Karen Adragna Walsh: Interaction with stars must run in the family - The Buffalo News

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Karen Adragna Walsh: Interaction with stars must run in the family

A long time ago, a psychic read my palm. Looking at the lines on my hand, she said, “You have several stars. I’ve only seen this pattern once before.” I didn’t know if this was a good or bad thing. Did it mean I had more wrinkles than normal or will stardom come my way?

Well, count my “lucky stars,” my daughter Kara and I did get to meet movie stars. Her encounter was up close, personal and recent. Mine was only a visual, happening many years ago but just as memorable.

My daughter, with her voice shaking, called to tell me that she just met Tom Cruise. She and some of her girlfriends were at a bar in Pittsburgh, across the street from where Tom Cruise was being filmed in the movie “Jack Reacher.” Not only did she get a group picture with his arm around her, but she also got to party with some of the cast members, including Tom Cruise’s double and his stunt men.

Was I jealous? Well, maybe. But it brought back fond memories of my encounter with a movie star, who was just as glamorous in his day and age. I welcomed Robert Redford with open arms, or should I say hands?

Back in the 1980s, Mr. Redford had been in town shooting “The Natural,” a movie about a baseball player. A call went out to the public for extras to help fill the seats of the old War Memorial Stadium in Buffalo. So, a few of my girlfriends and I sat in the bleachers amongst poster board people in the cold and damp waiting to get a glimpse of Redford.

Growing restless, bored and stiff much like our poster board friends, I decided to move closer to the action. I made my way to the ball diamond and pressed up against the fence. During a break in shooting, Robert, standing near the pitcher’s mound, glanced my way. Our eyes locked. Infatuation hit full force.

Out of hearing range, I started gesturing with my hands. I curled my index finger moving it in a come-here motion. It worked; he’s still looking, so I waved my hand frantically beckoning him to come closer. Placing my star-studded palm upward, I then blew him a kiss. Robert, somehow captivated by my theatrics, stayed focused on me. Next, I grasped my hands in prayer, as if pleading in desperation for a few more moments shared between us. Then, sensing a farewell, I ended the “affair” by waving goodbye. He looked away, and all was lost.

In retrospect, I wondered why he had singled me out amongst a field of adoring fans. Upon viewing the movie several months later, I had learned that a young mysterious woman in dark clothing had caused his demise. Was this a déjà vu moment for him, since I had been wearing a dark leather coat with my collar pulled up high, concealing my looks and intentions? Visually, I had Robert Redford all to myself, and held him there if only for a few fleeting moments.

Fast forward, I got married at the tender age of 35, thank my lucky stars again. And I will never forget the first time my future husband gazed into my eyes. It was not a starry-eyed performance. We were out hiking in the woods and my contact lens got dislodged. As I pulled down my eyelid for him to locate my floating lens, he felt queasy.

Good thing love is blind. We got married. And it’s been up close and personal ever since.

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