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When I was a kid, my grandparents lived in Palm Springs. My brother and sister and I had been staying with them (without our parents), but it was time to head home to L.A.
We were flying. A short flight, a small plane. We got to preboard, because we were unaccompanied minors. One other guy got to pre-board. Bob Hope. Cuz, well... cuz he was Bob Hope.
My grandmother, Sue Weisman -- who is now a healthy 93 years old -- approached Mr. Hope and without hesitation asked him to watch over her three grandchildren during the flight. Keep in mind this was about three decades ago. Bob Hope was a HUGE star. I have no idea what he thought of the request, but he was very gracious and agreed.
The plane had two seats on either side of the aisle. So my younger siblings, Robyn and Jon, sat next to each other in the front row to the right of the aisle. I have no memory of who got the window seat and who got the aisle seat between them. But I know where I sat. I sat in the front row aisle seat across from them. (I was the oldest, so I was the one sitting alone.) Sitting next to me was Bob Hope. Now, this was a night time flight. And not crowded. I remember very clearly that I was kinda annoyed by the seating arrangements. I had flown before, but I had never flown at night and I was young enough to think I'd have a better look at the stars and the moon. So I had really, really wanted a window seat. I also can't imagine that Bob Hope's first choice would have been to sit next to a bunch of kids.
But we both made the best of it. I told him that I had actually seen him on tv twice the previous day. (Again, remember, he was a huge star then, so this was not unusual.) His golf tournament was during the day, and he had been on a Dean Martin Roast the previous night. He explained to me that the Roast had been recorded weeks before.
That's about all I remember. And I'm sure in the next few days you'll see and read a bunch of much more efficacious and worthwhile tributes to the man. There are a couple movies of his, "The Lemon-Drop Kid" in particular, that I truly cherish. And his work with the USO is unparalleled.
But I just thought I'd add this: He was a man that my grandmother could trust with her grandkids. And I think that's saying something.
Rest in peace, Bob.