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Letters: Annette Funicello's gift

April 11, 2013

Re "'America's sweetheart,'" Obituary, April 9

When I was a girl, my parents had a birthday brunch for me at the Pump Room in Chicago. The waiter came to our noisy table of 9-year-olds and said Annette Funicello was nearby and could meet the birthday girl. She was with three or four dull grown-ups.

Funicello was wearing a purple wrist corsage, which she took off and gave to me. I suspect I was too elated and too stunned to say much, and I don't even know if I got out a proper thank you. Over the years, especially as I heard about her illness, I often meant to write her and tell her what a sweet memory she gave me. But I never did.

I have had many run-ins with celebrities, but none has left me with the sense of wonder as when Funicello tied those flowers around my wrist. She was 15 years old.

Linda Westerschulte

Los Angeles

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