Pat Boone was very special to my mom and me both. He was mainly just another teenage crush to me, but the reason my mother liked him so much was his squeaky-clean image, and the fact that he was a member of the Church of Christ. My mother was a third-generation member of the Church of Christ. There aren't that many members of that particular church compared to, say, Baptists, so when we heard about somebody famous being a member, it was very special. Two other people from that era who were members were Gale Storm (My Little Margie and Oh Susanna) and Kitty Wells (It Wasn't God Who Made Honky-Tonk Angels).
But I digress.
Pat Boone had a television variety show starting in 1957 called "The Pat Boone Chevy Showroom"; We never missed it. Because Chevy was the sponsor, my mom sat right down one evening and wrote a letter to Pat Boone telling him that we had two Chevrolets, a 1949 model that my dad drove to work and a brand-new '58 Del Rey. She firmly believed Pat himself would read that letter and be proud of us for patronizing his sponsors. In later life, she wrote to presidents, too (only the Republicans, of course). When she received letters in reply (to me they were obviously form letters), she was ecstatic.
But again, I digress.
Katz Drugstores were doing well in Kansas City in the fifties, and they decided to sponsor a Pat Boone concert at the Municipal Auditorium. He was also scheduled to speak to the youth of the city at one of the larger Churches of Christ in town (the Van Brunt congregation, I think). He had a book out for teenagers at the time, "Twixt Twelve and Twenty". I made both the concert and the sermon; you couldn't have kept my mother away, so it was no problem getting to either.
In the Kansas City paper, I saw an article about his coming to town in which his expected arrival time at Municipal Airport was mentioned. All I had to do was tell my mother, and it was set: We were going to meet Pat Boone at the airport!
Of course, since it was in the paper, about five hundred others decided to meet him, too. But for my mom and me, this wasn't our first rodeo. Oh no, we regularly attended professional wrestling matches, and we knew how to squeeze through a crowd toward the front, where the action is.
Next morning in the Kansas City Times (morning edition was the Times, evening was the Star), there we were, and my mom appeared as giddy and excited as any of the teens.
Mother got several phone calls the next day from people who recognized us in the picture.
The only other "brush with fame" I had was when Cliff and I went to the church in Plains, Georgia, where Jimmy Carter taught Sunday School.
|Jimmy Carter teaching Sunday School at Maranatha Baptist Church|
And there you have it.