When I was eight years old, my dad asked me if I wanted to skip school for the day and tag along on some of his business calls in New York City. My eight year old ears could barely believe what they were hearing: I’d always heard about the mysterious New York City and I couldn’t wait to go and figure out why everyone was always eating apples there. And, I wanted to know why no one ever slept there. I was also excited to travel by a very exotic means: a commuter bus that had a bathroom. Trust me, it’s the little things that make a big impression, people.
As I climbed onto the bus that February morning, wearing my puffy lavender Rothschild coat and what I considered my most business like dress (I later came to find out that executives DO NOT wear white tights and black Mary Janes), I could barely contain my excitement. I felt so grown up and I couldn’t believe my dad let me join him. As we neared the city, my country girl eyes couldn’t not believe the sea of concrete, lights and traffic in front of me. I was enthralled with the busy and when I saw the man relieving himself on the tiles of the Port Authority, I knew I was in for a treat.
When we got to the company offices in Manhattan, we were greeted by my dad’s friend and colleague, Janina. Janina was the fanciest woman I had ever met and I admired her high heels, bright blue eyeshadow and HUGE hair (man, do I miss the 80s…). Since my dad had actual business to conduct, Janina offered to take me on a little adventure to South Street Seaport (side note: now that I have two Fruit Loops, I realize that the reason she offered to take me out of the building was probably because having an eight year old in an office setting gets old REAL FAST and Janina was most likely saving my dad’s sanity). Janina took me for a cookie and hot chocolate and I bought a genuine, authentic bag of seashells with my allowance money in one of the gift stores. I was so fancy!
Janina and I returned to the offices and after what seemed like hours of doodling on yellow legal pads, investigating the break room and looking out the window and marveling that we were “so high up!”, my dad was finished with his meetings. We bid Janina goodbye and headed out to see some sights. As we stood on the street corner and I watched my dad hail a cab, I was amazed that he knew how to act like a New Yorker. I also decided that cab rides were the best thing ever because I didn’t have to wear a seat belt. Again, the little things.
After watching the ice skaters in Rockefeller Center, our last stop was the NBC Building. We walked up to the entrance and the giant, brass revolving door looked immense to my eight year old self. I pushed myself through the doors and felt the excitement of being in a real television building filled my chest. Overwhelmed with excitement, I turned to express my glee to my father and was immediately greeted with the feeling of a grown man’s gut in my face. In my excitement, I’d walked smack dab into a business man and his three piece suit.
That businessman was Tom Brokaw.
THE Tom Brokaw.
Now, I’d like to say that Mr. Brokaw knelt down, gave me a sweet fist to my chin and said in his characteristic voice, “Hey, there, kiddo, how would you like to write for us someday? Come back in thirty years and we’ll set you right up, okay? Tell them I sent you” but I’d be lying. He did, however, smile kindly and said, “Excuse me” in that voice that we all know and love. As he walked away and my dad explained that the man was the one in my television set every night, I was star struck. New York had officially become my favorite city and my dream of meeting a famous person had come to fruition.
Bumping into Mr. Brokaw remains my biggest celebrity sighting to date unless you count the time I saw Dr. Ruth having dinner in Emeril’s Steakhouse in New Orleans or when I saw Hulk Hogan at Newark Airport. (Oh, and I did get Toby Keith’s autograph on a bottle of tequila two summers ago but I’m still embarrassed at my inability to form coherent sentences and him having to ask me “You alright, sister?” because I was actually squeeeing. So, I don’t count that one).
Flash forward thirty years, two Fruit Loops and one blog later, I have to pinch myself EVERY DAY that my work is being featured on the Today Show’s TODAY Parenting Team website. So far, I’ve had FIVE pieces run on their page and TWO featured on their Facebook page. AND, three separate times, the Today Show has titled me “One Of The Top 11 FUNNIEST Parents On Facebook”. I can’t believe they even sent me a badge that says “TODAY Contributor”. I mean, do they realize what they’ve done??? And don’t even get me started on the fact that I have my own Contributor Page.
I don’t mind admitting that I’m still that little eight year old girl in the NBC lobby excited to have her dreams come true. And, if I ever get so lucky as to be invited on the TODAY show, you better believe, I’ll be facing forward the whole time so I can meet Mr. Brokaw head on.
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