Friends Like You Reunion, October, 2006As reported by Tim Thompson, with some help from his wife, Cheryl, on a day by day basis.
awaited day is here!
I'm home from work, cleaned up and about ready to leave for Philadelphia where tomorrow morning we will board a plane. Cheryl took the day off to pack and finish making my "western" garb for the dinner. As I got home I heard her pounding . . . she was putting the snaps on my shirt.
It's raining so we'll have a nasty drive to Philly . . . but hey . . . the day is here and we're on the way!
Day 1, Part 2
Well . . .
We survived the rain and we are in the city of Brotherly Love.
The airport is right across the street. They tell us here that we have to be there 2 hrs early
So . . . to the airport shuttle at 5:20 A.M. We miss my free breakfast as they don't start serving until 6:00
Oh well . . . if all goes well we'll be in SLC at 10:30 A.M. then . . . on to Provo and the Sundance tour.
Safe travels to all who are / will be traveling . . .
LOOK OUT UTAH . . . we're gonna be on the way!
Day 2, Part 1
Boy . . .
Do you know how dark it is at 4:45 in the morning? I would let you know if it's raining or whatever . . . but . . . did I mention how dark it is at 4:45?
Actually . . . I think it's raining/cloudy but it doesn't matter. The hotel shuttle will wisk us away for our 5 min ride to the airport . . . then check in, wade through security and then wait for the appointed time to board our plane and then off to sunny (Yep - our advance scout- aka Kathy the trucking lady - has informed us of perfect conditions) UTAH!
Part 2 to follow - when we're in UTAH!
Again - safe travel to all who are driving, flying and training it today and tomorrow . . .
And don't worry Becky . . . there will be some fun left for all
Utah bound Tim
Day 2 - We're Here!
shakey start this morning in Philly - Plane leaving late and
rough ride . . .
WE ARE HERE!
On the plane we were surprised in that there were MDF's we knew. Mr Bob 2 and Barbara, Paula and Lianne.
Upon arriving at Salt Lake City after getting our bags we found the Meetings America People decked out in MOD Squad duds and pink balloons. After boarding the bus and a 45 min drive we arrived at the Provo Marriott . . . aka . . . Friends Like You party headquarters.
Since our plane left late we arrived late so we were pushed for time. Upon departing the bus we had to check in with Mtgs America for tours, Charisma for arm bands AND THE GOODIE BAG, and Marriott.
First and foremost I cannot say enough good about the Meetings America People, the Charisma folks, and the Marriott folks. Believe me we have so far been treated like royalty!
Now . . . the goodie bag. For the first time at any of these events you got the bag first thing. I know you're dying to know what's in it . . .
I can't tell you!
No . . . the bag is really nice . . . pink with black trim butterflies adorning the front. Enclosed in the bag is a bottle of water. A large bag with all kinds of chocolate, candy and Utah items. A 15th Anniversary water sipper, a signed by Marie fan of Baby Donny, the November issue of Doll Reader which has Baby Donnie on the cover
oh yea . . . the doll you want to know about . . . a porcelain Adora Belle "Adora Friendship Belle" limited to 450 and hand signed by Marie. Doll has blonde hair and the dress is black with a lot of emboidery. Really great doll . . . sorry for a better description you'll have to ask one of the ladies.
Now . . . about the Baby Donny doll . . . the gift with buying him here . . an autographed by Donny picture. (A large picture of Donny holding the doll and then 3 other shots to the side) The coa is also signed by Donny and Marie.
The weather is just wonderful here! As stated earlier we were in a rush because we were doing the Sundance Tour. By the time we had all the check ins done it was 1:45 and we had to be on the bus at 2:15 (We still had to buy Donny and Sonya). The tour guide from Mtgs America was great and she talked on the way to Sundance. Sundance was just great! Longest ski lift I have ever been on. Much colder at the top - yes there was a little snow we could see. On the way back we stopped at a waterfall called "Bridal Falls." Very nice!
When we got back from the Sundance Tour we got to talk to MDF's and see Dianne and Marie's displays and walk around the hotel.
Charisma has added another breakfast to the package so the deal just keeps getting better. Now included are all three meals on Friday and breakfast on Saturday.
Well . . . my body is on east coast time so though it's only 9 here my clock says its 11!
Tomorrow . . .
On the Road To Utah Day 3 Part 1
Day 3, Part 1
Well . . .
It's still very dark here in Utah at 7 A.M. but I'm sure it's clear outside.
We're about to head to get in line for breakfast and the first activities.
