Everyone has a story of when they met or saw a celebrity. Maybe you got an autograph at a ballgame or stood in line behind a celebrity at the bank or had one wave at you at a stop light as I did with Dave Cowens of the Boston Celtics.
Milton Berle, the comedian once known as “Mr. Television” in the early ‘50s who dressed up in woman’s clothing, once stopped by my table in a restaurant to say hello. I have no idea why since I couldn’t stand his comedy.
Bill Rogers, the marathon runner, lived in a town near me and used to go by my house on his practice runs. Speaking of runners, I frequently have my morning coffee with British Olympian and two-time Boston Marathon winner Geoff Smith, who happens to be a town resident. Geoff hails from Liverpool, England, and when strangers meet him, they still ask if he knows the Beatles.
Just recently there was buzz about Nicole Kidman coming to town to film a movie at a house on Goodspeed Island. I’m sure people would have been lined up in their lawn chairs on Railroad Avenue to get a glimpse of the beautiful Australian actress, as they were when another famous celebrity’s son got married here years ago.
Everyone was talking about “The Wedding.” It was to be the wedding of the year. The town was buzzing. There were large white bows on the street signs leading the way to the church presumably for all the out-of-towners who would be attending.
Someone said Julia was in town. What about all those cars with license plates from New York, Connecticut and California spotted around the village? Word was that every bed-and-breakfast and hotel for miles around was booked solid.
Julia, of course, was Julia Roberts, the famous and beautiful and rich Hollywood actress. So why would Julia be in our town to attend “The Wedding?” Because Julia’s boyfriend, whose name no one could remember, worked with a local celebrity whose son was getting married. Julia’s boyfriend surely would be there.
Our little seaside village is used to celebrities, but Julia … she was special! Oh, sure our celebrity was special, too, famous to be sure. An Academy Award-nominated actor with hit TV shows and all that. But he lived in town, at least in the summer. When we were kids, his grandmother would offer us cookies and milk if we were playing near the family homestead. People would see him around, in the laundromat, at the hardware store, eating in local restaurants. No big deal. But Julia! Wow!
No doubt there would be other celebrities attending, too.
A sister of a waitress who worked for a caterer said she heard that Danny DeVito of the TV show “Taxi” would be here, along with his wife Rhea Perlman, the barmaid from “Cheers.” He was in Boston at the time, making a movie. Surely, they’d pop down to “The Wedding”. The town hadn’t seen anything like this since Merv Griffin, who created “Jeopardy,” sailed in on his yacht to have lunch at our local seaside inn.
No one was quite sure what time the wedding would be. Someone said that a local fellow who lived near our celebrity had been invited and planned to ask Julia to dance. My neighbor, whose sister heard it from a part-time policeman who heard it from the police chief who thought it would be at 4:00.
Rumor was that the guests were going to march down Water Street to a reception at the Bed and Breakfast, where a large white tent had been set up. Julia was reportedly staying there, but nobody had seen her yet. Along about 3:00, residents on Water Street began watering their lawns and weeding their gardens, washing their cars and walking their dogs.
A small crowd began to gather near the church next to the beach. The parking lot was full of cars with out-of-state license plates. The three selectmen happened by to inspect a dead tree that was scheduled to come down. And yes, I confess, my bride and I stood a discreet distance down the road. We brought our dog, Daisy, with us. Folks often stopped to pet Daisy and, you never know, Julia might like dogs.
By 4:00, the crowd swelled to about 40 people eager to gawk at the celebrities, just about the number of guests at the wedding. Julia was not one of them. No Danny, no Rhea. No handsome actor whose name no one could remember.
Turned out, the white bows on the street signs were for a wedding that took place the day before. The big white tent at the B & B was for another affair. The cars with the out-of-state license plates were probably ordinary summer people.
Someone swore they saw Julia, but I doubt it. Maybe it was Milton Berle.
Editor’s note: Mattapoisett resident Dick Morgado is an artist and retired newspaper columnist whose musings are, after some years, back in The Wanderer under the subtitle “Thoughts on ….” Morgado’s opinions have also appeared for many years in daily newspapers around Boston.
By Dick Morgado