As you know, I love going through boxes of photo albums and other significant memorabilia—never can tell when something long-forgotten and special will turn up.
That being said, I came across an old newspaper clipping from The Burlington Free Press in Vermont. There was a sticky note attached: “Remember when you were famous?” Oh, my Such exciting memories came flooding back If you recall, I shared this wonderful “happening” with you several years ago. Let’s take a trip back in time.
It was 1995 and I was working in a law office in Burlington, Vt. My friend, Gail, showed me an ad in the local newspaper: An upscale photography studio was promoting a professional photo shoot complete with free hair styling and make-up sessions. She encouraged me to sign up and have some fun. “What do you have to lose? You may become famous,” she added with a grin.
I scheduled my appointments: first a new hair style, including a special shampoo, trim and the ultimate in styling created especially for me. I couldn’t believe the results: soft, luxurious waves framed my face. My next adventure was make-up; the brushes, bottles and pots of colors and powders were dazzling. I watched in awe as the cosmetician expertly did her magic. When finished, she stepped back and patted my shoulder. The woman in the mirror looked like a model, chic and elegant.
“Wow, it is me: daughter, wife, mother and grandmother!”
I was a bit nervous as I entered the studio; the photographer, a young woman with a sparkling personality, quickly put me at ease. She had a quick wit, and soon I was laughing, really getting into this “modeling stuff.” She used a velvet drape across my shoulders, which we complemented with my own jewelry—she wanted sophistication and class. Pose after pose, shutter clicking at lightening speed, she moved around the studio. We did one pose which was strictly a “fun shot.” She smoothed a fur throw over my bare shoulders and suggested I wear long gloves and loads of pearls and sit beside a beautiful Tiffany lamp. She laughed: “Now, give me a ‘come hither look.’ ” No hesitancy on my part, I was having the time of my life!
Soon after, the proofs were ready: I chose two poses, one I’d frame and give to my family and the second I’d keep for myself—neither choice was the “fun shot.”
Some months later—I had moved back to New York—I received a note from Gail. Attached to the note was a clipping from the Burlington newspaper announcing a new promotion from the photography studio. What a shock: The studio had used my “fun shot” in their ad! My friends thought I looked glamorous and sexy. I was uneasy—this shot had been strictly for laughs; had I gone too far? However, in spite of my discomfort, the feedback was great. Friends applauded the fact that I took such a big step out of my comfort zone, and they loved the results.
You were right, Gail, I did become famous for my walk on the wild side and it was a fun, fantastic trip into the world of glamour.
Last December, after the doctor had prescribed nocturnal oxygen for me, the machine was set up in my bedroom. I have a long, low chest under the window. On this chest are precious framed photos: my folks, brother, sister, my kids and best friends. Sitting in the back row are the two framed photos I had chosen all those years ago.
Joe, the surgical supply technician, asked whether I had been a model. I answered “no” and then told him about my adventure
“What an awesome story! I can’t wait to tell my wife!”
Consider this: Sometimes it is good—and fun—for the soul to step outside one’s comfort zone and throw caution to the winds. Try it some time!