Wanda’s Visit

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Introduction

I wanted share with you what Wanda has shared with me. We have been in touch for a while now and have also posted an entry earlier back about Wanda’s experience meeting Bea (see below). Wanda recently emailed saying that she would be mailing me a couple photos that she took when she met Bea at her house a few years ago. Exciting as that was already, I was extremely shocked and excited on what she failed to mention she was also sending… one of her famous collage books of her fandom and even my own fandom! A nice time capsule of my own experiences with this web site and Bea, as well as, pages and pages of fun images of Bea over the years… with titles and all… once again hand crafted by Wanda!

Below I want to share a couple of photos that I took of the book that she sent me. Also, in her own words, comments from her exciting experience of not only meeting Bea, but being a guest in her own home! Every Bea fan’s dream… came true for Wanda!

I want to mention, because I learn from the past on this stuff… enjoy the story, but don’t go crazy on how you can ‘hang out’ with Bea. Wanda worked really hard, 40 years in the making, to have this moment. So, I just want to emphasize that its not as simple as driving up to her home and expecting Bea to take in strangers. As we know, or you should know take good note of now… Bea is a very private person and doesn’t normally leave her gate open just for anyone! Common sense, but you wouldn’t believe how many people still will ask about it!!

Kev!

Wanda’s personal gift via my Flickr account

Wanda’s note that came with the photos below ::

It was just before Thanksgiving /06 when my husband and I visited California and drove down Bea’s “Private Road” – her gate was open so parked on the street and talked to a young worker outside her home – there were still many workers around as the home was not quite finished. Bea had just been dropped off and was busy looking for the roasting pan for the turkey which she was going to cook in a couple of days – she was all alone except for the worker still putting the final touches on her kitchen. She welcomed us with a big hug – and knew us from meeting her at the El Portal in No. Hollywood. I had made her another scrap book so we looked through it and she had many interesting stories about her fellow actors – we were there over an hour and when we left she gave me Season 6 of the Golden Girls on DVD.

Bea was concerned about having no make-up on when she saw that I wanted to take pictures – she said she could put some lipstick on but I told her it wasn’t necessary. She walked us out to our car arm in arm and showed me how to press the intercom and get in her gate the next time we came. It was a very big thrill for me to visit with Bea – lot of people never get to meet their idol of 40 years – some people don’t want to meet them because they think they will be disappointed. Believe me I was not disappointed – Bea was everything I had hoped for.

- Wanda

Don’t forget… this isn’t the first time that we have heard from Wanda! If you missed it be sure to check out “A Note from Wanda (see below)”!

Want more??? So, did I! Here are a few more quotes from Wanda about her experience from our email exchanges that you might find interesting! I’m sure Wanda won’t mind ;)

To be able to visit with Bea in her new home was a dream come true – I had prayed for that for many many months and it came true. You will see the nice big refrigerator, a beautiful big TV over her fireplace in the kitchen – pool outside the glass doors in the back yard – long dinner table in the dining room – my husband said to her “looks like King Arthur’s table” – she says “How about Bea Arthur’s table?” She didn’t have any food in the house as she was just let off there to work a little while putting things away – she hadn’t fully moved in yet -(as if I could have eaten anything anyway)

She had many stories about Bill Macy, Archie Bunker and others she had worked with. I was on top of the world the whole day – it was great to meet her after her show in No. Hollywood but it was something else to be the only ones in her home with her.

Thanks again Wanda so much!

 

A Note From Wanda

wanda_13The following is a letter that I wanted to share with all of Bea’s fans that I received from Wanda who lives in Canada. She sent me this letter with a bunch of pictures that she took when meeting with Bea. So with great care I scanned them in and am mailing them back to her for her scrapbook of memories. So thank you Wanda for sharing your wonderful story and pictures with me and I hope the rest of Bea’s fans enjoy them too!

Kevin:

