Celebrities . . . everyone knows they are regular people just like you and me. I know that! At least I thought I knew that, goodness, I’m a middle aged woman, I definitely should know that; especially since I’ve probably seen more celebrities than most people I know. Not because I’m anything special, but it just so happens I used to live in California and my ex-husband’s career often put us in the midst of star-studded affairs attended by celebs like Elizabeth Taylor, Gregory Peck and Stevie Wonder. You might think, big deal, once you’ve seen one celebrity, you’ve seen them all. Not for me! When I’ve met them something happens, I get all nervous and excited but at the same time I’m surprised because they look and act so . . . normal! Imagine that!
Recently I received a phone call from a woman who said she was helping a friend that would be driving with her daughter through Little Washington on their way to Corolla. They needed lodging for the night and wanted to know if the Pamlico House had any availability. As luck would have it my friend and fellow B&B owner Becky at The Moss House was booked and had kindly referred the caller to me. It was a Monday, typically the quietest day of the week, so we had an available guestroom. She asked the usual questions about rooms and rates and said she’d call back. I didn’t give it a second thought; people call all the time asking for information.
A short while later, the same woman called back to book the Washington Room. After taking all the pertinent information — name, billing address, email address, etc – and hanging up, I looked again at the name I’d written and it began to ring a bell. Now, I’m not much good at remembering names but I never forget a face. So on a whim I Googled it… and BOOM! There she was, hundreds of pictures of the very talented and beautiful young actress I’ve seen in many movies. It took incredible self control not to call everyone I know and start shouting, “Guess who’s going to be staying at my house tonight!!!”But I certainly did NOT want to be like Hugh Grant’s crazy roommate in the movie “Notting Hill”. (In case you haven’t seen it — Hugh is dating a famous actress played by Julia Roberts, and she’s visiting London incognito. It’s all very romantic and hush-hush until his roommate recognizes her and spills the beans. When Hugh goes to get the newspaper in the morning there’s a mob outside the door and all kinds of cameras are flashing.) No. No, as difficult as it was, I certainly had to keep this news to myself! Not that the same thing was going to happen in Little Washington, of course.
Well, you know what I said before about getting all nervous and excited? I found out it also happens at the expectation of meeting a celebrity. Wait! Now the celebrity was actually coming to my home!!! My brain exploded with all kinds of unexpected worries and concerns. Is the house clean enough (never mind it had just been cleaned top to bottom, and we always get a 100 score on our health inspection)? Is it cool enough? Should I think of something extra special to serve her at breakfast? She’s bringing her young child, who will probably want to pet Lacy! Quick, got to give her a bath, just in case (for that matter, can I squeeze in a trip to the salon for myself?) Even my boyfriend, who’s usually not involved in the B&B’s day to day operations, was running around making sure the house was “just right”.
To my chagrin I had made dinner plans and the much-anticipated guest was due to arrive while I would be out, so I would likely miss being there to greet her. But luck was on my side again. It took them longer than expected and I was home when they arrived at the inn. I answered the bell and there stood a beautiful young woman (not a drop of make-up!) and her daughter, sweet and polite as could be. I gave the usual spiel I do for all my guests showing them where the coffee & complimentary sodas can be found, where breakfast will be served, which keys are to the room and front door and so on and so forth. We confirmed breakfast at 8:30 and bid them goodnight. It was so hard tearing myself away! I wanted to stay, plop down on the bed, chit chat and gape at all their magical, celebrity cuteness.
Next morning while I was checking on the coffee I heard a sweet little voice. I turned around and there was this adorable little girl in Hello Kitty footed pjs asking if she could take a cup to her mom. Her appearance was that of a very young child, but her demeanor and words that of a mature young lady. Off she went, but she soon returned to check out the dining room. Much to my delight, this adorable 7 year-old half-pint approvingly exclaimed: “The table is so beautifully set!”
Breakfast was a hit. Both mom and daughter enjoyed their food as well as the company of a husband and wife also staying at the B&B. They were charming and low-key, politely sharing breakfast like any other guests. I wanted sooo badly to tell the other couple who was not only sharing the table with them this morning, but coincidentally also shared the same last name. What are the odds of that? But again I managed to keep their secret. Shortly after breakfast my delightful guests packed their things, said a brief but warm goodbye and were on their way to Corolla.
As I watched them leave, suddenly it hit me! And I panicked! Here I had had the closest encounter with a famous movie star I probably will ever have in my lifetime and I had no proof, nothing to show my friends! I knew I had done the right thing by protecting their identity during their stay and not invading their privacy by asking for an autograph. Such mixed feelings!!! The childish, star-struck “Lucy Ricardo” in me felt terribly disappointed but the adult, mature part of me felt silly for feeling that way. Then I remembered I had her cell number –I always ask for one just in case I need to contact my guests prior to their arrival. NOW I had a brilliant idea: I would text her and discreetly ask permission to share that she’d visited Little Washington, and more specifically, The Pamlico House. I couldn’t resist politely requesting an autograph photo while I was at it; I figured she could easily say no, or worse, she could ignore my request. On the other hand, she might say yes and it was worth a shot. I struggled with it a little. I worried she might feel I was abusing the privilege of having been entrusted with her private contact information. But in the end I took the plunge, and this was her response:
“Honestly, it is so kind of you to ask in the first place before writing about it and not to ask while I was with my daughter. We had such a lovely stay with you. Wish we had spent another day there. Your home is so warm and welcoming and we talked about breakfast for miles after we left. Thank you for your sweet words about Matilda. Nothing could mean more to me. I’ll send you a picture soon. Feel free to write on your blog that we stayed with you and loved it.” Michelle Williams
This text to be preserved for eternity on my phone. (One last stroke of luck: we both had iPhones that allowed the lengthy texts. I guess it was meant to be!
Have you met a celebrity? How did you react? Did you remain a calm, cool and collected or did you get silly like me?
Do you believe luck had anything to do it?