Sometime the most memorable celebrity encounters are the ones from when we were young.
Dell Springer took a snapshot of her five year old son David as he sat in the little rocker. He was intently listening to the big brown combination record player and radio in their living room. His favorite afternoon show was on, Miss Richards' "Radio Playtime for Children". Second only to "The Lone Ranger", which was on later in the evening, Miss Richard's program was an important part of David's daily routine. Now days more than ever, since David hoped that his letter might be read on the radio.
Dell had heard from a neighbor that Miss Richards lived close by. Her child had already been a devoted listener to the local radio half hour that aired each weekday at 4:30. When Dell told David the radio personality's residence was just down the road a little ways, his eyes went wide and his mouth was a big 'O'. "Where was her house? Did she live on their block? What does she look like? Would they ever see her on the street sometime?"
David was excited that a star was within reach. That is to say, David was full of questions and thrilled that a star he knew from broadcasting was seemingly now within reach of his meeting her, maybe. Dell suggested that he write a letter to Miss Richards, telling her how he always listened to her program, and that he was a neighbor. Since David had only recently mastered printing, his mother offered to help him write the note to his local celebrity. Perhaps Miss Richards might read his letter on the program just as she read other kid's correspondence.
What should the letter say? That he liked Miss Richards? David nodded yes and said he like her telling stories and when she sang songs. He wanted her to know that they lived close by each other. Especially that he hoped that they might encounter one another on the street perhaps someday. David's mom wrote the short message. After Dell read the few sentences she put on the paper to him, David printed his name at the bottom. The brief little letter read:
"Dear Miss Richards,
I listen to your radio show every day. When you tell stories and share poems I am sitting in my rocker, real close to the speaker. You have a very pleasant voice and I like the way you sing to us. I play the games you teach us when you are on the air, and I play them afterwards too. I live in your neighborhood; I would be very pleased to meet you. Maybe someday we might meet while walking along the street.
Very truly yours,
Now, Dell watched her son sitting in the rocker pulled close to the radio, listening to Miss Richards, waiting to see if his letter might be read on air today. She hoped the picture she had taken of the boy in the rocker came out nice. The rocker had been in the family for three generations now. David's grandma had used it when she was little; then his father and now the grandchild. It would go one for another generation or two still if it was well kept. Someone had repaired one of the rocker rails but it was as solid now as if it were new.
David was reacting excitedly to the voice from the speaker. It was his letter being read! What a thrill for the tyke, Dell was happy for him, it was a day he would never forget. Little could she imagine that an even bigger joy and more memorable day were to be in the near future for her son. The next day, shortly before show time, Miss Richards called their home. She said something to his mom then David was called to the phone. The expression on his face when he heard the familiar voice was one Dell wished she could have gotten on film with the camera.
Would he like to come over someday and visit her at her house? Oh Boy! Would he ever! How about this Sunday about one-thirty, for milk and cookies and to see her garden too? He looked up at his mom and she nodded her approval of the meeting day and time. Of course, Miss Richards had secured Dell's permission before offering to have David over. They said goodbye, the excitement nearly making the youngster tongue-tied, but he managed to say that he was looking forward to their visit and was so very happy that he would at last get to meet her.
The big day came and David could hardly sit still the last hour, having wolfed down his sandwich for lunch. He made sure not to spill anything on his good Sunday church clothes he still wore. At last it was time and Dell and David walked to the corner and crossed the road. They continued about a half block further down their street until his mom stopped before a lovely little white house with green trim. Almost a cottage, it had a round top door, painted green as well and there was a large brass knocker on it which was shaped like a rose.