Here's what's supposed to happen today. . .
8:00 to 9:15 Breakfast - Grand Ballroom
8:45 to 9:55 Welcome and Fashion Show - Grand Ball room
10:05 to 12:00 "Hanging on for Dear Life Can Ruin a Good Manicure" - Grand Ballroom
12:00 to 1:00 Lunch available with vouchers at Marriott
1:00 to 2:00 Workshop Rotation 1 - Bryce or Arche Rooms
2:30 to 3:30 Workshop Rotation 2 - Bryce or Arche Rooms
4:00 to 5:00 Collecting with Tim Luke - Grand Ballroom
5:45 to 7:00 Travel to Thanksgiving Point
7:00 to 10:30 Marie's Birthday Celebration at Thanksgiving Point - The Barn
A number of the listed things do not interest me so I will try to post throughout the day to let you know my thoughts on what's going on and perhaps share some tidbits that I might findout.
Day 3, Part 2
Am back up
Tim Luke hosting the fashion show was a riot! YOU HAVE TO BUY THE DVD OF THE EVENT! You don't want to miss it!
He started off by getting Marie out on the runway - sitting her down and then doing a version of "9 to 5" What a riot.
They did a fashion show of the 2007 dolls. Photos were not allowed.
Some amazing dolls.
After the fashion show Marie talked for about 2 hrs.
There is a lot of people here and everyone seems to be getting along and having a great time.
Keep checking Marie's site or the Doll Reader magazine forum. They will be updating photos every hr.
Off to the next seminar.
Day 3, Part 3
from the first seminar, which for our group was the Doll Artists
Before I forgot . . . there is a wonderful humanitarian effort going on here.
Marie/Charisma has allowed the Adora Belle face to be printed on a rag doll. These dolls are being stuffed by the attendees and then will be shipped to orphanages in 3rd world countries where this will be a childs very first and or only doll. Is this cool or what? We are all hopefully all . . . going to stuff three dolls. Yes, every where I've been the guys are even stuffing! We have to sew them closed too!
Now . . . back to the artist panel. The questions asked were those that you all sent in when Charisma mailed out the requests for questions. Lisa Hatch was the moderator. I hope I don't forget anyone . . .
The panel included;
Marie, Beverly Stoehr, Karen Seamons, Jo Ann Pohlman, Paula Hart, Sonja Bryer, Karen Scott and Ping Lau - (A note - Breta Finlinson was not there because of surgery - I'm sure prayers appreciated)
Some of the questions asked;
"What was the first doll sculpted for Marie?"
"What was the favorite doll you sculpted for Marie?"
"What was is like working with Marie?"
"Where do you get your inspiration?"
The artists were up on the stage and then there were about 200 of us in the audience (groups 1 & 2) Of course the artists got to see all of us stuffing/sewing dolls. Karen Seamons pretty much had the whole place in tears as she was watching us do the dolls and then she commented about how wonderful it was that so many orphans would be getting a doll for the first time. You would have had to been there to catch the spirit and the emotions in the room during that discussion.
Karen Scott had the place in tears when she shared about what was going on in her life while she was sculpting the Donny doll . . .
And then . . . Lisa Hatch had everyone in tears (I've been to most major events and this I think was the first time this was shared) when she shared about her sculpting Susie. To make a long story short she presented this doll to her mother. Her mother was thrilled and very proud! Little did Lisa know that 3 months later her mom would die. Lisa shared that giving the doll to her mom was one of the last and greatest times she shared with her mom. This of course was shared right after Karen had everyone aware of the situation of the children the raggies were going to.
As I have said in a number of other posts . . . Mtgs America, Charisma and Marriott are all treating us like royalty! This is truely a wonderful, once in a lifetime event. I have to say again THANKS!
I'm off to walk around Provo.
There are 2 more sessions that will happen today. . .
"All Dolled Up" with Connie (if you weren't in the group that did it)
and then "Turning Trash into Treasure" with Tim Luke from 4 to 5
THEN . . .
At 5:45 we will board the buses to go to "Little Bit Country Birthday Bash" at the Barn at Thanksgiving Point where "You'll enjoy an evening full of fabulous food, a birthday cake like you've never seen, and world class entertainment!"
Day 3, Part 4
posting a little something early this morning when we got back to
the room (After midnight) and just as I hit the post button the
The party was totally awesome. I am sure there will never be an event or moment like what we experienced last night. We LITERALLY shared a family time with Marie and her family.
