child hood

Last night while surfing DirecTV, we came across a Julia Child marathon on PBS You. During my irreverent running commentary (Jeff noted that it was like watching an MST3K cooking show), I reminded Jeff that I felt I had an especial right to satirize Ms. Child given my up close and personal encounter with her, and I realized that while I’d previously told him the story and had mentioned it in passing here, I’d never fully blogged the story. So, here is the saga of The Day Julia Child Ran Into Me:

The time: 1985.

The place: Somerville, Massachusetts. The old Savenor’s Market.

The scenario: After college, I lived for a year in Somerville just a short walk from Harvard Square. Up the street from my apartment was Savenor’s Market, a specialty meat (I remember they even carried such exotic meats as ostrich, rattlesnake and kangaroo, among others) and cheese market where Julia regularly shopped. Next to Savenor’s was a laundromat where I did my laundry.

I had just finished several loads of laundry and was walking home. As I passed Savenor’s carrying my stacked baskets of clean clothes, Julia came backing out with her own parcels as she conversed with the proprietor. I couldn’t see well over my clothing, and she was walking backwards without looking behind her at all. Bang! Crash! Down I went, and down came Julia on top of me.

After I extricated myself from under her, I helped her up and we apologized to each other. It was only later, once I was home opening a box of Kraft Dinner, that I kicked myself, wishing I’d thought to suggest she might make it up to me by inviting me over for a meal.

[Note: I actually later met Ms. Child on several other occasions, as well as Fred Rogers, Shari Lewis and Lamb Chop (I even briefly wore the Lamb Chop costume at a Capitol Hill function on behalf of public TV), among many other PBS notables over the years that I worked in public television, but this first meeting had a special impact, as it were.]