O.K. Steve Martin rode a bike through Central Park today

And someone thought to snap his pictures. I know some of you have celebrity-sighting stories to share, and here’s mine: I was an overachieving youth and once got sent to an overachieving youth conference, in which I and others went to the Rose Garden to shake hands with the President (Gerald R. Ford, and yes! I’m that old) and the First Lady Betty (I shook her hand twice; once on her way to the podium and once on the way back) and then we went to some kind of dinner and there was Art Linkletter!

No! Really! And I posed with him but the kid taking the picture was so nervous he cut me out of the photo and all you can see is my right breast (not to worry, it’s covered) and part of my chin (I have a long one) and there stands Ark Linkletter — Mr. Kid Say the Darndest Things — grinning to beat the band.

So for all you know, without photographic evidence, I’m making this whole thing up. I promise if you go ahead and believe me, I’ll go ahead and believe you.

And thanks, Gawker, for the photo.

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55 responses to “O.K. Steve Martin rode a bike through Central Park today

  1. That’s a cool story. It must have been exciting to be there.

    My brushes with fame have only been with entertainers although I did pass by Stephen Hawking in his wheelchair on the street in Cambridge, UK once. I met Carly Simon in Martha’s Vineyard and she sang a few lines to me. I also saw Walter Cronkite in a bookstore during that same trip to MV. We just missed the Clintons in some bake shop (picking up scones maybe?) We stayed at the same hotel as Howie Mandel once; we spotted him and his family at the pool while there. I ran into Natalie Cole at another hotel in one of the shops. Her voice is so distinctive. She was buying cigarettes. :(
    I dined with Michael & Janeen Damian . (He is an actor and she is a former Solid Gold Dancer) Also dined with James Best (actor) and a few other dancers, singers, actors. I do have a few photos with them. I met Sasha Cohen (the ice skater/actress, not the actor) and Kay Panabaker (actress) at a movie premiere and have various photos from that. I met Henry Winkler and have a photo of me trying to be funny with him. Years ago when I was about 10, I was on the Bozo show.

    Then there was the time that I went to a book reading/signing and I met this wicked funny author of some memoir about Jesus and dating. She probably wouldn’t call herself famous, but it was still the best!

    • Oh, stop. That last one doesn’t count. I’ve met her and she’s no big deal. More to the point, though: How the heck did you get so close to so many famous people? Are you holding out on us? Are you someone famous yourself? Is this Elizabeth Taylor? OHMIGOD ELIZABETH TAYLOR READS THIS BLOG!!!

  2. I’ve met: Rick Bragg, Millard Fuller, Mike Huckabee, Asa Hutchinson, Cindy Sheehan, Gloria Steinem, Susan Campbell, Ms. America 2002, Blanche Lincoln, Mike Ross, and that’s all I can think of at the moment, but there are more.

    (Yeah, I was one of those over-achieving goody-goodies growing up, too.)

    • Wait! I forgot I met Gloria Steinem. And Susan Campbell, but again, Gloria Steinem was cooler. She was actually quite gracious, considering she is, well, Gloria Steinem. Was Rick Bragg nice? Loved “All Over But the Shoutin’.”

      • Yes, Rick Bragg was nice. I met him at National 4-H Congress eons ago. He was in 4-H growing up and he talked to us about his childhood and working at whatever newspaper it was. I saw a while back that he’s a professor now, even though he never went to college.

  3. Forgot to mention my pal, Julia Louis-Dreyfus. We were classmates in college and both started the same year, and both went through sorority rush together…we were close.
    All right, this one’s not entirely true. We weren’t close. Since she wasn’t famous, I don’t even know if I met her although I probably did at some point at this particular fraternity. I was a “Little Sister” there and her sorority was their favorite sorority for exchanges. I’m sure we waited in the same line for the ladies’ room and went to some of the same parties at that fraternity. I bet she’s the one that took my beer that time.

  4. I too have a Gerald Ford moment. I wrote to him the day that he was sworn in to succeed Richard Nixon…I was a fifth grader living in CT, I wrote to President Ford that I too once lived in Grand Rapids, Michigan-Ford’s home.

    Two weeks later I was shocked when I went to our mailbox and saw the return address from the White House on an actual post card signed by President Ford!

    The next day Mrs Grasso, my fifth grade homeroom teacher, thought I was a superstar as I presented my postcard from the White House signed by Ford to my classmates in Show & Tell.

    Jac, you have quite a brush with greatness past! Jac, I too enjoyed meeting the wonderful author of “Dating Jesus” as well…she truly has it going on, yet she still has time for regular folk…even the regular Repuplican folk. :)

    I also once served a beer to ESPN’s Chris Berman while I waited tables as a grad student…nice guy and a great tipper!

