Let me start out with my first night in Idaho. I arrived at 11:30pm Idaho time. I left Florida at 3:45pm and
was pretty cranky by the time the plane landed in Boise, all I had to read by the way was my copy of
Valley Of The Dolls and I had already officially started the "Patty Duke Diet". The taxi driver was nice,
though I didn't get his name. He didn't offer and I certainly didn't ask. I just didn't want to become another
"Tourist Statistic". I always seem to get the scariest looking taxi drivers. Anyhow, he actually was pretty
nice. He asked me, "what brings you all the way to Boise"? I told him "to listen to Patty Duke give a speech
and watch The Miracle Worker. He said "who's Patty Duke"? I tried not to speak to him for the rest of the
ride even though he was showing me where the theater and The Rose Room were. I never saw that driver
again. "Who's Patty Duke"? I mean come on, is he for real? It reminded me of the New York taxi driver I
had this summer when I was going to meet Bill and Carrie for the first time....Though he said, "Get out,
you're here"! Gotta love New York.
Anna looked gorgeous and Mike looked great. Well, at this time I was at the point where I didn't know
what to do other than say "Bill, what do I do? He said "Go introduce yourself"...I eventually was able to
worm my way through the crowd and do so. I said "Hi, I'm Leslie" and Anna said as she is shaking my
hand, "are you the one Bill emailed me about coming all the way from Florida"? I said "yes" and she then
graciously gave me a hug. I now screamed in her right ear, (poor Anna) "BILL, OH MY GOD, I AM
HUGGING ANNA RIGHT NOW!" She said the now famous, "IS THAT JANKOWSKI?" I said "Yes" and
proceeded to SHOVE THE PHONE IN HER EAR. She was speaking to Bill that night whether or not she
wanted to. Oh and this is the greatest line yet. I kept saying to justify my being on the phone so long when
I shouldn't have been on the phone at all, I kept saying "my friend Bill is just "sick" that he couldn't be here
tonight and he knows both Mike and Anna and I came all the way from Florida and they were expecting me!"
Bill and I were getting "sick" on that line alone...OH BROTHER!
Now, I couldn't seem to hang up the phone until later. I introduced myself to Anna's husband, Mike. He is a
great guy. He gave me a hug and was laughing all the time with me. He eventually became my "partner in
crime on the phone". He was kidding around and I made him speak to Bill and Carrie. I SHOVED THE
PHONE IN HIS EAR TOO, (poor Mike). He said jokingly "if you can get 6 people on the phone, there will
be a surprise for you". Well, now at the point of total hysteria, I said to Bill "just call strangers!" We did
manage to get 2 other people on the line. Though, what the surprise is is still an unsolved Boise mystery.
I was on my cell phone so long that people thought I was Anna's Personal Assistant! That explains why they
wanted to take photo's with me. Now that the truth is out, I am sure to be cut out of them. Anna at one
point actually yelled at me. She said "GET OFF THAT PHONE!" I should have right then and there. That
should have been the end of it. But I didn't want to be alone, the phone was a security thing for me at the
time. Mike told me to get something to eat. I told him "I can't..." He understood. I did manage to order a
Diet Coke and had to pay a dollar for it. I paid $40 for food I didn't even get to look at, but paid a dollar for
the soda. Which by the way was WRONG. The bar guy gave me regular when I asked for diet and I told
him so. He then said "sorry". I told him I wasn't giving him another dollar when I already paid $40 for food
that I haven't even seen yet". He laughed and said "no problem Ma'am".
On my way to this whole evening, I again was on the phone with Bill. I made him "walk with me" to the
theater to pick up my ticket for the movie. The guy in charge of handing out the tickets recognized my
voice or something because he said "oh yeah, you're the one from Florida." I said "yes, are you the one that
didn't know any of the phone numbers to the real Rose Room?" Bill and I laughed out loud. There was a
problem with numbers and such when I made my reservation for the evening. No one knew the phone
number to The Rose Room where the reception was being held. They gave me the wrong number and
when I called that number (from Florida) mind you, the goonie girl said "I don't know what you are talking
about....Who's Patty Duke"? Well, I hung up on her! Are these people for real? I finally got the number
and called the theater back and let them know that this number I gave them (from Florida) is the correct
one. I always wondered who was running this gig?
Now, the line for autographs was long and of course, I was last and wouldn't you know it, Mike said to me,
"look we have to go, they can't start the movie without her." He assured me I would get my autograph. He
did let me walk with them to the theater and I kind of lagged behind just watching them walk together. I
didn't see the need the push my way between them or beside them. I was also watching Anna's feet because
I noticed that I have the same shoes that she was wearing and wondered if they hurt her feet like mine do?
Mike did notice that I was lagging behind and asked, "well, are you comin?" Kevin called on the cell and
obviously I won't repeat the conversation, but boys will be boys. I felt bad that I was actually close enough to
hear why he was calling his parents. I will only say, thank God he was alright.
When we got to the theater, Anna out of the blue said to me "Hey you, How ya doin?" I said "fine, but
cold." I was allowed to enter the theater with them (thanks, Mike) and found my seat. I knew someone
would aggravate me and talk through it, my favorite movie. Sure enough the woman next to me talked and
"signed" at the same time. She even laughed at the wrong things. The Miracle Worker is a movie I have to
watch by myself or at least with someone who can keep QUIET. I was so aggravated and tense that I wanted
to move, but didn't want to be rude and get up and do so. We all applauded as "And introducing Patty Duke"
came on the screen. It was thrilling and exciting to be in the same room with her as we were watching a
movie she won an Academy Award for. I cannot tell you how much that meant to me.