First I want to thank you for your web site Bea Arthur in the Lime Light – without it I would never have been able to fulfill the wish I wanted to fill before leaving this earth, that was meeting my favorite T.V. actress of all time. I’ll start with the summer of 2005 when I found out from your site that Bea was going to be in Las Vegas in August – in fact she was going to be there the day before my birthday – what a chance I thought – we could celebrate both at once. I phoned the Tropicana Hotel and luckily they had front row center for the one night show – August 27 – what luck – then I had to phone the Hotel for reservations – got them – now we just have to get to Vegas. This was in June so we had time for plane reservations so I got them arranged to arrive in Vegas a couple of days before the show – I could hardly wait. The weeks dragged by but finally we landed in Vegas after an 8 hour drive to catch the plane from Edmonton, Alberta to Vegas – (2500 miles) altogether. Drove directly to the Tropicana and how was I going to put in the time until show night – slot machines I guess. Finally Saturday night came – we decided we should have a bite to eat before the show – and that would put in some time – I was nearly too nervous to eat - wanda_02what a mistake – I got some kind of food poisoning and just before Bea’s show – what I’d waited for 30 years – oh well I’m not giving in and I thought as long as I sit down I’ll be fine – yea except for the darn stomach cramps! Bea appeared and introduced Billy – what a show – it was everything I had hoped for - only thing I waited for after the show was to buy Bea’s CD of the show – and headed for our room. Why I wanted to sit in the front row was that I had made her a photo album of her life in pictures – pictures I’d been saving since her Broadway days, through Maude, Amanda and Golden Girls – it was a very large album – Bea and Billy were taking their last bows and I gave the book to my husband and he flung it across the stage – it landed at Billy’s feet and he picked it up and handed it to Bea and she tucked it under her arm as they left the stage – mission accomplished! After flying home I was walking my dog one day – when I returned I see my answering machine light blinking – it said “Wanda-Wanda Cosgrove I hope this is you – this is Bea Arthur – I’ve got your beautiful gift and I’m calling to thank you – I’ll call back later.” Well I could have cried I missed her call – I’ll never walk that damn dog again! Anyway a few days later still feeling sorry for myself I received in the mail a beautiful ‘thank you’ card – it read – “Couldn’t reach you by phone. Sorry I took so long to thank you for the loveliest gift I have ever received. Much love and again, my thanks Bea.”

wanda_03I have no idea where she got my phone number but I was thrilled she had and I recorded her message so I’ve go that! Another day Kevin, I was tuned in to your site and I see Bea is going to be in No. Hollywood a the El Portal in February and a few days later in Scottsdale – at once I logged in to Scottsdale to inquire about tickets – no luck with front row seats there – a few days later on your “Tour Information” I see that El Portal were selling the first 4 rows for a few dollars more and a champagne get-together after the show to meet Bea & Billy. I nearly peed myself – I got on the phone right away and talked to a very nice fellow at the El Portal – asked him about front row seats and told him how far we had to come – he said they had two front row centre seats for Feb. 18 – I grabbed them right away. Again, my husband and I go the 2500 miles (this time I was determined to meet her) 8 hours driving, staying overnight in Edmonton, Alta next day off to Las Vegas. Stayed a few days in Primm, Nevada and continued on in our rental car to No. Hollywood where we found our motel not too far from the El Portal. Spent the day before the show around the El Portal so we wouldn’t get lost the next night – we arrived Sat. night 2 hours before show time – got to know the El Portal staff quite well – (no eating before this show). The staff were all very nice and were very interested in my book and the lady wanted to take the book to Bea before the show – I said No that it was because the book I was there to give it to her in person. (This was the second book) I never let either book out of my sight – I held them on the plane, in the car, in the cabs – I had spent too much time and money to wanda_04let someone else deliver it. The show was much the same as the one in Las Vegas except Bea talked more about her friend Angela Lansbury because she was in the audience that night – she also couldn’t finish the joke about the canaries being “sent in first” because all the mine accidents lately – she told us this.

After the show ended we were directed to the reception room where after 10 minutes Bea cam in and sat on a high stool – she looked like a ‘QUEEN’. I didn’t see the line-up which had formed to the left as I was sitting in the rented wheel chair I had taken for the trip. I leapt out of the chair and went up to her and said “Bea, I’m Wanda” She said, “My god this is Wanda Cosgrove from Tumbler Ridge – throwing her arms around me with a big hug “I”ll tell you more about her another time – too much to tell now” (She was talking to her people). She thanks me again for the first book and then I told her she hadn’t see anything yet and gave her the second book – she was amazed that someone would take the time and effort to do that. I told her I made the second book so she could give each of her two sons one in 20 years or so to remember their mother.

Bill was so sweet and friendly – he posed for as many pictures as we wanted and we got a lot of good ones with Bea which some of them are enclosed. She was very gracious, you could tell she was tired, she rehearsed for half an hour before the show, then did a 90 minute show and then met her fans and that night her dog was very ill – talk about a trooper – I don’t know how she does it at her age.

wanda_05wanda_01Again, Kevin, thank you for all your work on your web sites keeping us informed about Bea’s concert dates – the only thing left on my “to do” list happened because of you. I am 73 years old and had a colon cancer operation 2 years ago so you will understand why this last “to do” was so important to me.

Wanda

P.S.
Heard a man say as I was making my way up to meet Bea :
We all knew Bea did Broadway
We all knew Bea did movies
We all knew Bea did television
But we didn’t know she could heal the crippled – did you see that woman leap out of her wheelchair when Bea cam in the room