Thursday, December 6, 2007

A Story About One of the Things I am Reminded of Each Year on My Birthday

Donny Osmond Pictures, Images and Photos
When I was in third grade I was totally in love with Donny Osmond. He was cute, happy and could sing and dance, plus his favorite color (purple) was my favorite color. But the thing that really tied us together was the fact that our birthdays were just days apart. Mine is December 6 (today) while his is December 9. Somehow that seemed really meaningful. What can I say? I was desperately looking for connections.

Anyway, my friend Katie and I sent letters to him (including our school photos) where I highlighted our special bond. She received a response (probably a form letter) AND a signed publicity photo. I got nothing and I was so devastated. Now I know that the responses were probably totally random but at the time I was sure that Katie got a letter back because she was a beautiful girl, while I was, well I wasn't.

My crush on Donny ended (painfully) and I moved on to Leif Garrett, Shaun Cassidy and then eventually on to a few real life (and also unattainable) boys.

Years passed, poor Donny became a joke and my life got worse, then better. I met Doug and then Donny released an album in 1989 that I really liked and it served as a pretty good comeback for him. He did a tour and in an interesting twist of fate, did a concert in Philadelphia in 1989, on my birthday. I told Doug that THAT was what I wanted to do for my birthday and because he was totally in love with me, we went. I should add here that Doug used to follow the Dead around in the 70's and actively eschewed popular culture. So it was a big deal for him to go to this concert and he got a lot of ribbing from his friends.

But the concert was great! Even Doug admitted it and I was a bit surprised myself. Donny had a really funky band, with a killer back up singer, he made fun of himself (he sang a kind of hip hop version of One Bad Apple and then stopped in the middle, said "No" and began a new song) and he was very engaging as a performer. I forgave him that night for the letter incident in third grade, although I didn't go so far as to stand down in front, jump up and down while holding an I Love You sign, screaming "Donny, Donny" like some women did. I am not that kind of girl.

Life went on. Donny found new success performing in musicals and eventually, in another interesting twist of fate, Doug and I moved to Utah, home to the Osmond family, including Donny! Wow! Actually, I didn't really care but it did seem mildly ironic at the time.

Donny and I had one more connection (unbeknownst to him, of course) in Utah. Around 1999 or so, Doug found himself standing next to Donny in a line at the Salt Lake City airport. They chatted a bit (Doug is very personable) and Doug mentioned that I had been a fan of his back in the 70's and that we had also seen him perform in 1989. He was just getting around to asking for an autograph for me when a woman came up to them and began to talk excitedly to Donny, then proceeded to nearly hyperventilate. Doug said that my Donny was very kind to her, helped her calm down, and signed some autographs. Doug politely bowed out of the mayhem and I missed out again.

This time it didn't sting at all, although an autograph would have been an appropriate ending to our my story. Even though Donny and I were never meant to be, the third grader in me still thinks that there still might be a chance and I am reminded of that each year on "our" birthdays.....


Anonymous said...

OMG! I totally remember your LOVE for Donny..the socks, the posters, the albums..the whole ( purple ) craze! I love ya sis! Have a great day!

Peter Yesis said...

Happy B day Tracy! When is the book of Tracy's life coming out? These stories are great!! Seriously, think about it.
And the title could be....?

Tracy Helgeson said...

Lil'sis (cute), I know, I was so obsessed!

Peter, Thanks, glad you enjoyed this one. The book? Maybe, but who would buy the cow when the milk is being given away?:)

Nat said...

Happy B'day. I'm afraid it was only a very brief period of time in my life when the Osmonds were acceptable, before I later realized that it was uncool not to ridicule them. That's not to say that I didn't watch their Saturday morning cartoon from time to time...

Stacey Peterson said...

Happy Birthday Tracy!! It seems like your music taste has evolved for the better over the years, but I'm with Peter - I love your stories =)

Anonymous said...

Happy birthday.
I have more or less the same thing going with one of the other child stars you mention... Very strange but strong connection to the past.

Tracy Helgeson said...

Thanks Nat, you are right-the Osmonds were only acceptable for a very brief period of time. Now they have various niches where they are accepted, but still mostly they are considered a joke. That must be hard for them.

I loved their cartoon! I forgot about that!

Stacey, yes, thankfully there has been some evolution on my part, although my husband might disagree!

Elke, isn't it funny how we can get so attached to performers? Not sure it's healthy, but the memories I have of those crushes still make me smile.

Peter Yesis said...

"Who Would Buy the Cow...When the Milk is Given Away?" These and other stories of survival by Tracy Helgeson. Great title! I'd be the first to buy it....autographed of course!

Melody said...

Great story Tracy.....I too loved Donny but wasn't fortunate enough to see him in concert. Happy Birthday

Natalya Khorover Aikens said...

Happy Birthday Tracy! you and I must have a very strange connection too, my birthday is in 10 days.... spooky.... ;)
Put me on the waiting list for the book too, and I am loving the title!

Casey Klahn said...

You are the most self-effacing blogger I read. Good stuff! Happy Birthday.

I have a connection with Donny, too. We are the same age! And that makes me also the same age as the other Pop Royal: Michael Jackson. I wonder if Donny and Michael still talk...?

It was a trip to be in the largest population bubble year from the mega-generation known as baby boomers. Everything in the mass market was aimed directly at my head. Every TV show from my youth has been made into a movie.

Now, let's be kind to old Donny, people. I am sure that if you were in his shoes, you'd have been very happy to have your moment of fame.

Steven LaRose said...

Our wedding anniversary was yesterday. . . Now, if I remember it in the future, I'll remember that it is your birthday too.

Tracy Helgeson said...

Ok, Peter, I will put you on the list for the book. You too, Natayla. I am sure a book deal is going to come along any day now:)

Melody, finally, a fellow Donny fan! Sorry you haven't seen him, but you still have a shot-he still performs:)

Casey, I think my Donny handled the entire nation's derision pretty well. He is still working anyway. That's all any of can wish for, right?

Steven, You, Stacy, Me and Donny, together forever:) At least once a year, anyway.

Maddy said...

Newbie visiting from Meno. Many happy returns of the day. What a tight memory you have.

This is my calling card or link"Whittereronautism"until blogger comments get themselves sorted out.

The Painted Sky said...


Happy Birthday!....and are you sure you are over your fever? Donny Osmond?

lol ;)

n warner said...

Happy birthday. You are and continue to be hilarious! I have something in common with Donny birthday is Dec. 9th. His sweet, fun yet wholesome self, - with an undercurrent for funk has taken him the distance - must be the December birthday!

Book title: Tender Tales - Tracy Takes On.



Brooke said...

Oh, Tracy. What a great post!!!! You are too funny, and such a good writer.