Marie's Stephen and Rachael dressed as Donny and Marie and they did highlights from the Donny and Marie show - they were truely AMAZING! Now remember . . . all this is a surprise to Marie . . . QVC had a camera on her and we got to see her expressions on the screen as some of this went on. We saw her tears and her laughter as a lot of the things happened.
Lisa Hatch and Lisa's daughter sang a song to Marie. Lisa said that if she could write this would be some of what she would say to her after 22 yrs. The jist of the song (and I don't remember the name) was that I am a better person because of knowing you. Lisa played the piano and she and her daughter sang. Lisa has a very nice voice and her daugher is fantastic. When Marie was talking/sharing after all the surprises she said, "Lisa, I didn't know you could sing." Brian (Marie's husband) and Lisa really put together an amazing tribute to Marie just full of surprises.
Karl Ingram (Marie's mgr forever) sang with his brother and a few others from their family - truely amazing (Karl was the head of Capitol records and his brother was one of the Letterman.
There was a video birthday card from Donny before going on his show in Broadway that was just a riot.
Your MDF Gifts just totally blew her away. The gift certifcate from Nordstrom just floored her. Marie tried her best not to accept it . . . she literally said, ". . . can't I give it to someone else, I have so much." What a lady! By the way Marie is very stubborn. She and Tanya and Vicky literally "bickered" (I can't think of the word needed) about the certificate and whether she was going to accept it. Marie's son Stephen finally came up on stage and whispered something in his mom's ear and Marie accepted the gift. Then there was the scrapbook, cards, letters and Cheryl's MDF raggie . . . THEN . . .
THERE WAS CHRIS'S Quilt . . . Marie was stunned and the quilt was amazing. It was shortly after that that Marie started sharing and the place was in tears.
She shared photos and memories of her parents . . . just a most amazing, touching time!
I don't know how much of the weekend was is going to be on the DVD but again (and I really do hate being a commercial) You better order that thing. This weekend is just well . . . it's just . . . !
Again - that party was literally sharing a family event with Marie.
The Birthday cake was huge - it was a bunch of "pink boxes" looking just like your doll boxes. It was brought in with sirens and a real fireman and paramedic from the Orem fire dept. The fireman was one of the fireman on the scene at their house fire. Brian shared how for a time the firetrucks were pumping 1,000 gallons a minute and it was doing nothing. The paramedic was one of the ones that had taken Brian to the hospital. Brian expressed his and his families thanks to these people . . . as we all do
Thanksgiving Point was fabulous. The food . . . amazing! There was many types of fresh fruit and cheese to begin with and the meal included bbq chicken breasts, steak, western style baked beans, salad, corn on the cob and some other things. Yes . . . just amazing! And yes . . . seconds were allowed and yes I did get another steak and another chicken.
This only scratches the surface of what went on . . . . but I tried to give a little taste from my perspective . . .
I would post more but we were supposed to be at breakfast 15 mins ago and we still have to get dolls ready for the signing.
Today (Saturday - 14th) is the day of the Ultimate Signing . . . group one meets/begins at 9:30
I will try to post throughout the day and I will try to post a couple pictures from the birhtday party sometime today.
We're off . . . . Utah Day 4 begins
Day 4, Ultimate Signing
Please . .
. if anything here sounds negative realize I have been in lines
since 8:45 this morning and we finished up around 4:30 so I may
not come across in words with the right tone.
What a day . . . .
LINES!!!! . . . what can I say, it's a signing.
I am writing this at 6:45 P.M. Utah time. Marie has about 35 more people to go in group four. (Group 4 was scheduled to end at 4:30)
We were in group 1. Started about 30 mins late. If you have never been to a big signing when you go into the room you go to a very long banquet table and then turn your dolls heads and then stand before your dolls. I think there was 6 long tables in the room. Marie was "miked" so you got to hear what she was saying as she was signing and there was a video screen with many Osmond moments playing. As Marie signed a table as your dolls were signed you went up front to stand to get your picture taken with Marie. Once she was done with that tables pictures she would start on the next table. Everyone got to talk to Marie as she signed your doll / item and then everyone had a picture taken with Marie (as long as you had a camera). I thing we were done with her about 11:45 From there we took the dolls we had with us to start with the other guest artists. We saw Beverly and JoAnn before we broke for lunch.
Oh yea . . . at the Marie signing just before we finished up Lisa's sister M'lissa (sp?) came in and we got the tiny tots (trio) of her signed. Also, Lisa Hatch signed your dolls when Marie was signing them.
