June 7th, 2003
It all started a few weeks prior to the date above. Lorna Luft was giving a local radio interview for her upcoming Las Vegas show. I called down to the radio station on a leap of faith and was amused to find out that this radio interview was indeed, live. I doubted that Lorna would remember a girl that she met only once. The DJ on the other end said that I was connected and I thought I’d give it a shot. No sooner did I say my name did Lorna recognized me as the same Jamie she met 6 months prior. We started talking about our lives. She asked me how school was and I asked her about her kids and how the family was.
The DJ was so surprised that a teenager would know who Lorna was! He asked if I knew her and Lorna said , "Yes, we're friends " He was such in shock; he gave me tickets to the show. I tried to explain that I already had tickets but shut my mouth quickly thinking that they might be good seats. It’s a good thing I did too because there was another surprise the night of the show! Hearing what the DJ had done, Lorna said , "Come see me after the show and we'll catch up!" Before hanging up and going off the air durning a break , Lorna said , "Did you get the pictures from Laughlin that my crew was suposed to mail to you? I said no and she gasped , annoyed and quite upset that this hadn't been done. "When you come backstage, we'll take more . I gotta go sweetie, they're calling me . See you soon , Kiddo! (her nickname for me)
With extra tickets, I thought I’d repay the favor that my friend Rich bestowed upon me 6 months prior . and I called him to invite him to the show, my treat. It took a little convincing on Wayne’s part to get them both down to see us again. “I’m NOT going to see Lorna again! You and Jamie go, I’ve seen her enough. I’ll stay with Dave”. It was agreed, Rich my Mom and I would go and Wayne would stay with my Dad.
David and Carmon, Rich’s webmaster and his wife were going to Las Vegas to celebrate their anniversary. When they heard Rich and Wayne were coming down to see me and my family, Carmon and David had to go with them.
June 7th finally came and I was so hyper to see my friends again! I played all the Lorna CDs Rich gave me and I was just hyper that day! Rich , Wayne, Carmon, and David arrived at 3:00PM the show was at 7:30PM . Mom went to do laundry so, Daddy and I entertained them while we awaited her return.
Mom returned 20 minutes later and helped Rich and Wayne unload their suitcases. Carmon and David were staying at a nearby hotel right down the street from our house. Rich came in with a big Disney bag “Happy early 15th birthday sweetie!” he said with a big smile. Wayne was smiling too. “Guys, you didn’t have to do this! I can’t imagine a better birthday present then having my best friends here”! Rich shoved the bag in front of me and in a fake angry tone he said, "Honey, just open the bag!” I smiled and gave in.
I had told Rich that I was going to get a dress to wear to the show. What does he do? He gets me a beautiful black dress. At the thought and the beauty of this dress , I am in tears Also in the bag is a few TLM things for my collection, a Lorna DVD that he burned for me, a few CDs he burned for me including a “Mama Mia” soundtrack and an Angela Lansbury CD. There was a beautiful black sweater that Ronna; Rich’s friend picked up for me and just when I thought it was at an end, there was more!
Rich and Wayne went to New York to see “Gypsy” with Tammy Blanchard. They brought me back a T-shirt and had met Tammy that night. She signed a cover for Lorna’s TV movie “Life with Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows”. I gave Rich and Wayne the biggest hug.
Carmon and Dave joined us for a taco dinner and we laughed a lot. Soon, it was time to get ready for the show. Mom helped me with the dress and Rich did my hair and put on my makeup. He does that well. I turned on my stereo and switched to one of the Lorna CDS. Rich and I sang along to “Birth of the Blues”
It was time to leave and we were off. Rich and I said goodbye to our friends and Wayne joked, “I hope she’s in a better mood then when we met her last”. I secretly hoped the same. Both Rich and I did. Lorna was sick when I first met her and not in the best sprits to say the very least.
