It was November 1996, Thanksgiving time. My mother and I just got done visiting my Grandmother in Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey, and we were heading to Tampa, Florida. We were at the Newark Airport and waiting for our flight, which was probably delayed. I had just graduated High School 4 months earlier and my mother and I were discussing my plans for college and my relationship with my boyfriend, Billy, which had gotten serious. While chatting and waiting for our plane, I went to go to the restroom and on my way back, I noticed this striking woman walking in front of me with long, beautiful, blond hair, dressed to the nines and she had legs for miles. I knew instantly who this woman was, because I had seen her picture every day in magazines for months. I couldn't believe who it was and that she was right in front of me! With excitement building inside of me, I blurted out her name. Carolyn! She turned around and sure enough, it was Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, John F. Kennedy Jr's new wife! She said hello and I said hello back and then I asked her, "Are you Carolyn Bessette Kennedy?" and she replied with a yes! She had a smile on her face and seemed very happy and comfortable with me talking to her. I asked if I could have her autograph, to which she replied, "Me? You want my autograph?". I said yes and she seemed very surprised that I wanted her autograph. She came across as being modest, a bit shy and demure. She said to me, "You don't want my autograph but follow me" and with that, we started chatting and walking together. We walked right by my mother and I saw my mother's face as we walked by. Reading the same magazines as I always did, my mother realized what was happening and who I was with and her face lit up. Carolyn and I walked up to a young man and I knew instantly from the back of his head, who it was. It was JFK Junior! I couldn't believe it! He was just sitting there in a seat, like every other person, waiting for a plane, except he had a burly security guard sitting right next to him. I stood back a little from the two of them as they talked and I heard Carolyn tell John that she just met me and could he please give me his autograph! I couldn't believe it! I asked for her autograph and she did me one better. John looked over at me, kind of shrugged and after talking with Carolyn for a minute or so, Carolyn motioned for me to come over to them. As I walked up, John said "Hello, I'm John" and extended his hand. I said " I know who you are"and introduced myself and shook his hand. He was even more handsome in person and I was in a state of shock. He seemed a little agitated and his eyes were bloodshot red. My mother now came over to us and I introduced my mother to Carolyn and John, as if they were my friends. Everyone said hello and started shaking hands and John asked me, "Do you have something for me to sign? Like a magazine or something"? My mother said I had that Seventeen magazine in my purse and I grabbed it and handed it to John. He then said, "Why don't you have George magazine?", which was a magazine he created, which was political in nature but sometimes had celebrities on the cover. My mother said, "Because George magazine is expensive and mom bought Seventeen instead". I couldn't believe she said that! Butit was true and John laughed. He took the magazine from me and signed his name. I was still in a state of shock and started acting like a blubbering idiot. I told him I knew what it was like to be hounded by people (really?) and that I knew what it was like to have no privacy. Again, really? I still can't believe I said such stupid things. I started talking about my life in high school and how my friends would drive me nuts and I never had space and he was just staring at me. God only knows what he must have been thinking? Then Carolyn and John started asking my mother about our holiday plans and discussing travel. They told us they were on their way to Martha's Vineyard. After a few more minutes of talking, I noticed people started forming a large circle around us. They realized who I was talking to and now there was a big crowd of people gathered around us. I felt bad that I ruined their privacy, because until I started talking to them, no one seemed to notice he was there. After watching the crowd getting larger, my mother and I ended the conversation with John and Carolyn and thanked them for talking with us and for giving me his autograph. Carolyn and John told us to have a safe flight and we wished them a happy holiday. I thanked Carolyn again for being so kind. As I walked away with my mother, people in the crowd started to ask me if that was John F. Kennedy Jr and his wife. I said yes but that they didn't want anyone else to bother them and their security guard wouldn't allow anyone else to come up to them. I made that up, but figured it was the least I could do to get people to stay away and back off. If it wasn't for me, no one would have noticed them and being that they were so kind and accommodating to me, I figured that if I told the crowd that the security guard would get involved, it would make people cautious and less likely to approach them. As my mother and I went to find seats, we hoped that the crowd of people believed me and left them alone. My mother and I boarded our plane headed to Tampa, Florida, and couldn't believe what just happened. I wrote about my experience in an essay for college and got an A. It was one of my most memorable memories and still is to this day.
Two years later, when I was 20 and living in my apartment in New Jersey, I got a call from my cousin early in the morning. I was about to yell at her, because I was out the night before and didn't get much sleep, but she said "Your boyfriend is missing, your boyfriend is missing"! I didn't know what she was talking about because I knew Billy wasn't missing. She then told me to turn on the news and I realized what she was talking about. John F. Kennedy Junior and his wife, Carolyn, along with Carolyn's sister, went missing. They were in his Airplane, which he was piloting, and they never made it to their destination. I knew the moment I saw the TV screen that they were gone. I had a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach and knew they wouldn't be found alive and that they were dead. Sure enough, we all found out that the plane had crashed into the ocean and they all perished. John and Carolyn's deaths were very sad not just for me, but our entire country. I somehow felt as though they were my friends and I cried over their deaths. To this day, I am still sad that they are not here. Who knows what John F. Kennedy would have accomplished? It seems there is a Kennedy curse but I will always have fond memories of meeting John and Carolyn and I still have that autograph.
So that was my day with JFK. Even though I have met a few other celebrities, nothing ever compared to meeting John and nothing ever will. If you have met a celebrity, I would love to hear your story too.