    • Knock it off with saying I’m famous. That gives me the willies. You know, I thought Gerald Ford was a wonderful man, myself, and the fact that I got to shake hands with Betty Ford — who was so courageous in coming out about her battle with addictions — just thrilled me to no end. I’m not even kidding. As for Chris Berman being a good tipper, that makes me smile. You often wonder how people who’ve reached the top of their field act to the Little People. I have always said you can judge a person’s character by how they treat people whom they might perceive to be “less than.” You know what I mean? Not that any one is less than, but if someone is serving you, how do you treat them? I once ended a date (100 years ago) because the guy was an ass to the waitstaff. I figured if he thought he could act like that, he was probably a bully and nah. That’s it. End of dating advice from me. That’s pretty much all I got.

      • Can’t help it. I liked the guy. Couldn’t stand his predecessor and disagreed for years about the pardon, but I liked the guy.

  5. I got a letter from Norman Rockwell, and Richard Nixon (they didn’t write me at the same time, note the Oxford Comma) I met Buddy Epsen. Had dinner with Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman (I know Ayelet from before she was famous) and met Cesar Chavez because I was at UCSanta Cruz arguing pro union with a friend, and this union organizer sidled up to me and said “Cesar Chavez is having a small meeting tonight, do you want to meet him?” so I did. :) That was a big deal. I shook Jimmy Carter’s hand when he was here campaigning for his son, and met the Worst Governor in the US, Jim Gibbons when my son was NV Charter School Student of the Year (its a small state.) And, although you probably don’t know these people, INA MAY GASKIN, who treated me as a peer, Dr.Fred Wirth (RIP), Barbara Harper, Karen Savage and Dr. Jack “God” Newman.
    The last are earthy birthy breastfeeding folks.

    • I just about split a gut over that “oxford comma.” Thank you for that. I talked to Buddy Epsen on the phone once, and we were finished with the interview and he said, “Wait a second, I have something for you: Weeeeelll, doggy!” It was one of the moments of my career I will cherish forever. I’d gone off telling him how wonderful it was for three lil’ hillbillies (my brothers and myself) to watch the antics of him and his TV family and how they were always so much smarter than the people around them. I doubt he wanted to hear even a third of what I told him, but there you are. Graciousness personified.
      Do you mind telling me a little bit about the breasfeeding folks? Are you an advocate of breastfeeding? I did so because my cousin, who was in the La Leche League, suggested it would be healthier for my son. And those moments of my time in the motherhood trenches, I will cherish forever.

    • Carol,

      I have Rockwell’s all over my condo, and a nice little picture of Nixon in the middle of my elephant collection…you are a lucky woman to have those two letters!

      Long live Dating Jesus, the conservative movement , and the Oxford comma!

  6. “The next day Mrs Grasso, my fifth grade homeroom teacher, thought I was a superstar as I presented my postcard from the White House signed by Ford to my classmates in Show & Tell.”

    Is this the same woman who became Connecticut’s governor?

    • That would be Ella? Was she a teacher?

    • Jay,
      No she wasn’t the former governnor of Connecticut-but she could have been anything my eyes back in the day. She was tall (remember I was still only a fifth grader), blonde, (Charlie’s Angels hairstyle) and smart.
      I think my teacher’s name was Linda, I remember her fondly-she was kind, and always very patient, and quick with a smile. She was probably in her mid 20s and she really seemed to enjoy teach all of us at Capt. Nathan Hale Middle School.

      • One of my favorite teachers taught me in fifth grade, too. Arlene Lambertson. She was awesome.

      • My favorite grade-school teacher was my 5th grade teacher, too. Her name was Jacqueline Bailey. She was an angel that arrived just when I needed one. I think of her when I sign my name, Jac.

        • What is it about fifth-grade teachers for some of us, I wonder? Mrs. Lambertson was there for a year, she was creative, she encouraged our creativity, she told me I could write, and then at the end of the school year she moved to teach in Oklahoma. I was heartbroken. I’d looked forward to being a sixth-grader and dropping by her classroom so she could tell me how proud she was of me.

          • Yeah, Ann McCluskey was a terrific 5th grade teacher too — very warm, very encouraging. I’m still friends with a one-semester high school English teacher (and became friends with her daughter as SHE grew up too), Rosemary Adam, who now lives in CA and whom I’ve visited a few times.

          • Mine left, too. She moved to NJ and I was so sad about that. I’ve thought of trying to find her to let her know how much she meant to me, but I think it would be impossible.

            My son still keeps in touch with one of his favorite teachers from 6th grade who retired after his class. Email & Facebook have helped with that.

            • I just may go looking for Mrs. Lambertson. I tried years ago, pre-Internet, and failed.

              • You might be able to find her. Lambertson is not that common. I looked for my teacher a few years ago using the internet and found there are too many Bailey’s.

