Copyright 2015 by Kay Harper
Hills, California – 1991
is like no other place on earth. Notoriety is like a tornado in that
town. If its force shifts your way, you’re in for a mighty
sorry, Ms. Harper, they’re not quite ready for you. Would you
follow me, please?” The receptionist had a raspy, little girl
voice, and her pigtails were in on the charade. She was in great
shape for a gal whose face looked like she was pushing sixty. I
couldn’t keep up with her as she jogged down the hall.
in Hollywood, I
thought, and made a run for it.
stopped at a door. “Here you are.” She smiled,
la Vanna White then disappeared. Who knew how long I’d be
waiting while the HR manager figured out what to do with a new temp?
small room had an overstuffed red leather chair that had seen better
days with a dusty table beside it. Oh
good, something to read while I wait,
I thought, as I scooped up the copy of The Beverly Hills Courier.
can change on a
dime or, in this case, Page Nine. The headline read, FRED Joaillier
to Give Away a Wedding! My boyfriend, Irwin, and I had discussed
marriage so I read on. “World renowned jeweler, FRED, is
away a wedding to the couple who has the most romantic story. Write
it and send it in.”
night I wrote a poignant piece about our renewed romance after
thirteen years apart. Several days later the phone rang.
The man had a thick Spanish accent. “This is Sergio from
We got your story. We like it very much, but we would like to ask you
some questions. Can you come to the salon?”
minutes later, Sergio asked, “Do you really want to
Apparently, they had had a few insincere candidates in their quest
for THE couple.
yes!” I gushed while Irwin blushed, smiled and nodded.
moment later Sergio shouted, “Congratulations, you will be
married on October 27!” It was already late September, which
meant we had to make all the wedding decisions within one month!
the rehearsal Sergio’s shadow, Cynthia, pulled me aside.
me show you what you’ll be wearing tomorrow.” She
over to a huge glass case and pointed to a necklace with matching
are 24 caret gold with diamonds, rubies and drop pearls. How do you
my head swimming at the sight, I protested, “Elizabeth Taylor
wears these things. I don’t. If it’s all the same
I think I’ll just stick with the tiny pearls I have, but
I started to walk away, Cynthia grabbed my arm and pulled me behind a
partition. “It’s not the same! Obviously you do not
understand. FRED has arranged this event. Translation? We have PAID
for it! You are going to have a perfectly lovely wedding. Reporters
will be here, and they will write about you—The Million
Bride, because, those little gems in there are worth a million
dollars. So, you see, you don’t have a choice. You will be
wearing that necklace and those earrings. Are we clear?”
next day the reporters arrived to find me in Liz’ jewels
Armando, a handsome, eagle-eyed bodyguard, followed my every move.
Publicity stunt or
not, it was a splendid wedding. And as we made our getaway in a white
stretch limousine, our family and friends pelted us with gourmet bird
seed courtesy of Ark, the designer pet store across the street. Only
in Beverly Hills!
of the message.)
Story list and biography for Kay
Preservation Foundation, Inc., A Nonprofit Book Publisher