Wow!!!!!!! On Tuesday, December lst, I received a gold medal from Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, in Sacramento, and was put in the California Hall of Fame. I have to tell you, I never take awards or any kind of honor lightly, and I have never gotten blase about something like that. This was a great honor, a lovely ceremony, and a very touching award.
Three of my children went with me, and we left for Sacramento in the morning (i was REALLLLLLYYYYY nervous!!!). I very seldom do anything that puts me in the limelight. I don’t do public appearances, public speaking, and seldom even do interviews. I like leading a very quiet life, and am very shy. So I was nervous about this. But off we went to Sacramento, we checked into a hotel, and I got dressed up there. At 5pm, I had to be at a rehearsal for the event. Several hundred people were invited, it was held in a theater setting, and they had done an exhibit of things about me (and the other award recipients) at the California Hall of Fame Museum. An artist had very cleverly done a tower of my books stacked on top of each other, there were photographs, the same kind of typewriter I use, and a biography of me under a huge picture on the wall. It was very impressive!!! The hardest part for me in a situation like that is feeling comfortable with so much attention. It’s a very unfamiliar feeling for me!!! And not one I’m at ease with. But I was very happy to have my kids with me, a friend who came up too, and two members of my staff, who all came as my cheering team!!!
In all, 13 people were receiving the award, some of them posthumously, and there were some very impressive people in the group. Famed pilot, General Chuck Yaeger, the Olympic Athlete Rafer Johnson, George Lucas the film producer, Carol Burnett the actress, and John Madden of football fame, Harvey Milk,and several others.
During rehearsal, we were told what would happen when we were given the awards. Then we wandered around and looked at our exhibits in the museum, had our photograph taken together. And then the ceremony began. We were seated on a stage in a theater, all lined up, and Maria Shriver introduced us and welcomed us. She is a wonderful person, and her speech was very warm. And after that, we were each asked to read the biography and introduce the person who would come after us. One by one, we walked to the center of the stage, where Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger put a ribbon around our necks with a big gold medal on it (it’s 3 or 4 inches across). In my case, the award was given for my writing and my philanthropic work with the two foundations I founded and run, which deal with mental illness, child abuse, suicide prevention, and homelessness. It was VERY exciting when the governor put the medal around my neck, and once we had introduced the next person, we could sit down.
After the ceremony, there was a very nice reception, and then we all went home—back to San Francisco. My children were very excited and so was I, although I always have a ‘who? me?” feeling about things like that. Yeah, me, i guess…..go figure…..imagine that, me with a gold medal around my neck and in the California Hall of Fame!!! Definitely, Wow!!!!