Thursday, July 24, 2008

Letters to my celebrity loves

I wrote many letters in my past.

I was an avid pen pal with friends all over the world. I pretended to write in Spanish to one girl, which consisted of me putting the words from my Spanish/American dictionary on paper exactly as they appeared in the dictionary. Who needs cases and conjugations anyway? I wrote excitedly to a young woman in Germany when I was in the 4th grade, only to have been paired up with an 18 year old. She handed me off to her little brother. I found another pen pal on a whitewater rafting trip I took in the 5th grade, and I still remember his address.

But I had almost forgotten about other letters I had sent. This article reminded me about the fine art of a certain kind of letter:

The celebrity crush letter.

I delivered many of these letters into my mailbox. Written in my snazzy 10-color pen I wrote letters of passion and love --- or just what was going on in school and on my soccer team.

I didn't douse them in perfume. I didn't send underwear. I might have used some stickers, and I probably included my phone number (which, in retrospect, was probably a bad idea).

To whom did these letters go?

Well, first and foremost in my heart was Rider Strong. Affable, smart aleck, girl-crazy Shawn Hunter from "Boy Meets World" stole my heart at a tender age. He was a little alternative; he had great hair. And how cool is the name Rider, anyway? I had posters of him on my wall; I TGIF-ed "Boy Meets World" every Friday. I was hopelessly devoted to this young star. And while I haven't seen any of his recent work, I was intrigued to see that he was filming a movie called Penthouse. On further inspection, it appears that it's not that Penthouse (phew!). I will have you know that in college, a book came across my newspaper desk that had the foreward written by Mr. Strong. I tried desperately to convince the author to hook me up with an interview, but, alas, it was not meant to be.

I also wrote a letter to Vincent Laruso, cake-eater Adam Banks from The Mighty Ducks. Mr. Banks was the most talented player on the Ducks, and his athletic prowess took me (and many of my friends) straight to crush-ville. Even though we associated the term cake-eater with a rival high school, we were able to see past this problem and still crush on the cutest (and richest, mind you, we weren't stupid) member of the team. I staunchly defended the merits of Mr. Laruso against anyone crazy enough to like Charlie more than Adam, and in doing so created a mindset to where I always shunned poor Josh Jackson in a later embodiment as Pacey Witter (apparently no one else agreed with me, including Katie Holmes as Joey Potter, that heart-breaking witch). I will tell you that this problem has been remedied, and when I watched the entire six seasons of "Dawson's Creek" last summer, I was able to see past the Mighty Ducks competition and truly see the merits to Mr. Jackson.

I know that I had several other celebrity crushes, but I can't recall if I ever sent actual letters. I believed I was destined to marry Mark-Paul Gosselaar, or, well, Zack Morris (and the picture of him on that site with the long hair truly disturbs me). I also was a huge fan of Devon Sawa's work in the last five minutes of Casper, and I will still watch that last five minutes just to remember the truly magical feeling of being in 7th grade and thinking he was so desperately cute. Jonathan Taylor Thomas was the property of my friend Kristen, who had over 300 pictures of him hanging around her room AND she actually got to MEET him (he placed his autograph on a poster of himself, signing right on his likeness' inner thigh. We thought that was so scandalous).

(On a side note -- I apparently liked floppy hair.)

My letter writing was hampered by several things. It was hard to find the addresses of stars. I often wrote letters I never sent. And, after all, everyone told me that the stars would never write back.

Except one did.

One day I opened my mailbox and received a postcard autographed by Rider Strong himself! I was so excited! I was that much closer to meeting him!

I know now that the autograph on the postcard had been placed on there through a method of copying, meaning that Rider did not sign all those postcards himself. Even so, I thought it was very nice for him (or his people) to send out postcards to what had to be many adoring fans, whereas Mr. Laruso didn't think it was nearly as important to encourage his fan base (and you won't see Mr. Laruso in Penthouse (the movie), now will you?).

I've heard that celebrity crushes are important for little girls because a celebrity is not a "real" person so they cannot reject the little girl. This allows the kid to learn how to have a crush without fear of rejection, as they prepare to enter the real world of, well, lots of rejection (or maybe that was just me). If so, this postcard was incredibly important to my adolescent development. Obviously.

So thank you Rider Strong, from my apartment to your Penthouse, for helping me to become a socially well-adjusted youngster. For not rejecting me (as some cake-eaters did) by dismissing my 10-color pen letter with a flick of your long hair and a roll of your beautiful eyes.

And don't you think I don't still have that postcard. I totally still have it.


Tracy said...

Stacie! I love, love, love this! No joke, you should submit this to a magazine (Penthouse? lol). It's great :)

Rosie the Riveted said...

Hi Stacie. Way cool that you took at class with Kim Edwards. What sort of teacher was she? What was her approach to writing? She certainly has a cool way of looking at a story, no?

Rosie the Riveted said...

And I forgot to comment on your entry...! I once had a pen pal in Liberia - some years back - and I stopped writing when he asked me for a "denium suit" - because I was a rich American girl... Right.I did love writing to the penpals I did have. I think, at the height of my craze, I had 10!

Rachel said...

I wrote to Isaac Hanson. Yes, of *the* Hanson. :)

P.S. Rider Strong? Totally hot. That hair-flip thing always got me, too.

Stacie said...

Tracy: Thanks! If you come across a possible place to publish in your freelancing adventures, let me know. :)

Rosie: Kim was a very nice lady. She's quiet and some people took that as cold or aloof, but I never really felt that way about her. I had her for a personal narrative class as well as a fiction workshop. Both were very workshop oriented, involving peer review and revision workshops as well as readings. The day she sold Memory Keeper's Daughter, she was so giddy and let us ask her all sorts of questions about the publishing process. It was very exciting!

Rachel: Rider Strong stole my heart with that hair flip. Of course, I never dated a guy with awesome hair like that. This what be what was missing in my life. :)

a girl on the westside said...

I'm a fellow nestie and I have to comment on this article - it's HILARIOUS! I think I had a crush on every single teen actor you mentioned (right down to the 5 minute cameo of Davon Sawa in Casper). Seriously - very entertaining stuff! You're a great writer! :)

Stacie said...

Fellow nestie --- Thanks! :)