I have the sneaking suspicion that the following blog entry is going to be my legacy. Not because it is remarkable in any way, and certainly not because of the great amount of attention it has received from the world. Alas, no. It has, however, received an inordinate amount of attention from me through the years. Originally posted on my sister’s blog in 2010, I have since re-blogged it numerous times. And though I have published novels and countless blog posts which consist of substantially more depth, I just have a sneaking suspicion that someday, long after I’m gone, future generations will stumble across this ridiculous piece time after time, all because while I was living I refused to let it die.
I amuse myself far more often than I should admit, but this post makes me laugh more than anything else I have ever written. And what makes it so very funny to me is that the absurd details of the day actually occurred just as I wrote them.
The other thing to consider is that I am a devoted Rosemary Clooney fangirl, as you’ll read about in the post, and though the events written about in the post occurred more than six years ago, I was still forcing friends and family to drive out of their way as recently as August of this year, all in the name of hitting the world’s (or at least Ohio/Northern Kentucky’s) historic Rosemary Clooney sites. So you should know that while I laugh incessantly about the ridiculousness of my visit to Rosie’s Augusta home, it was honestly one of my favorite things I have ever done in my life. I’m hoping to visit again, next time I am in Kentucky, and I can only hope that a second visit leaves me with some new material for future generations.
A few years ago, after Rosemary Clooney died, Rosie’s Augusta, Kentucky home was opened as a museum. Now, let it be known, I am a die-hard White Christmas fan. A lot of people love the closing scene of the film, and know that scene whether they know the rest of the film or not. They sing along with Bing Crosby, and Danny Kaye, and Rosemary Clooney, and Vera-Ellen (well, not really Vera-Ellen, since she didn’t do her own singing) as that huge garage-type door to the Inn opens and we see that Vermont has gone from warm and green to cold and white in about 20 minutes. Everyone’s heart is warmed to see the horse-drawn carriage go by. The Inn is saved! Now everyone will flock to the Inn because…IT SNOWED! “And may all your Christmases be white.” Hurray!
I’m not that kind of fan. To me, it’s not Bing and Danny and Rosemary and Vera-Ellen…it’s Bob and Phil and Betty and Judy. My favorite song in White Christmas is “What Do You Do With A General”. Know that one? Yeah, I didn’t think so. Need I go on? I’m a fan.
So when the Rosemary Clooney House opened to the public in Augusta, I was determined to go next time I was in the area to visit (my husband, children, and I live in Colorado) my family. It never seemed to work out. The weather was too bad, the House was closed for the week, we just didn’t have time…you name it. This trip…we were going to make sure it happened.
I visited the House website www.rosemaryclooneyhouse.com to find out the hours – we were going to plan this to the letter and make sure nothing stood in my way. Well, the website showed the hours for last winter, so I e-mailed the address that was listed. That was about a month ago and I still haven’t heard back. Okay…so I called.
Me: “Yes, I was wanting to find out the hours of operation for the Rosemary Clooney House.”
RCH: “Yeah, we’ve been thinking about starting hours.”
Me: “Well, we’ll be there next week and were hoping to stop by.”
RCH: “Next week…hmm…yeah, somebody should be there. And if you aren’t coming during the hours, you can just let us know when you are coming, and somebody can be there, but we’ll be starting up hours. We should have somebody there, um… (I know he was making up the hours on the spot) from 11:00-4:00.” (I wonder if he was then mentally congratulating himself…’Yeah…them’s some good hours. We shoulda done hours YEARS ago!’)
Me: “Well, that should be great. So, if we go there Monday at about 11:00 someone will be there?”
RCH: “Yeah, somebody should be there. If they’re not you just call this same number and we’ll find out where they’re at.”
So we got to Kentucky…and on Monday, my husband, mom, and dad took off to Augusta with me. We pulled up to Rosie’s and parked on the street…the only place to park. And by “on the street” I don’t mean off to the side for street parking. Like, you have to park ON the street. I jumped out of the car before we had come to a complete stop and ran out and started taking pictures. I was grateful we got there when we did, and was certain we had just beaten the midday Rosie rush.
We all walked in and were immediately greeted by the sounds of Rosemary in the foyer. And there was an elderly man sitting there to greet us. My husband was convinced we interrupted his lunch. Admission was $5.00 per person. All that Rosemary goodness for only $5.00? Ch-ching!
There are a million stories I could tell. A few highlights:
The George Clooney room! His ER scrubs are there, as is his Leatherheads football uniform. And if you go upstairs…the actual dress his date wore to the prom in 1974! (As seen in People Magazine.)
The Clooney family tree painted on the wall of the George room. George is Rosie’s nephew, in case you don’t know. Nick is her brother. Nina is her sister-in-law. And don’t get me started on the Ferrer side!
The gift shop. Well, it’s actually a gift dresser. CDs and DVDs are on top, shirts are in the dresser. The DVD Dresser Store offers everything you could ever want…from White Christmas, to all of George’s movies, to…Traffic. You know…the Benicio del Toro movie. (If you figure out what it was doing there, please let me know.)
The White Christmas room!!! Everything I dreamed it would be! There were some amazing artifacts. The Betty and Judy “Sisters” dresses and fan, Bob’s military uniform, the robe Betty is in during “Count Your Blessings”, the gloves she wore when she sang “Love, You Didn’t Do Right By Me” (you know, in New York – after she left the Inn because she was mad at Bob and thought Phil and Judy were getting married…and she was instantly a STAR! Love it!), and then….the cream of the crop. The money exhibit…the reason why a dozen or so people undoubtedly pour into the Rosemary Clooney House year after year…THE RED DRESS. The finale dress. The WHITE CHRISTMAS dress! (If you don’t know the dress, stop reading and look it up now. And then return after you have slapped yourself in the forehead and said “Oh! THAT dress!”) Then I saw one small sign that talked about the history of the dress. And then I saw that the real dress could not be found. This dress was a replica made by Miss America 2000 Heather Renee French’s mother.
Hey There…You with the stars in your eyes. (Are you talking to me?) Next time you are in the Northern Kentucky area, Come-On-A Rosie’s house! I love Rosie! Lord help the mister who comes between me and my Rosie. You won’t regret making the trip! Botch-a-me and Botch-a-you and everyone goes crazy! There is something for everyone, after all. And I worry that if there are not enough visitors, they may decide they ain’t a gonna need the house no longer, ain’t a gonna need the house no more. So if you’re worried and you can’t sleep, stop by Rosie’s and pick up a good Benicio del Toro flick.