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.
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