Why this woman "signed" and talked through it is yet another Boise mystery. I feel that only Anna had or
has the right to do so. ANNA PORTRAYED HELEN KELLER, NOT THIS LADY. God, she annoyed me.
That woman is lucky I have the movie on tape. If it were another time or place I would have said
something. But with Anna and Mike 5 rows behind me, I thought it would be best to just not do anything at
all. (Bill and Carrie, you know how difficult that was for me). As the movie was finishing up, Anna walked
to the front and on to the stage where she belongs. She was crying, I was crying, I think everyone was
crying, except maybe the guy who kept getting up for more popcorn only to find that he was spilling all of it
on the way back to his seat. We did give her a well deserved standing ovation. She "signed" as
Helen Keller did and the expression on her face...almost like a deer caught in the headlights. She looked so
innocent and vulnerable during that moment, that it became frozen in time. It is a vision that will stay with
me forever. I really wished Bill and Carrie were there to see it. I can't describe it, it's one of those things
where you'd have to be there to believe. I know the tears from me came from that expression alone. The
question and answer session came. She did answer them in depth. She made some comments about certain
scenes and what was going on in her life at the time. I would like to keep that private. Whom ever was in
the theater at that time heard the comments, but for those who weren't, it will unfortunately have to
remain another one of those Boise mysteries. The time was up and some guy handed her a bouquet of Red
Roses and she was then led off the stage and most people just left the theater. I stayed behind because of the
promise Mike had made to me about getting my autograph. I also had to wait because they wanted to do
interviews and such. I was just chatting with Mike and their nephew, Mike Kennedy. They are both so easy
to talk to. We laughed and laughed and then I listened to wonderful stories of Nora, their niece. She sounds
like a great little girl. I wished
she were there, I wanted to meet her after hearing stories about her.
I did manage to get my autograph (thanks, Anna and Mike,for keeping your promise). It was the photo of
her as Helen Keller and she asked me "where did you get that?" I said New York and she signed it for me.
Mike said, "Can't you tell she's from New York?" Anna said "I don't know, I didn't get to speak to her." I
thought, "Yeah, thanks to my cell phone," which by the way, is now an official Patty Duke Collectible
item! Bill's and Carrie's phones are, too. Anyhow, it was time to leave and I didn't get to properly say
goodbye to them. I did thank her for the autograph though.
There was a massive crowd outside of kids cruising the street on foot and by car. I didn't know what to do. I
saw Anna, Mike and their nephew leaving in the other direction and said GOODBYE and THANK YOU to
myself. I then of course, called Bill again. I wanted him to "walk with me" back to my Hotel room. How I
managed to breathe in Boise without him, I will never know. The "Patty Duke Diet" was taking it's toll on
me. I was beyond starving and still couldn't swallow a small amount of food. That diet works! She should
market it. "How to lose weight by Patty Duke". Spend an evening with them solo without having anyone
there who actually knew them. That's the trick. I did manage to eat a little something the day after, when
Bill made me realize that there was a snack vending machine in the hotel. My diet on this whole adventure
consisted of...Cheetos, Chili Cheese flavored Fritos (SKEEVATZ), pretzels left over from my plane ride(s)
and some that I brought from Florida, an apple cinnamon cream filled snack cake (SKEEVATZ), a half of the
world's most largest apple, a Halloween snack-sized Baby Ruth candy bar and half of a chicken caesar salad
wrap type sandwhich from one of the MANY restaurants in Downtown Boise and LOTS of Diet Coke and 2
8-oz. water bottles. I get SKEEVED just thinking about it. I was also sleep-deprived. I got a total of 4-hours
of sleep while there and I was there for 3 days! I made Bill yet again, (poor Bill) "walk with me" to kill
time and talk about the night before and laugh. Idaho is beautiful and the air believe it or not, did have a
calming affect on me. I can see
why Anna really feels at home there.
It was an evening to be forever remembered. Anna said something that night during her speech about
teachers. She said that "it was something she never had the patience for." I found that statement funny. To
me, SHE IS A TEACHER...She has taught me things I didn't learn from school or even my own parents. I
have been idolizing Patty Duke since 1975. I cannot express how great it was to finally be in her presence. I
felt honored just to be in her in eye sight. Bill, great pal of mine, I thank you for being so patient and
generous with your own cell phone minutes through this whole thing. Carrie, I appreciate your input and
help and support through all of this, too. I wanted you both to share in my solo moment with Anna and
Mike. I am glad you both were there and I love you.
I want to thank both Anna and Mike and their nephew, Michael Kennedy. It was a pleasure meeting all of
I often wondered what I would do or say if I were lucky enough to actually meet the very person I have
been idolizing. I didn't think I would spend the whole time on the phone. Although, it really wasn't the time
nor the place to get personal. I didn't think that moment would even happen. I am so thrilled to have finally
met her. I was more worried at first about my outfit or what I would look like to her. Now, the phone bit
is my only concern of what she really thinks of me. I honestly can say, I couldn't wait to crawl out of Idaho.
She seemed easy to talk to if you didn't have a phone stuck to your ear! We all have reasons for loving Anna.
She has inspired us in our own way. Mine was always beyond her acting. We all know she is a great actress.
But, the "real life" side of her is what always fascinated and intrigued me. She really is a BRILLIANT
She has been a terrific ROLE MODEL, MENTOR and TEACHER to me. Thank you, Anna, for being my
teacher and for making me realize that there is more to life than just the everyday, ordinary nonsense.
With the strength I gained form you, I know how I made it this far. You truly are an inspiration to me. And
for that, I can never repay you. All I can do is continue to support, love and learn from you.
I hope everyone enjoyed my adventure in Boise,