                • Just tried it, and didn’t have luck. Dang. I hope she hasn’t joined the choir immortal. Or, I guess that could be a good thing, if she has.

  7. I forgot to mention that I went on a date with Florence Henderson’s son.

    A funny/embarrassing story: At a dinner with the entertainment types, I was seated next to an older woman (who looked fantastic for her age). We were chatting and she casually mentioned something about “while she was part of the Betty Grable show as a dancer” and then another something about “when Cesar Millan was working with her daughter’s dog for the show” (Cesar, aka The Dog Whisperer, is my hero!) and in the background from across the table I heard Joe Ciprano talking away and I kept thinking I might hear “Deal or No Deal” or “Next week on Heroes…”. Joe does a ton of voice overs for TV shows and movies. Off to my right, James Best was telling a story of pulling some practical joke on the set of “The Dukes of Hazzard”. Then it hit me, “How did I end up with these people when my only claim to fame was that I was on the Bozo Show once?” Nervously, I swung my hand out between the gazillion glasses to pick up my white wine glass and on the way knocked over my husband’s red wine glass. Immediately, all eyes were on me. I was center stage as the Klutz! OMG!

    • Yeah, but you were the center of attention and that has to count for something. O.K., Liz: Fess up: How do you know all these fancy types?

    • Jac,

      You were not a klutz…simply being human. Does being on the Bozo in Grand Rapids, Michigan count as a brush with greatness?

      I love to run so I met Bill Rogers at a speech he gave at Avon Old Farms School, and actually talked with & had my picture taken with Frank Shorter after a race. (Shorter won the 1972 marathon). I laugh at the picture (it was taken in 1982-I had very big hair, and shorts that were very short…it was a good five to six years before the baggy shorts became all the rage).

      • Absolutely! We should form a club of past Bozo the Clown show guests. There must be others out there…who else wants to fess up?

        • Because my part of the country can’t do anything like the rest of the country, I don’t remember Bozo on the television, but we had Timothy the Beep on Channel 16, and I and my brothers appeared on there with the other children oncamera, and my middle brother, when asked a question, mentioned all his girlfriends. I was scandalized. He would have been maybe 7 at the time and I was 5 and already in training for Church Lady, I guess.

      • I have a whole collection of bad-hair-cut photos, myself. I really admired Frank Shorter, too. Wait. Those two have absolutely nothing to do with one another.

    • Jac,

      This past weekend I finished Wally Lamb’s “Wishin’ and Hopin’ ” in it he has a wonderful chapter about a young boy who goes to the “Ranger Rick Show” (Bozo show for kids who live in New England) and I really think you’d love this wonderful story…esp with your Bozo background.

      • “with your Bozo background”
        I’m not sure I like the sound of that!

        I’ll look for that one next time I’m in the bookstore.

  8. You are two (:) ) funny Jac!

  9. My favorite fourth grade teacher is my younger daughter.

    Not that I’ve ever taken–or even visited–her class, but she IS my favorite fourth grade teacher. ;-)

    • My oldest brother used to teach and I went and sat in on one of his classes. He was flat-dab fabulous. You must be very proud.

  10. I’ve been a doula, breastfeeding counselor, parenting instructor (for teens through planned parenthood.) So all this has made me a breastfeeding/homebirth nut. Ina Mae Gaskin essentially made homebirth acceptable again (let alone non-medicated birthing.)

    My second was born at home in a portable horse trough (filled with water.) It was beautiful. And really fun.

    • Wow. I thought I was Earth Mother just for breastfeeding. During the actual birthing process, I asked for every drug they had. And then offered to hit the streets to get more.

      • Well, see if you were at home, you couldn’t have asked. And I had a doula too, which helped gobs. And all that lovely warm water. LIke I said, it was really awesome, I’d love to have the same women over (my mom, the midwife, doula andthe midwife’s assistant) only without the 10 lb baby inside trying to get out. (Although I did threaten to kick the midwife in the head once…)

        • Wait. 10 pounds? My son was 7.6 and I threatened to kick EVERYONE In the head — including the baby — and I was drugged up and it wasn’t the drugs talking. Did I mention I thought I was Earth Mother? I thought wrong, I guess.

  11. Okay, bored so sucking it up and commenting on the posts I missed.
    I’ve met Rush Limbaugh and Jan Parshall (she’s with Concerned Women for America, you may know her from bigoted internet video rants) Bryan Duncan, a contemporary Christian musician from the 80′s. I grew up with a guy who is famous now, Rudy Reyes, he was on Generation Kill as himself and now has a book out. Got Gordon Gano’s autograph after a Violent Femmes show. I shook hands with both my former and current Representatives (Chabot, boo, and Driehaus, meh). I can’t think of any others.
    In fifth grade I was homeschooling. My favorite teacher was 1st grade, or so I’m told, I don’t really remember her. I had a lot of professors I really liked though.

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