(I'm working on like no sleep so forgive me for jumping around)
Lunch broke at 12:30 - was supposed to be over and signings to resume at 1:30 As you know QVC has been here all weekend (you will probably want to be sure to watch Maries show when it's on - like you wouldn't lol) so they pulled Marie and all the artists and did something when they were supposed to have lunch. We got back at 1:30 to the room where the artists were and sign on the door said back at 1:45 Then we watched the sign change to 2:30 They got back at three
After Lunch we saw Karen Scott - her line was one of the longest lines all day long. (Remember she sculpted Donny and there were 500 available there with the coa signed by Donny and Marie and a signed picture.) Karen really is a down to earth gracious person. Then to Sonja Bryer (need I say more), JoAnn Pohlman, Karen Seamons, Paula Hart, M'lissa Virginia, and Ping. Boy if I missed someone I'm sorry! (Remember - I'm just a guy and a doll collector only by marriage)
Then it was back to our room where we pkgd things back up. Then back downstairs to the UPS stand and you got it . . . WHAT A LINE!
I must say (and if you frequent signings you will understand) this was a very tiring day and in my observation a number of ladies got very "testy" so for them I am saying again . . . in spite of some things . . . Charisma, MTGS America and the Marriott folks did a wonderful job. The Charisma crew worked their butts off! THANK YOU!
Dinner would be nice about now but Cheryl is asleep and this old boy is not waking her up.
I am trying to think of any tidbits I learned but to be honest with you if anything was "slipped" I didn't catch it or don't remember it.
Marie as usual was very gracious and made everyone fell special. Poor Lisa as usual had to be the "bad guy" to keep Marie focused and moving.
It was nice actually seeing people from Charisma that I had talked to on the phone. I think everyone who worked for Charisma was there. I met Pat Selmer and also Margarite (doll hospital) whom I don't think I had ever seen before but as said earlier I have talked to them on the phone.
For those of you who shop at Diane's Dolls or Maria (Saving Graces) they actually had a store set up and like all of the Marie retailers I have meet were both very gracious and helpful.
I am so brain dead . . . that's about all I can think of right now
The pajama party is tonight and I think they changed the time to 9:30 P.M.
I did see them inflating hundreds of black plastic chairs so I have a feeling that they are for tonight. For those who brought gifts for Marie she will be opening them tonight in front of those who gave them. There will also be a drawing for about 15 dolls plus the one of a kind tonight.
Now I think I'm done for a while . . .
. . .
I must say that I did not go to the pajama party. I can tell you it started off at 9:00 and Cheryl came back to the room a little after 1 this morning. Marie and many others were still there as she was opening birthday presents in front of the people who gave them.
I know there was food . . . I know, I missed it . . . pizza and wings that I know of . . . .
Since I wasn't there there's not to much more to share except that I know our Bob ( music man) the one who did the Utah trivia post - - - had a bit of a bit with Marie and she bet him last night . . . I don't know whatall the bet was but I know he accepted and she gave him a set of baby doll pajamas and a blonde wig and bet him he wouldn't put them on and wear them. He did go put them on and he did wear the wig and he did wear them throughout the party!
I know that our Ken and Rebecca won posters of Donny. I know that our Sandy G won an artist proof of a tiny tot but I don't remember which one.
I know that the one of a kind was valued at over $3,000 (That was an amazing doll by the way).
There was a comedian there who I heard was exellent.
As far as today goes I know A LOT of people are going to the optional brunch so the place may be quiet this morning.
I will try to find out some more info during breakfast and post back.
Perhaps we can get Cheryl on here and she will share about the pj party.
(By the way - the entrance to the pj party was near the auction boards and when I was checking the auctions there were people lined up to get into the pj party and yes there were lots of men in pj's. NO . . . I was not one of them.)
story on Bob- the best sport ever, I'd say, was Marie told him
she'd get him PJs if he came to the PJ Party. But before she gave
them to him, he had to promise to wear them. After he promised,
she pulled out pink babydoll pajamas and a blonde wig with
pigtails! Yes, he did wear them all night, and I'm sure someone
will post a picture. I was sitting too far back to get a good
They had several rows of vinyl chairs in the front which they drew names for people to sit in and take them home. Most of the winners for this were men- go figure- and our Ken in WVA was one. I mention this because he was the lucky man last night. Rebecca also won an artitst proof of Breathtaking in Blue- Sandy G won Ann Marie Holiday TT. The lady that won the OOAK had never won anything before, and I don't remember her name, but I'm sure Marie's site will have that.
