Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Excerpt from DeForest Kelley: A Harvest of Memories

Kris (along with one of her friends) polished De's star weekly from the time it was awarded until she left Hollywood a few years ago. This volunteer job required approval from De (of course) and the Chamber of Commerce! Her efforts paid off, his was one of the best-looking stars in the area. She said that De told her to just not get arrested while polishing the star! She still has this fan (used to dry the polish) and another one signed by De in her memorabilia collection.

She gave me several photos yesterday, and here are two of my favorites. Carolyn (De’s wife) was very fond of Kris’ serval, Deaken, and it really shows in this photo! I also get a kick out of the photo of Kris cleaning Deaken’s ear with De looking on!

I can't wait to read YOUR story of how Star Trek changed your world; so, send it (along with a photo if you have one) to Amy Ulen as soon as possible!

Blog #3 by Kristine M Smith,
Author of DeForest Kelley: A Harvest of Memories

Taken from the chapter
“Happy Birthday to Me”
(© 2001 by KM Smith)

No part of the following excerpt may be reprinted or used in
any way without the express written consent of the author.

Three weeks after my birthday, I wound up in Denver — and was invited (via Sue Keenan, De's fan club President) to dinner with the Kelleys! This was my first actual, sit-down-and-chat meeting with them, and I was so nervous about it that before we headed into the Kelley’s hotel suite I pleaded with Sue, “Sit right next to me all night long, and if they ask me a question, YOU answer it!”

When you find yourself in an overwhelming situation like this one, you want to be at your best. You want to make a good impression; above all, you do NOT want to come across looking like Garfield’s little buddy Odie! On the other hand, you don’t want to look as if you’re having an audience with the Pope. Something right smack in the middle seems about right…but I was nowhere near certain I could handle a middle-of-the-road approach. So I was nervous.

No. I was petrified.

I followed Sue and a couple other DKFC members – all of whom were cool, calm and collected by all appearances – into the Kelley’s hotel suite, where we were to meet, and I managed, for a moment, to present myself as normal. I hugged Mrs. Kelley and said, “Hello.” Then I went over and shook hands with De. So far, soooo good! But…witness how quickly I went downhill from there, inside my nerve-wracked body.

We stepped over to the couches and prepared to sit down. De asked us if he could take our coats. Now, if anyone else on the planet had asked me that question, an easy answer would have been yes or no, right? I mean, he wasn’t asking my opinion on whether the U.S. should get out of the United Nations; he was just asking if I cared to give up my coat for a while. I gave it serious thought. I thought, “What does HE want me to say? Should I say yes? Will he be upset if I say no?” Finally it occurred to me that he didn’t give a fig whether I said yes or no, just so long as I said something, so he could sit down! So, I said no. That seemed to satisfy him – but not for long. Next he wanted to know if we would like drinks. I don’t drink, so naturally I said YES. (Well, I had just told him no on something else. I didn’t want him to think I was a bitch.) So, I said yes. Then he wanted to know what I would have! Oh, boy…he had me there! He was pitching these incredibly difficult questions at me and I was unable to field them! “Oh…whatever!” I finally “decided,” hoping that would end the interrogation. Mrs. Kelley probably recognized the fact that I had slipped into the much-dreaded Idiocy Mode (a common affliction of fans) and tried to help me out. She suggested that I try a “DeForest Kelley.” I looked at her, and I thought, “Gee, that is a very generous offer!” But I realized I wasn’t getting the proper picture. She explained to me that a DeForest Kelley was a drink known to all of fandom – except me, obviously. “Oh, fine… I’ll have one of those…”

Well, after a couple of DeForest Kelleys (vodka and water with a twist of lemon), I felt calmer. No one had raised any other controversial questions similar to “Can I take your coat?” in quite a while, so I was just sitting back and listening and watching everybody talk and laugh and have a good time…Not much later, we went downstairs for dinner. De sat at the head of the table. To his right sat Sue Keenan, and to her right sat Jackie Edwards.

To De’s left sat Carolyn (Mrs. Kelley), then me. There was NOBODY on my left – for a hundred miles. I quickly lost my nervousness sitting next to Carolyn, because she is a doll – so nice, and so much fun. She could calm a jackhammer. I know, because she calmed me, and I’m the greater challenge!

Carolyn and I lost ourselves in some conversation about having both been raised in the State of Washington. At one point I was explaining something to her in great detail, and a fold or a crease on my left sleeve popped me with a great deal of force and I stopped in mid-sentence and turned around to my left, fully expecting to find a waiter or someone who had come along to ask me a question. THERE WAS NOBODY THERE! I panicked. I thought, “OK, Kris…how are you going to handle THIS dilemma?” Well, I had two choices. I could turn back to Carolyn and just continue the conversation as if nothing at all had happened – leading her to think I was several bricks short of a full load — or I could explain what happened. Well, naturally, I opted for the truth – but I forgot to provide a complete explanation. Instead of what I just told you, I turned back to Mrs. Kelley and I said, “Strange! I could have sworn somebody just tapped me on the shoulder!” Carolyn accepted this bizarre information calmly. She looked at Jackie. Jackie looked at her. They both studied their salads for a while and said nothing.

I’m amazed the Kelleys didn’t signal someone to bring a butterfly net!

Can you believe this same “panicked peahen” fan became De's personal assistant and caregiver at the end of his life? What a journey! Enjoy the entire evolution of this remarkable relationship by ordering DeForest Kelley: A Harvest of Memories today! Order right away to be sure it arrives in time for the convention! Kris will only have ten copies on hand at PlanetXpo (plus a handful of audio book versions). If you want your personal copy signed, bring it along and she will be happy to personalize it to you or to a loved one!

Turn around time from the publisher is 7-10 days for soft cover and 10-14 days for hardbound. By buying direct from the publisher, you can get the hardbound edition for what the soft cover edition will cost you at other on-line retailers! Order online or call the Publisher's Toll Free Order Line: 1-888-280-7715.


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