Wednesday, August 15, 2012
I was in high school. I wrote articles for the school newspaper. Ron Palillo (aka Arnold Horshack of Welcome Back Kotter fame) was starring in a play or something in Arlington Heights, Illinois, and a bunch of other editors from area high schools were invited to come and interview him. I had to take the train from Park Ridge to Arlington Heights. A limo (yes, a limo) was supposed to pick me up from the train station. The catch? The only way my parents would let me go was if my sister Mary came with me. Mary did, without hesitation, because we both loved Welcome Back Kotter and neither one of us had ever ridden in a limo before. Or came so close to a celebrity.
Turns out, it wasn't really a limo, but it did come with a driver. That part was cool.
Ron Palillo was so nice and very funny. It was strange to see him not behave in his Arnold Horshack persona. He answered what I'm sure were all of our very weird and purely high schoolish questions that probably sounded a lot like, "What's it like to work with John Travolta?" or something equally high school-worthy.
Anyway, Ron Palillo was the first celebrity I met face-to-face. He sat across the table from us and sipped some water. Like a real person! :) I was very sad to hear that he passed away this week at the young age of 63. My sister and I had such a fun day that day. We've never forgotten it.