OK Gang! You asked for it, so I’m gonna take it from the top!
A BIG thank-you goes out to Kim! She attends Yo San University of Chinese Medicine in L.A. AND she is a friend of our own GinaB! She got Gina & I an invitation to attend this special event!
I have to tell you all….at first I was a bit intimidated. Not even sure if we should go! This party was in a home on the beach, in Malibu, once owned by the CEO of NBC. Only 150 people total would attend. This was much more “intimate” than any event we had attended before. Not to mention “high-class”!
Gina & I agreed to pray about it before we bought the tickets. Personally, I asked God to put a “road block” in front of me if He didn’t want me to go. Or – let things go smoothly and I’d know it was all good!
We both got lots of positive encouragement from our close friends and decided to go ahead and buy the tickets.
When I first checked on airfare from Tucson to L.A. it was going for $210.00 roundtrip on Southwest Air.
When I got back on Southwest to buy my plane ticket – the price had dropped to $180!! How cool is that?
Then I was looking at hotels, and dreading what that would cost! (Gina would have been happy to have me stay with her – but her current living situation would not work out for that!) I got in touch with an old friend I had not seen for over a year, and asked (hesitantly) if she could help me out. She was very happy for the company & we had a great time together! THANKS, Andrea!!!! (Another savings! Thank you God!)
Next on our “to-do” list….a car. Gina has an adorable little car that gets her around L.A. and saves her on gas money! (Which Heaven knows is a good thing!) But it is not the sort of automobile one drives into this neighborhood. We talked about renting a Lincoln Towncar for just one day. And that would have cost us $200.00. Again – God was good to us! Gina’s dear friend and client, Lorenzo, loaned us his 2012 black Mercedes sedan for the party!!! So we even got to arrive in style, without paying for anything but gas! Thank you, Lorenzo!!!!
As we pulled into the neighborhood, there was a Guardhouse and 3 or 4 people checking each car for people’s names to be sure they were on the list. We pulled up in front of the house to a valet station, and handsome young men opened our doors for us. Finally…we are walking into the party. Two of the founders of Yo San University and another woman were greeting each person as they arrived and welcoming all! The home we walked into was entirely white, with splashes of color here and there. Really beautiful!
There was a long table that held all the items that would later be up for auction. Including, the racing suit, helmet and gloves that Robert wore in Iron man 2! The pipe he smoked in Sherlock Holmes 2 and the paddle he used in the auction of that movie. Along with a few other items.
Gina & I found Kim already there and the 3 of us hung out together for a while, mingling, checking out this gorgeous home and having a drink. There was a bar set up for all to enjoy for free, and food EVERYWHERE!
All these handsome young men in their black slacks and crisp white shirts carrying trays of different “Foo Foo Food”! LOL! Unique, different and delicious! We found the patio, covered in a clear plastic tenting with heat being pumped inside. This is where the presentation of Robert’s award would take place. We picked seats at a good table for picture taking and left out purses or wrap there to mark those places were taken!
After a quick look all around this house, we found ourselves back in the front living room, and there was Robert, coming down the stairs from the upper portion of the house. We had agreed before we arrived to give Robert some breathing room and not rush him or hang on him like so many “fans” do! So we watched him interact with those around him and just enjoyed taking in his loving personality. We would get our chance to talk to him soon enough!
It was a sweet surprise when we saw Joyce and Julie walk into the house! It was fun to have other DUF sisters “in da House”!! And it’s always a pleasure to watch when Robert and Joyce get together! They have met several times before and he is always so sweet with her! I personally think she reminds him of his Mom! And THAT is a compliment!!
A few minutes later, the 3 of us girls were standing in yet another living room, and Robert walked into the room. Alone! We smiled at him and he smiled back and took a step towards us, clearly planning to come say hello…when his Press Agent appeared, grabbed his arm and told him he was needed somewhere. He tossed us a “later” look and went with her. (Dratted woman!)
