout the year. Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers to read more Slice of Life posts.