My experience at the American Library Association’s national conference in Washington, DC. June 23-25, 2007.
So we’re meeting very cool librarians at a private cocktail party in Washington, DC (it WAS the American Library Association conference) and in walks none other than JUDY BLUME. Yes, the Judy Blume. This woman taught me about sex, relationships, how to be a brat, how to increase my bust (which she said, and I quote Judy directly, “Doesn’t work.” –but I insist it did for me!), among other important things and I’d never even met the woman.
I told Shannon, “We have to go over to her.” She agreed, but we were skeptical. Were we supposed to leave Judy Blume and her husband alone, not stalk them at the Penguin cocktail party? Or was she there to mingle with librarians and ogling authors of teen fiction (especially the two unsuspecting ones staring at her from the corner of the room)? After the initial entourage around her parted and she walked toward the cheese and bread buffet table, we moved in. If it didn’t feel right, we were going to pretend we just wanted some cheddar and Gouda. What we really wanted was to meet our idol and take a picture with her.
Side note: She was wearing a dark pants suit and her hair was stylish and curly. She didn’t pile on the makeup, and her husband has white hair and was really handsome. Judy must weigh a hundred pounds soaking wet, she’s probably five feet four or less.
She was talking with a group of people and we made eye contact. Yes, Judy Blume and I made eye contact! Then she smiled at me and Shannon and I knew. In my heart and soul I knew we would be talking to her. She was approachable! Not that she had to be, she could play the role of diva because she deserves the title just from writing such amazing books-the only books I liked to read as a teen! I saw her attempt to walk over to us, the two women smiling uncontrollably at her. Another group of smiling women intercepted her. And then some important official person came and said something to her quietly. I thought she would have to leave the party and be whisked away and into her sparkling, magical carriage before she would be able to meet me and Shannon.
But, alas, that was not to happen. Judy HAD to meet us. It was fate, kismet, b’shert. She turned to Shannon and me and said with a huge smile as big as ours, “Hi!”. My brain fainted, thank God I didn’t because I weigh double Judy Blume soaking wet and would have probably killed the woman if I fell on her. Shannon stood there shaking while I said with a huge toothy smile not fading, “We write teen novels too!” I don’t remember what awesome thing she replied, but it was amazing. And then she said she’s passing the torch, or something like that where now it’s our turn. And then I said, “You’re bigger than…” I wanted to say God, but God does have one up on Judy Blume. So I thought of who is right under God and I said it. I told Judy Blume, “You’re bigger than…Oprah!” She laughed hard and then we asked if we could take a picture with her and then she took my camera (which I’m never washing ever again…not like I did in the first place) and handed it to her husband and Judy (not that we’re on a first name basis, but I can dream can’t I?) told us he’s a great photographer because he’s used to it. I remember when the photographer came to talk to our writing group he said to do “the turtle” so your double-chin doesn’t show and I remembered to do it even though my brain was mush. When we put our arms around Judy she said to my friend Shannon, “You’re shaking!” I, of course, was too worried about doing “the turtle” so my extra chin blubber wouldn’t show in the once-in-a-lifetime picture to shake. Mr. Blume?? took the picture (which I hope will accompany this article) and then I think I fainted. Okay, I really didn’t faint. But I have no recollection of the rest of the night. Did I put the camera in a safety deposit box? No, but I was tempted to.
Meeting Judy Blume was an experience I’ll never forget. What authors have you met that you were excited about? Anyone have any embarrassing experiences to share?