Once In A Lifetime – Kindness
Back when I was in high school there was an old family friend of my parents who used to pull out a yearbook and show me the picture of a couple people she went to school with.
It was cool she went to school with them, but most of us have someone famous we went to school with or a school close to us.
I didn’t really think she knew this particular person. The person, who by the way is probably a permanent A list mostly movie actress who has more than a handful of Oscar nominations/wins.
The family friend had a party one day and lo and behold the actress was there.
Just as loud and lovely as you probably imagined she would be.
She was very nice and loved/hated being the center of attention.
At one point she started swearing and yelling at her wig which she was tired of adjusting and handed it to me.
The rest of the party she was strolling through the party, talking and taking pictures while she consumed vast quantities of wine which ended up everywhere as she spoke.
She was big into hand gesticulations which works fine if there is nothing in your hand.
Wine would go everywhere, but no one seemed to mind.
Fast forward a few years.
The family friend died of breast cancer.
It was sudden and it still gets me in the feels all these years later.
At the funeral, our actress was there.
She was a complete 180 from the party.
Dressed in black.
Black mink coat too.
I remember it was drizzling that day and she looked as if she was about to slip on some stairs.
I took her hand and then she looked at me a couple of times and remembered from a few years back that I was the one who held her wig all night.
She then went on a 15 minute monologue about life and death and was just rambling away.
She asked me if I was in school and I said yes.
She then asked if I was working and I said yes.
She made me give her my phone number and said she was going to check in on me.
I really didn’t believe it, but once every two or three months she would call and check up on me.
About a year after the funeral, she made one of her calls and we started talking about a charity she worked for and basically forced me to spend some time with.
I was glad she did and because I was doing it she got me some jobs doing some things for some people which have made it into the blinds before.
Anyway, I told her the branch I was working at was having an auction and was missing something really big to auction off.
There were lots of small and medium things but nothing big.
Something that had been promised had been pulled.
I asked if she had any ideas.
She said she had one.
She said to come meet her the next week in NYC and she was sure she could solve my problem.
It was a Saturday when we met in NYC and she said we were going to have tea.
I had never had tea before.
I mean I drank tea.
Oh, I guess I would drink hot tea when I would eat at Chinese restaurants, but no high tea for me.
I like real food.
I actually thought we were going to a restaurant.
We actually ended at an apartment building.
This was not some 100 story tower rising into the sky.
I remember the doorman wanting to be thorough, but our actress was having none of that and just walked to the elevators and we went up.
The actress had not told me who I was meeting or who we were having tea with, but I instantly recognized her when the door opened.
I had only seen her in pictures.
I am not even sure I really had seen her in video except for the one thing every one on the planet has seen.
I know I had my mouth open, but of course, our actress took care of that.
I believe she said something like, “I hope you have some f**king whiskey to put in that tea, because I need a drink.
Oh, and this is ___________. Say hi to __________.”
The woman who answered the door is permanent A+ list in the whole world.
She could not have been more charming or gracious and laughed just as loudly as our actress.
It was three hours of each of them telling stories.
Stories where I didn’t know half the people they were discussing and only vague thoughts of who some others were, but it didn’t matter.
The stories were so good and they were having so much fun, that I didn’t want the day to end.
I’m not sure I talked for more than a total of 10 minutes.
At the end of three hours, the actress pointed at me and said that I need something for this charity auction and did she have anything.
The ask was so abrupt.
It didn’t seem to phase the A+ lister though and she disappeared for a minute and came back with some antiquity.
She then rummaged through what looked like a library card catalog and pulled out a car which had all the information on the piece.
She then took out a sheet of her stationary and wrote two sentences and signed it.
You could tell she had done this before.
Apparently it was a crown that her second husband owned.
Honestly, I had no idea how valuable it was, but I knew it wasn’t something cheap.
She even had boxes for everything and I remember thanking her.
I remember her kissing my cheek goodbye.
I remember the charity not selling it at auction during the event but put it up for auction at an auction house where the item sold for almost $500K.
The actress of course reminds me of this every chance she gets.
Her two month phone call is due any day.
For years and years she has kept to it.
She has made some amazing things happen, but that one day is definitely once in a lifetime.
Permanent A list mostly movie actress: Shirley MacLaine
Permanent A+ list in the whole world: Jackie Onassis
Fundraiser: George McGovern presidential campaign, 1972