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My 15 Minutes of Fame
By Charlotte Wald
Copyright 2000 Charlotte Wald
A short story about the writer's brush with fame.
Many years ago, when I was a lot younger, Johnny Carson ruled the late-night airwaves. He was a lot younger too.

Ed McMahon was Johnny’s erstwhile sidekick, and my niece Cookie (who prefers to be called by her given name Corinne) was Ed’s assistant. I used to travel to Los Angeles once or twice a year to visit some friends and Cookie. I was staying with my friend Ilse, whom I know since college days in New York, and Cookie invited us to see the Johnny Carson show, which was taped in the afternoon.

We were ushered into the studio and given seats in the VIP section. While waiting for the show to begin, Ilse and I struck up a conversation with some young ladies sitting next to us. They were about 18-20 years old and very excited to be there.

After a while, out came the producer to warm up the audience. He told some jokes and some stories. You know how the late-night audiences are - they stomp their feet and hoot and holler. Next came Ed McMahon whose task it was to keep the audience worked up. He told the crowd that a very important guest was in the audience - his assistant’s Aunt Charlotte. He asked me to stand up and take a bow and wave, which I did. (I’m not at all bashful.) The audience responded by clapping, stomping, hooting and hollering. I felt a rush and was ready to find an agent and move to Hollywood right then and there!

When I sat down, the two young ladies we had been chatting with turned to me all agog. One of them said to me, "We didn’t know you were Ed’s Aunt Charlotte. Why didn’t you tell us?"

Well, at that point, my bubble burst and I came down off Cloud Nine. I gave up my dreams of a Hollywood career, which of course included starring with Paul Newman and Kevin Costner. But I had my 15 minutes of fame that day and I just loved it!