The comedian was a friend of Brian's- his name was Johnny Biscuit. He was hysterical, especially when talking about doll people and our web site! Marie was in stitches almost the whole time.
By the way, they raised over $22,000 from the auction. I heard the tickets to Donny's show & meet-n-greet sell for about $700. (Someone donated them because they couldn't go after getting the tickets.)
Marie spent 10 hours signing yesterday, and her back was really hurting last night from bending over the tables all day. She mentioned she might get a massage today!
There were lots of sweet & funny little moments all evening. Marie grabbed the microphone from Lisa early on and when Lisa bent over to keep speaking into it, Marie accidentally smashed her in the mouth with it. The lady that won the artist proof of the musical pincushion doll (the one that played Camelot) had cross-stitched a design for all of Marie's children to go in their scrapbooks. When Marie called her name, she screamed all the way as she ran up front to get her doll! Then they told all the other winners they wanted the same enthusiasim! And for the most part, they got it!
At the end they thanked everyone at Charisma, Marie's office, all the artists that had worked so hard to make this event happen. I know everyone is taking home wonderful memories of an incredible 3-4 days. The lines were long, but Marie and everyone worked so hard and made everything just wonderful for us. I can't think of any famous people who would put on such an event for their fans. Even the comedian last night said most stars would have had a satellite hook-up to thank everyone for coming, but would never be there in person.
Thanks to Marie and everyone for something I will NEVER forget!
Day 5, Part 2
majority of people did in fact go to the special brunch this
morning. They gathered at 9:00 A.M. to board buses and head out
We saw Mr Bob 1 and 2 and Robbin and Barbara this morning as they were preparing to leave. They will be driving to Salt Lake City where they will stay at a hotel close to the airport and fly out tomorrow.
Cheryl and I are in a rather large group that gathers at 1:30 and leaves for the airport at 2:00 Our flight leaves SLC at 5:11 P.M. and arrives in Philly around 11:30 where we will spend a night at a hotel near that airport before driving home to MD tomorrow.
The Charisma folks are here at the hotel cleaning and packing. They still have a pretty massive job ahead of them. They literally worked their butts of this weekend for all of us to have a wonderful time.
AGAIN . . . I cannot say enough about the Charisma folks, the Mtgs. America folks and the Marriott folks.
If you have not had a chance jump over to the Doll Reader site and catch a glimpse of their impressions.
It dawned on me this morning that Cheryl's baby Donny is signed by everyone - (well if you count Donny signing the cert.) The doll itself has been signed by Marie, Karen Scott and Karen Seamons. Because of this event Cheryl now a number of dolls signed by 3 or 4 people.
I told Lisa Hatch (yes, I am rambling) that it was actually harder to get her to sign a doll than Marie. But we got her to sign 4 this wkend.
In retrospect if there is ever an event like this again I don't think (I'm saying this right now) I don't think we will ship so many dolls. By the time we pay the shipping to and from we could have bought 2 toddlers. Plus, the dolls get heavy and some people do not handle signings very well and I hate being in line with people fussing and complaining and thinking people are spending too much time with an artist because they want their turn. Signings are lines - and to a true collector I think it is more important to get a few minutes with an artist and have that memory more than have that signature. This is just my observations. To talk to Karen Scott or Sonya or Beverly and hear their thoughts about the doll and the inspiration creates a special memory that stays with the doll.
Well . . . we have to finish pkg and check out and get to the bus.
If I find out any more tidbits will post tonight from Philly.
Thanks for your kind words about the UTAH posts and . . .
You are welcome!
Finaly thoughts from Cheryl
wanted to let all of you know, I got to meet Margaret from the
doll hospital, and she is a wonderful lady! All of Charisma was
there, as well as everyone that works in Marie's office, and they
all did a fantastic job. Now when I speak to her or Pat on the
phone, I will feel like I am calling old friends.
I can't really put into words what this event was like, I only wish everyone could have been there. We had so much fun, laughed so hard, and spent the most memorable evening of my life with Marie and her family and friends. How do I say thank you to Tanya, Vicky, and Marie Doll Friends for giving me the opportunity to share in this and to represent you through my gift? I told Marie, in all those years of watching her on TV and listening to her records, never in my wiildest dreams did I ever think I would share a stage with her! Actually, I did think about it in my wildest dreams, the kind you know will never really come true. Without this group, and your support in buying my dolls, none of this could have happened. Thank you all for making even my wildest dreams come true this weekend!