** Disclaimer** This is written from the best of my memory! The following is very close to what Robert and others said. I don’t have a photographic memory. But I’m pretty sure I got the gist of it!***
Soon after that, the festivities began and we took our seats. One of the Founders was at the Podium with the Mic, welcoming everyone, when Robert appeared, following his Press agent. As they passed directly behind us, we heard their exchange.
Press Agent: We’ll just seat you right over here.”
Robert: “WHAT? You don’t have a seat designated for me? You are SO ******* this up!”
Of course we could hear the laughter in his voice and knew he was simply teasing her as only Robert can do!
A few people took the podium and made their speeches, but soon, Robert was introduced as the 2012 recipient of the Robert Graham Visionary Award.
Many of you saw his speech on YouTube before it was pulled. And Rex was kind enough to write up what he said for all to enjoy. So I won’t repeat all that. (see a thread labeled “transcript”)
A few other bright spots in the day came with the Auction portion of the event.
Our auctioneer was an actress named Brenda Stone. She does the narrative on ‘Desperate Housewives’ and she will be in the new version of ‘Dallas’ that is coming out soon!
She was talking about Robert’s generosity and how much everyone appreciates him. She started to sing a line of an old song – which I’m pretty sure she only expected to do one line of! It goes…
“We love you Robert, oh yes we dooooo.”
But the entire crowd joined in immediately and we sang the entire song to him!
“We love you Robert, and we’ll be truuue. When you’re away from us – we’re Bluuue! ‘Cause Robert we love you!”
Robert, of course, stood up during and pretended to lead us and then took a huge sweeping bow! Cracking everyone up!
And then the auction started and the items got well received and the College got a good deal of donation money! There was one item up for auction that was NOT from Robert or Warner Brothers. An artist had created a beautiful sculpture (I believe out of bronze) of a new-born baby. Just the baby’s head and shoulders, sitting on a pedestal. As soon as they put it up, Robert stood up and said to the crowd, “Let’s just cut to the chase! THAT is going home with me today. FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS!”
(How much do you wanna bet – it was a gift for Susan?)
But a woman at Robert’s table quietly lifted her hand and said “Five thousand, five hundred!”
Robert responded, “Okay, fine! TEN thousand!”
Again, the woman quietly outbid him by $500.00.
At this point, he stands up again and says, “Apparently, you people don’t know how much money I made last year! FIFTEEN THOUSAND!”
Again, the woman lifts her hand, but Robert cuts her off, a tad bit confused and says to her, “Honey, why are you doing this? We could do this all day!”
The woman (who I’m guessing is around 60 to 65 years old) motioned for Robert to come around the table and speak with her privately.
As I watched them whisper to each other, I saw Robert’s head fall forward in defeat. He stood up, sighed hard, went back to his seat and announced:
“I’ve been out-classed! I retract my bids at Ten Thousand dollars.” And he sat down.
The woman went to the podium and picked up the sculpture of a new born baby she had just paid $10, 500.00 for and carried it around the table and presented it to Robert as a GIFT!
How precious is THAT???? I so wanted to give that woman a huge hug!!! Robert did not cry! But I think he had to work at it! (I know I had to work at not crying!!!)
Another item up for auction was a brand new Man’s watch. It wasn’t a Rolex, but it was along those lines! Really expensive! But Brenda had a hard time getting people to bid on it! It retailed for $4000, and she could only get $2500, and no one else wanted to bid. It was really cute when she said: “Oh wait! I have an idea!”
And she jumped down off the stage and took the watch to Robert and began to run it up and down his arm.
“We’ll get some Downey DNA on it and then you people will ALL want it!”
And then Robert lifted his arm so she could get his armpit for really good DNA!! We were all cracking up at them! But the darn watch went for something like $6000.00! So it worked!
After the auction and a few “Thank you’s” – the event was over. But Robert was still poising for pictures and talking to people. This is when we took our opportunity with him. You’ve all seen the photos! As for the conversation…we’ll keep that precious and private!
Gotta love that man!