In the car with Mom and I in front seat and Rich in the back , Rich broke into song “ Wherever we go, whatever we do , we’re going through it together !” I joined in, “We may not go far but, sure as a star , wherever we are , it’s together!”
We got there and found our seats. My mom had invited my Grandma and her friend Rusty . Rich and I took the “Good seats” while my family sat in the booths.
We were close to the stage but, we would get much closer the night afterward . Behind us was a woman and a older man. The man was Monti Rock III, one of Lorna’s friends and a Vegas act. The woman looked familiar but for some reason, I couldn’t place where I'd seen her before . . Rich got so excited at seeing Monti; he went up to introduce himself. I stared at this woman for a moment longer. She smiled at me. I decided it rude to stare; they were here to see Lorna and the show. I caught myself gazing between watching the band rehearse and this woman.
The show started. It was beyond anything I could describe. The band was perfect, Lorna looked and sang fabulous , and everything was to perfection. It was about to get even better then I could have asked. The same woman who was familiar to me turned out to be Paige O’ Hara! She was sitting right behind me! This was Belle!
I met Paige after the show. She was such a doll and wished me luck with my voice acting career! We took a few pictures and she was just so… beautiful! She even hugged me! I remember every word of our converation :
After the show , before going backstage to meet with Lorna again for one of our chats, I took a pink rose out of Lorna's boque of flowers and asked my mom to give it to Paige .
"Where is she"? , Paige whisped to Mom
"Right in front of you"?
"Can she come over here?
"No, I'm sorry Ms. O' Hara, she can't stand up , she's confinded to a wheelchair .
"Then , I'll come over there!
I was talking to Rich this entire time , silently hoping she had the time to meet me.
It was then, I felt someone touch my shoulder and I turned around and there was Paige!
She hugged me , thanked me for the flower and we talked for about ten minutes . She wished me luck with my voice acting career (That's what I want to do after college , that and journalism ) . I told her that she had a beutiful voice and she blushed . "You're such a sweetheart" , She said and smiled .
"Are the rest of the flowers for Lorna?", she asked
'Yes, she invited me here tonight . I'm going backstage as soon as they come to let me know she's ready for me.
"That's funny, so am I ! We'll follow you. "
A man came up to me and said “Excuse me, are you Jamie?” I nodded and he smiled and said “Ms Luft is waiting for you backstage, come with me please”. Paige and Monti went the short way and Rich wheeled me to this big ramp, we followed the man to this big brown door, my family in toe. We were led inside. A few mintes aftter we arrived backstage , Rene , Shane's (Lorna's webmaster who can't stand me ) husband , He was really sweet and we talked for a few minutes . In a few moments , the dressing room door opened again. It was Lorna's husband , Colin . He saw me and waved and went to talk to Paige and Monti, touching my shoulder before heading their dirction . Finally , Lorna came out and we chatted .
Again, we talked about life. I told her the show was beyond words. She blushed and thanked me. I handed her flowers, again she thanked me and this time hugged me. She chatted with my family a little and with Rich. She then focused her attention on me and told me that I looked beautiful in my dress. I blushed. Then, I told her I was walking. She smiled and dropped to her knees “Come here”, she whispered. I wheeled over. She though her arms around me and almost to the point of tears whispered in my right ear “I am so proud of you Jamie, so very proud.” I was crying at the point myself and she held my chin in her hands and gently placed her right hand near my eyes and wiped away my tears.
We hugged one more time and said our goodbyes. Rich and I headed to the elevater . I couldn't stop crying . Lorna saw us head out. She was going the other direction towards a cafe for dinner with Colin, Paige and Monti . I had told her during the curse of our converation that Rich had gotten tickets for the following night so Lorna said ,
"Bye Kiddo! See you tomorrow! " I shouted back , "Alright Lorn! See you tomorrow ! Bye Ms. O' Hara , Mr. Rock , thanks for everything! "
A perfect ending to a beyond perfect evening .
Lorna and I:
Backstage talking with Lorna:
Rusty, me, Lorn and Rich: