by Diane Boone
Like Robert Duran (see his story here), I also went to the convention in New Jersey in March '08.
I had never been to a convention before. I was really surprised that there were no security checks at all. They were just concerned if I had my tickets. Mostly, though, I was so excited that I was going to see René.
My daughter came with me that Saturday. We were having lunch at the hotel restaurant and some people started talking to me. They informed me that René was having lunch right behind me. Of course, I didn't even see him, but then I probably wouldn't have bothered him. Hey, let the guy eat, you know?
First, I saw Armin give his talk, and he was great. Lots of fun. Then René got on stage and spoke about spending the night in Brooklyn at his son Rémy's place. I thought, "How cool, I lived in Brooklyn!" And what a family thing to do. Very nice. Then the Q&A part of the hour began, and people lined up to take turns asking René questions.
In 1990, I saw René in a play and wrote to him afterward, and he wrote back to me. Years later, I wrote to him again through his website, to thank him for his kind response back in 1990, but now I still wanted to say it personally.
So I got my nerve up and waited in line. When it came to my turn, I simply said, "Back in 1990 you were in a play called City of Angles. Someone told me I could write to you but send it to the theatre." I said to the audience, "Just to let you know what kind of a guy he is (I turned back to René), you wrote me back. I just wanted to say, after 17 years, thank you for writing me back."
I'm afraid my comment made René feel funny. That was not my intention. I think he felt funny because the audience applauded after my comment, as if to say, "What a great guy!" Which, of course, is what we all think!
When I walked back to my seat, my daughter asked me if I heard them. I said "no," I was walking away. She assured me the whole audience really applauded me. My few minutes of fame, I guess!
But the important thing is, I finally said "Thank you" to René in person. That made me happy.
After that, I waited for my picture with René. A man and his son were ahead of me on line, and he asked me if I acted with René. I said "no," and asked him why he thought that. He said I sounded like I knew him! I laughed, and explained that I just wrote him a letter years ago and he answered. By this point I had a small group of people listening to me. They were all very happy, I think because René seemed like such a regular guy.
I'm a massage therapist. For a while, I wondered what I would do if I had to massage someone famous, until I realized that being famous is just part of some people's occupation. Some people are nurses and lawyers. René is an actor, and that puts him in the public eye. And yet René is so warm and friendly and that just makes him more special.
Finally my turn was coming up to have my picture taken with him and, boy, was I excited! I just about ran up to him and René was so sweet. He put his arms around me and gave me a big hug. My smile was from ear to ear. After the picture was taken I gave him a kiss on the cheek. He was sporting a beard and it's nice to say it was very soft. I think I caught him off guard, but he said, "Thank you."
Thank you, René!
Later on, everyone got on line for autographs. Armin was very sweet to me. He asked me my name and where I was from. Then I went over to René. A woman asked if I wanted him to draw a cartoon of an Odo's Bucket with my name on it for Doctors without Borders. I was a little upset and a little embarrassed because my daughter had all my things... including money. I apologized to René because I would have gladly donated to his cause.
René just smiled and said, "Oh, that's all right."
Still, I felt bad.
Anyway, as René was signing his name, I leaned over and told him my license plate says ODO.
He looked at me, and said, "Your license plate says ODO?"
I said," Yeah, I figure if I'm gonna' be dorky, I might as well go all the way!"
He just looked at me and said, "Have a nice night."
I had to laugh to myself because he probably thought I was completely crazy....but I'm harmless.
Those are my memories of the convention in New Jersey. I had a great time. I met René, Armin, Casey Biggs (I got his cold), Chase Masterson, J.G. Hertzler, Max Grodenchik, and Patrick Stewart. It's nice to know I'm not alone in the Star Trek world!
First photo from TrekMovie.com; all others by Diane Boone.