Although there are many memories throughout the 30+ years that I have been a fan, one of the more intimate ones happened during her Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony. Not only was I thankful to borrow the VHS camera that captured the event, even though the weight of it was almost unbearable, but I’m thankful to one of Donna’s friends – Nell Carter. There’s a saying that the best way to know somebody is to know the people with whom they surround themselves.
Waiting with my friend, another die-hard fan, outside of the Roosevelt Hotel where the reception was taking place, Nell Carter approaches us on her way in (she must have seen the longing in our eyes) and without missing a beat she asked “are you coming in?”, I think I started to explain that we were really just looking when she turned to security and said “they’re with me” and just like that we were ushered inside, with camera in hand. Right place at the right time or simply meant to be? Either way, we had an audience with Donna and moments like when she said that if it weren’t for the fans, she would have retired because she confessed that it had crossed her mind, but it was the fans “that keep me going.”
The other notable memory was when it was time for her to leave, she had a gallery exhibition of her paintings, security came and interrupted her mid-sentence and she stopped, turned to him and said, “They are here for me and I’ll leave when I’m finished.” Security turned away knowing that was that.
She loved her Friends Unknown, she understood they’re loyalty and her place in their lives and she felt our love for her.
You never stop being a fan, Heaven Knows.