I was in the office at the nursery school when the woman came in. I asked if I could help her and she told me that she was Patty Ecker. It was obvious that she expected me to know who she was.
I said, “Yes?” She explained that she was from the CBS Channel 2 News.
They had been in Long Beach covering a story and they were also working on a story on child care and needed a little more filler. They noticed our facility on the way back. She asked if she could interview me and film some of what the children were doing.
I told her that it would be better to interview my boss who was very articulate and funny. Because they were passing through, she said that I would do. I told her that I’d have to call my boss and get permission. When I called the main office, the boss was out. The secretary -- who had absolutely no authority -- gave me leave to be filmed. (We had photo permits on almost every child.) A board member called a bit later and said that it was alright.
The cameraman taped the children’s activities while Patti talked a little about how she’d handle the interview, what we talked about, etc. The cameraman set up his angles and we sat down out on the porch with the children playing in the background.
She started asking her first question but lowered her voice two or three octaves. I was so surprised by the new voice that I laughed. I told her that her lowered voice startled me and, of course, they edited that part out.
We talked about the nursery school and our part in the community. I said that we were a non-profit nursey school, the second oldest in California, and the longest running. We were established to care for children of single parent families who paid on a sliding scale.
They thanked me, packed up, and left. The only person whom I wanted to see the program was my mother. I called her and she was not home. There were no answering machines at that time, and only a few people had VCR’s. My mother and I weren’t one of those.
My mother was playing cards with friends at another house and the TV was on. One of the women said, “Look, there’s Mina Anne.” My mother looked at the door, and then at the window, and asked, “Where?” The friend pointed to the TV and they watched the interview.
When I hiked Griffith Park on Thursday, one of the regulars came up to me excitedly and said that she had seen the interview and kept saying, “There’s ah…there’s ah…”, not recalling my name.
I heard from others who had seen it, but the most extraordinary encounter I had was at the airport a few weeks later when we took my Aunt Marie and Uncle Sherm there to catch a flight home to Vancouver, B.C. Another waiting passenger came up to me. It was an old friend from high school whom I hadn’t seen since college -- years ago. He had also seen the news program and had said, “I know her.” We had a brief visit and he and his friend seated themselves by my aunt and uncle and visited all the way to Vancouver.
This was my fifteen minutes of fame.
Mina Anne Chudilowsky is a member of the writing class offered through the Cerritos College Adult Education Program. It is held off-campus at the Norwalk Senior Center.