Saturday, August 31, 2013

Oh what a night!

My excitement began with an email invitation from Stephanie Gold (Gloria Gaynor's manager) to meet them personally and attend a private event concert on Friday night. I inquired about formal/informal attire, and Stephanie replied that it was 1970s -1980s party theme, and we were to dress accordingly.

We four local contributor's to Gloria Gaynor's (soon to be released) inspirational book, We Will Survive, had only days to hit the thrift shops and reduced racks at local department stores to find appropriate disco outfits and accessories.

What a laugh we all had when we saw one another's costumes. We were a sight to behold with our bangles and jangles. We arrived an hour early and paraded into The Hyatt Regency Hotel lobby looking like... well as one of the young female hotel employees said when she saw us, "Oh, painted ladies."
                              Alice Muschany, Linda O'Connell, Gloria Gaynor, Lynn Obermoeller, Cathi Lamarche
Gloria Gaynor and Stephanie Gold came to greet us. You know how you have only one chance to make a first impression? Well we certainly did! I can only imagine what they thought about us as we all sized one another up.
I was quite impressed with the informal and friendly manner of both women. They led us to the pent house lounge. We sat on a sofa and overstuffed chairs, and after the formalities of introducing ourselves and discussing our individual stories, we relaxed and chatted like old friends. Ms. Gaynor put us all at ease as she shared intimate details about her life—which we could all relate to. She shared confidences about some of the other stories in her new book, details about the anthology's promotion, and she talked about actors and actresses you'd all recognize by name, including Oprah. Time flew as we shared histories, ideas, and opinions on relationships... and men. Oh yes we did! We laughed a lot as we made connections and accepted her generous gifts of autographed CDs and photos.

Ms. Gaynor is such a down-to-earth, spiritual, fun woman. She's someone you'd want to share a cup of peach tea with. Well, not the same cup! Each of us could feel her genuine spirit. It was as if she were an old friend. When Lynn presented her with homemade gooey butter cake, she looked into the gift bag and cracked us up when she said, "Oh my, this is going to be my last supper!"

Years ago, the uplifting lyrics to her song, I Will Survive, carried me through some tough times. When Gloria Gaynor spoke to us in person in that lounge, she spoke to the part of our hearts and souls where her voice and lyrics have been imbedded for decades. She touched us deeply.

Stephanie Gold is petite and mighty, unpretentious, the most energetic and real New "Yorkeh" I have "eveh" met. She has a passion for animals that resonated with all of us. She is not only a manager, it is obvious that she is Ms. G's dedicated, true friend.

She took us behind the scenes, into the green room, and back stage. Gloria said that she has been and done many things in her life, but on Friday night, she was experiencing a first; she was going to be someone's "birthday present." Can you imagine your husband hiring your most favorite singer to perform at your fiftieth birthday party? It was an awesome party.

Gloria Gaynor's energy level on stage surpassed that of any of today's rock stars. Her concert was incredible. That woman can get down! And her voice! And her band! And the duets! Oh, it was a glorious and memorable night, not only for the birthday girl, but for the four old gals whose stories Ms. Gaynor selected to include in her book.

As I watched her prance across that stage, listened to her belt out songs, and observed how she connected with her audience and fans, I stood on the dimly lit dance floor and sent up a humble prayer of thanks for such a wonderful and unexpected opportunity.

Then, Cathi and I darted to the ladies room. We were walking back through the lobby when we heard the lyrics, "At first I was afraid, I was petrified..." We RAN in our clodhopper shoes and made it back into the reception hall in time to raise our hands and voices and join the party and the birthday girl in singing our anthem, I Will Survive!

This could be the beginning of something really big...and that is all I am going to say. I wish Ms. Gaynor success beyond compare with her anthology, WeWill Survive based on her # 1 hit song, I Will Survive.

Shh! Anna Mae Bullock, aka Tina Turner, contributed a celebrity quote.

Watch out world, here we come!



jabblog said...


Sioux said...

Linda--What an unforgettable night. Thanks for sharing it with us. In spirit, the other three WWWPs were with you (although I'm reeeeally glad I didn't have to dress up in a disco get-up, as my platform days are long gone).

All four of you St. Louie ladies looked lovely and dance floor appropriate.

(And Gloria Gaynor looks so young. Did she tell you ladies her secret?)

Bobby Barbara Smith said...

Linda, what an unforgettable experience! And I know it's just the beginning! I'm so excited for you.Ms Gaynor sounds exactly as I imagined her; warm, giving, and down to earth.
Oh and you looked amazing!!!

Susan Sundwall said...

Oh,my stars! Your excitement comes through every word here. What fun! Live off this high as long as you can, Linda. And that red thing your wearin' - awesome! Hugs.

Bookie said...

I'm like Sioux and glad I did not have to don dress up clothes, but you guys did a great job finding flashy duds. Sounds like a super special night for all of you!

Kim said...

I bet you're still walking on air today. I'm glad you had a marvelous time, and you and your writer friends were recognized for your stories about survival - and that this brush with fame will just be the beginning!

Terri Tiffany said...


Tammy said...

Thanks for sharing your awesome night with us. Not to mention those awesome shoulder pads!

Lynn said...

Linda, you expressed the evening so well. So many details each of us will never forget!

Donna Volkenannt said...

How exciting! I'm so happy you wrote and posted photos about your amazing night. It surely will always be a night you all can remember.
And all four of you "painted ladies' look lovely!

Mevely317 said...

You all look so cute in those outfits! ... Great colors, Linda!
Only one thing's troubling me ... that hotel employee's remark? Not knowing in what manner it was delivered, I'm at a loss; but can't help thinking if it were one of our associates, she'd be given a "talking to."

Nevertheless, I can't wait to purchase GG's book!


Kathleene Baker said...

A night you'll never forget! Imagine you were so wound, you didn't sleep a wink either. You look terrfic in your red...just like a painted lady. :-) I'm so proud of each of you. Thanks for the update, we've all been on pins and needles.

Carol OurSearsKitHome said...

What a terrific night!

Alice said...

Linda, you described our amazing evening with Gloria Gaynor perfectly beginning with our disco outfits that met with more than a few smiles and double takes similar to reactions on Betty White’s “Off Their Rockers.” Excitement built as we waited to meet the Superstar and her
Superwoman manager/editor Stephanie. What a warm and friendly greeting and such a wonderful sense of humor. And then to be up close and personal when Gloria belted one great song after the other. A glorious evening filled with wonderful memories.

thisisme said...

What a truly wonderful and exciting time you had. I have always admired Gloria Gaynor and that song is still one that you want to belt out whenever it comes on the radio. Super picture of you all. I suspect that the evening will live on in your memory for quite a long time to come !

Rae said...

How exciting!! That was a lifetime experience and will be a great memory to enjoy for years to come.

Susan said...

Hi Linda....Thanks so much for sharing your dream-come-true night with us.

Sounds like such a delightful time.

Gloria Gaynor sounds like a genuinely nice person, too.

Can't wait for the BIG NEWS to come! Susan p.s. A movie, perhaps, with one of the stars whose name is Linda O'Connell????? Woo hoo That would be one I would definitely run to see!!!!

Julia Gordon-Bramer said...


K9friend said...

Oh, what a night! Congrats on a great evening and opportunities yet to come.

Critter Alley

Karen Lange said...

What an adventure! You must still be smiling. :)

Lisa Ricard Claro said...

Awesome! So happy for all of you!

Theresa Sanders said...

You all look stunning! So glad everyone had a blast -- Oh, what a night is right!