16 July 2008

Fame & Fortune

Two women came into the bookstore, one looked mildly familiar but it wasn't until Colleague-Who-Sometimes-Terrifies-the-Customers turned on a brilliant smile and charming manner that I was sure. They wore tattered unkempt clothes the way the famous do when they don't want to be recognized. I did not recognize the woman from her fame, although I'm mildly aware of it, but because she is the mother of sommeone I went to school with. Said daughter is now quite famous herself and her face has appeared, to my astonishment, on the tabloids lining the grocery store aisles. I have never been one for knowing who is famous - I've never lived in a house with a television, I didn't see my first movie until I was eleven, and living in remote places for extended periods of time means that I only see them in blocks and spurts (I do enjoy a good movie - don't get me wrong) - and although I seem capable of remembering the latin names for all 6 sub-species of wild turkey in North America I never seem to remember the names of the famous, not the singers who's songs I like, not movie stars, not sports heroes. It's something that comes in handy in this town which lies down valley of a playground of the rich and famous who like to pretend that they aren't.

I was not entirely sure whether I should say anything but if it was the mother of any of my other classmates I would ask because I'm always curious what people I once knew are up to. So when she bought her book I asked "You are So-and-So's mother, aren't you?". She was a bit surprised, surprised perhaps, that I didn't ask her to confirm herself to be her own famous self. I explained that I had gone to school together with her daughter and her face lit up. When I asked how her daughter was doing she said "well, she's arrived, she's made it". Well, what else did I expect? She probably would expect me to sell any real information to the paparazzi. How was she to know that I would never do such a thing? That it wouldn't cross my mind (I mean, I wouldn't even reveal her identity to you all)? Then she relented and said, "you know, thank you for asking, because just because she's famous doesn't mean it's been easy". We then talked about her sons one of whom is also famous and another who seems to be going somewhere with rugby. But what surprised me was that the one child she seemed the proudest of was the one pursuing his PhD in a difficult Asian language. She said she would pass on my greetings to her daughter and I wonder if she will remember me? I rather tend to think not since she has probably met thousands of people since being famous, but then how do you forget your classmates out of a class size of 12?

It's funny, because what I most remember about her was her ferocious temper. I wonder if she still has that temper? All of the super market tabloids that she has graced show her beautiful and smiling. She was lucky at first that they treated her well, but in the past years she has gotten rougher treatment and I hope that she does not see them although I'm sure she stands in super market aisles occasionally herself and cannot avoid them all together. I cannot imagine living life in that spotlight and would not want to but I hope she goes well.


  1. Wayfarer, it's interesting that she said it hadn't been easy for her daughter. I wonder if she thinks that we all imagine being famous is easy? Anyone with any empathy has to see that it must be awful in some ways - though gratifying in others, of course.

  2. parlance, whew! Someone commented! I was wondering if there was something distasteful about the post - truth be told, it's a bit wordy and not well polished. It is interesting what she said - perhaps she does think we think that?

  3. I don't think the post was in any way distasteful. It was nice of you to ask and your classmates mom could probably sense that your question was genuine.

  4. Indeed, how do you forget your classmate when your class size is 12? Wow! That's a really small class!

    I wonder if the mother seemed more proud of her child pursuing the PhD because, unlike her other children, he doesn't get much acclaim (validation?) from the world? Not that she isn't proud of her other children, but I think to purposefully pursue something off the beaten track (for your family) is probably very difficult and maybe she recognizes that? Or I could be wrong. It happens.

    (I'm catching up on my blog reading, so sorry this is delayed.)


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