I collected movie stars' pictures as a hobby in the 1940s. It was a wonderful time, and I loved the black-and-white movies and actors of that time. My friend Ondina and I went every week - sometimes on Sundays we would dress up and go to the Tampa Theatre, but other times to the Garden Theater on Nebraska Avenue, closer to my home. We would walk there, of course.
Soon I started to write to the stars. All I did was put their name and Warner Bros. or whatever studio they worked in and Hollywood, Calif. There was no ZIP code at that time and very little postage. Before long, I started receiving pictures from stars like Judy Garland and John Garfield, and sometimes their autographs. I could hardly wait for the mail to come; I really loved it!
I put them in a scrapbook, and in time the scrapbook became very old and worn, so I transferred them to a new one. Some of the photos were lost.
When my three children were young, they looked at the photos and didn't know the faces of the older stars, so I told them their stories. Now my older son is married and lives in the Fort Lauderdale area, my daughter is married and lives in Largo, and my other son, who has been interested in music all his life, went to New York City, where he sang and played the guitar, wrote music, was signed with RCA and other record labels, and now is a producer and director and has written a book on his life called "Frontman."
During this time, my son made a tribute to Peggy Lee at Carnegie Hall. I got to go and meet Peggy Lee's family, as well as Rita Moreno, Nancy Sinatra, Petula Clark and others! So now at 80 (going on 81 on March 17), I still love meeting the stars!
My son Richard has got music in his soul, as I had the stars and musicals in mine.