Monday, June 07, 2021

And...There I Was....

 There are some of us who, over the course of their lives professional and personal, have reinvented themselves. sometimes with a conventional career (mother, teacher, public affairs counselor and entrepreneur), sometimes not so much (never mind) — it is not my intention to do a me,me,me blob. At first, when we moved south, I thought I would help with local politics  --  that was only somewhat successful. By the time I got connected to a campaign, it was too late for me to really do anything that would have any impact.  However, it was fun to hold signs, ride in a car caravan, and help with a mailings. In addition, the candidate turned out to be the daughter of a dear friend - that was the icing.

Anyway, how to spend whatever time I have left?  Being a fourth quarter queen,  nothing is for sure. Then the answer came as I was crossing the street, along with a large turtle and some tall birds who I always think of as wearing stilts.  The street we were all crossing was bust. This not California, and some of the drivers are of questionable driving skills.  So, I leapt out into the traffic and protected the wildlife that was migrating to a place where the water was more to their liking.   And there it was, my next career.

Traffic guard to tropical wildlife. While you're doing your job, you feel pretty great about doing a good deed.  It only takes a few minutes, you don’t have to work 9-5, and your schedule is most flexible.

What is supposed to happen is that I wake up and find inspiration in whatever strikes me as a possibility.  So I roll out of bed and voila! there’s a job description on my desk.  Well, that has never happened,  but what does happen is I roll, the fog lifts, and something strikes me as a possibility.   So I start making phone calls.  The process is often slow, but if you go for it, good things will happen.  For example, my first substantial job in the government was in the Carter administration. He (that would be President Carter) thought political appointees were multitalented and very capable.  When they needed escorts for the Kennedy Center awardees, they asked some senior staff to help out.  It happened that Fred Astaire was a recipient, and was always one of my heroes. Most of the other senior staff was not "senior" enough to know who he was. Needless to say, I jumped at the chance to escort him, but he was so kind that yes, I felt like Ginger Rogers.  

Most things in my life happen unexpectedly.  When i lived in the middle of nowhere Massachusetts a friend of mine asked if I would work on the Udall  Presidential campaign. I had worked on the McGovern campaign, where other than S. Dakota,  Mass. was the only state he won. Yes, I do claim that as a personal victory.  I admitted to Jessica that I didn’t know anything about politics (I was a technician), and she said no one would notice, because it was the Udall campaign.  This was not true. Mo Udall was so decent and so human that all kinds of people loved him.  At first I worked only in Massechusetts. Then I travelled with him as personal staff.  Who knew that would take me on a path I never expected. In only a few short weeks I became the liaison to the original Saturday Night Live Cast, theater stars, and numbers of people who became life long friends.

That was a long time ago and now you’re starting to think  “she is so superficial”.  Yes, if that’s what you think, you have come close to the truth.  For me it was all about collecting famous people as friends.  The “Star Trek Next Generation” cast loved me during the Clinton Administration and invited me to the “wrap party”. Patrick Stewart and his brothers, (all of them look exactly alike) went to the White House as my guests.  The highlight was meeting the Dali Lama, and not washing my hands for a week.  

During the Gary Hart Campaign, along with Patricia Duff, I coordinated all celebrity volunteers.  Seth found Jack Nicholson’s phone number and called him….. don’t even ask.  

While at USA Networks and the SciFi channel. There were stars galore, and it was the first time I ever made money.  The Four Seasons had my profile because I was there so frequently for double breakfasts and lunches and there were always stars posing by the pool.   Thing is, I was so used to being surrounded by stars, that I was able to sit at the pool (which I turned into my office), and watch without being impressed.  If you are not impressed with celebrities, they trust you to do what’s in their best interests.  

The thing is, in politics and business, one opportunity often leads to another.  The list is so long I can’t even remember most of the opportunities. There was a time that I wanted to be a strategist for women’s issues and I went to China as the communications director, which included Hillary and other remarkable women.  These jobs permitted me to travel all over the world meeting with a plethora of fabulous women, each trying to change their world as best they could. 

Enough me me me.  Oh there's so much more.  The fact is my career choice never lasted more than four years.  Don’t tell, but the process of how to get things done was more interesting to me than all the glitter.  In that regard, it’s not as important to me as making an impact on so many issues and tasks.  Maybe there is more, but you’ll have to wait to see.  We're just sayin'... Iris