Because we were young and besotted with him, my husband Vince and I remember exactly how our oldest son greeted the world on the day he came into it.
“Hi guy,” Vince leaned over and said as the nurses swaddled his son. Charlie turned his head, looked right at his dad and smiled. We imagined Charlie later holding court in the nursery at Hinsdale Hospital, regaling the less outgoing infants with boisterous stories from the maternity ward.
Thirty years later, Charlie remains a smiley, gregarious guy, and we loved getting the chance to see him in action this Saturday at a birthday party he co-hosted with his girlfriend Tara in Queens, NY.
His work resume came to life as friends he’d made working shows like the Oprah Winfrey Show, Anderson Live, the Meredith Vieira Show and People Now came by to share stories, warm wishes and excellent barbecue. High school friends came to the party, which was especially cool as Appleton North High School lies roughly 1,000 miles away. Charlie’s college roommate and several other friends from St. Olaf College joined him Saturday as well.
Of course, Charlie’s family came too, including his grandma, godmother, four aunts, two cousins, and all three siblings.
One indication of the life in Charlie’s party is the amount of time we spent there. We all arrived at the Strand in Queens at 2:00 in the afternoon. Vince and I, along with his sisters and my cousin Tracy, left that very accommodating establishment some time after eight p.m. and the party continued long after we left. I have never spent six hours in a restaurant before in my life, but the time passed so quickly as I chatted with old friends and people I’d never met but admired from the stories about them Charlie told.
Some time later, eight hours after blowing out the candles on his birthday cake, my sources tell me, Charlie raised a a glass and gave a formal toast, thanking his friends and declaring that the first day of his thirties was, thus far, the best day of a pretty wonderful life.
We’re all big It’s A Wonderful Life fans in my family (and don’t even tell me you haven’t seen this movie. Just hustle yourself to the nearest device, download it and call me when you’re through). In that vein, and the Emerson meaning of success which defines it as “to laugh often and much, to win the respect of intelligent people…”, I’d like to pose a toast to my son Charlie, one of the richest men in Queens.