Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Where Celebrity Started

Me, 1955

Since I’ve been recalling brushes with celebrity lately, let’s go back to where it all started. I’m talking, of course, about the June 1955 issue of the Chatterbox, the magazine for employees of the Atlantic & Danville Railroad.

My father worked for the A&D. He met his second wife there (though they didn’t marry until many years later after their first marriages were over and both were living in another city working for another railroad). When I was older I would spend Saturday mornings with my father at the railroad’s headquarters, a nondescript building on Tazewell Street in Norfolk. When I wasn’t sitting in a big chair in Dad’s office drawing, I was hanging out in the lobby with the janitor, who doubled as the shoeshine man. His name was Mr. Roberts and he lived with his family in a small home across the street from a public housing project called Roberts Village. I always thought it was named for him.

But that was years after my first splash of celebrity on the cover of the Chatterbox. I was just over three years old. The picture was taken on the beach at the end of our street in Virginia Beach. When I was in high school I would spend spring breaks from school painting the pool and the pool deck furniture at the motel in the background.

[For those of you interested in history, the tower in the background was a remnant of the coastal defense system from World War II.]

In the caption that appeared inside the Chatterbox, it said:

“It is obvious that Chris loves his beach

and wants to share it with you.”

I suppose you could say my celebrity peaked when this picture was published. I haven’t been on a cover since.

1 comment:

  1. Awwww!

    Well, maybe, but you've been IN the pages of Martha Stewart Living! How many can say the same? What a sweet photo. Looks to me like even then you were entertaining folks. And yes--you've shared your beach with us all. Thank you!