Tuesday: After talking with John
Henson yesterday, and figuring out when they would hit town, we decided
that we would meet at Christie's at 10:30. John is another person
that I had never met before, but instantly knew who he was when I saw him
kneeling over the hay rake that was also for sale from "Oz." With
him was Christopher, Jay and an entire contingent of people! It was
like he brought his own ruby slipper support group!
We walked around and looked at all the
sale items, took more pictures and decided that we'd go 'do' lunch.
Someone suggested Jekyl & Hyde as our
touristy eatery of choice. I called Bill - and the entire group went
out for a bite. Not to get too much into details, there must have
been 10 to 12 people at the table and a waiter that I think had never waited
on anything but a bus in his life! Someone in the kitchen decided
that John was low on iron - and added some rocks to his salad....
I had the stone burger. It wasn't that the burger had stones in it,
but it was cooked to the point that it laid there and imitated a stone.
Hard as a rock, as they say. Now in my diary I have become
a food critic! Yet, as bad as it was, the food didn't matter.
John and I had someplace to go. The party disbanded - and John and
I caught a cab back to Christie's East.
My heart was in my throat by this point,
we certainly didn't want to be late! Right about now - I was wishing
that we hadn't eaten! Christie's was closed, yet we walked on in
the door, it was ok, because we had an appointment at 2:30!
We were greeted by a lovely woman who said,
"One of you must be Steve?" I just about died right there on the
spot. I was face to face with Ruth Landini. I bent over and
kissed her on the cheek, while at the same moment just about stepping all
over her poor foot. (Keeping in mind that I'm NOT tiny!) She
very calmly said that Tony was out on the floor at Christie's talking to
James Comisar. Imagine that, the owner of the ruby slippers was chatting
with the owner of the Cowardly Lion costume. By this point, we saw
Tony walking our way we made our introductions and we began our trek up
three flights of stairs to one of the conference rooms.
On the way up the stairs, Tony totally
knocked our socks off, when he said, "This is for you, guys." He
was already doing John and I the greatest favor in the world by allowing
us in the same room with his shoes, but he made it into a very special
gift. When Tony said that John looked back at me - and we both about
Tony, Ruth, John and myself were joined
by Colleen, a Christie's employee who had been carrying a rather large
tupperware container. She was there for only a moment, excused herself
and left, at which time Tony took the lid off the box and started removing
tissue paper, exposing the Holy Grail of movie memorabilia. He put
on his white linen gloves and pulled out his ruby slippers and placed them
on the table in front of us.
Click on any
image to view
There was a little bit of chit chat, getting
to know each other kind of stuff, and Tony said something about 'getting
our gloves on.....' By this time I was literally speechless.
You've got to know about me, that under ordinary circumstances, I'm very
shy, but by now I was hardly able to carry on a conversation. I sat
down in the chair at the end of the table and put my gloves on, like a
surgeon getting ready for the operating room.
Tony asked, "Are you ready?" I asked "if
anyone knew CPR?" and Tony placed the left shoe in my left hand.
The right shoe in my right hand. I was trembling and I told John
grab my camera. John was taking pictures, Ruth was taking pictures,
Tony was ready to put the shoes down and let John have his turn, when I
realized that no one had yet taken a picture with my own camera, so Tony
picked it up and clicked this picture. It's the only one I have of
myself holding the shoes (hint!).
Then it was John's turn. What can
I say, John maintained his composure throughout the meeting! And
the rumors you've heard is true, John did actually smell the inside of
the ruby slippers! I have video tape PROOF!
Click on any
image to view
Then we took pictures of Tony holding his
shoes for the last time. John and I both felt that this was history
in the making. Then John and I had our picture made with Tony. We
naturally, had to have a picture of Tony and Ruth together.
When it was about over, John and I asked
Tony for his autograph. He autographed my Christie's catalogue on
the inside with the ruby slippers picture with the blue background, and
signed Johns on the cover.
Tony thought he could get by with a handshake
at the end of our meeting - wrong! He and Ruth got a hug from both
John and I that day. In simplest terms, Tony made "the dreams that
we dared to dream, come true" today. This is a situation where words
couldn't express our gratitude enough! I just hope that Tony realizes
what this meant to us both.
When John and I left Christie's, our feet
didn't touch the ground for hours!
My favorite thing is that I'm lucky enough
to have the entire thing on video so I can relive this 'moment' for years
to come! Yet, at the same time, I will never be able to express my
gratitude to Tony, John or Bill for making this all possible.