Friday, October 26, 2007

People I've known #1 - Debi Mazar

This is another new theme I am going to explore from time to time, to highlight some of the interesting (or not) people who've crossed my life's path. They will not always be famous people - in fact, given the number of famous people whom I've known, this may be the only famous one.

I am not a big viewer of regular TV series' anymore. I prefer the food network and the HGTV variety of shows, being the domestic goddess that I am. But every now and then, I see Debi Mazar on tv, (right now, she's on HBO's Entourage), and I keep meaning to write about her... because I went to school with her.. and she rode my bus as a kid...really. For those of you who rub elbows with the rich and famous on a regular basis, this may not be much of a claim to fame, but she's about as close as I've ever been so far (besides Figaro Minnick of the Velmas).

I was in fifth grade, I think, when I first met Debi Kojak -- which was her name back in 1974. She had lighter hair back then, brownish blonde, was always cute and petite, and she had a bit of a lisp, which you can still catch in her performances if you listen carefully. On her, it made her more cute, unlike on me, who would have just been a chubby, homely child with a speech impediment. She was extremely outgoing and lively, and I was drawn to her, as she was everything that I wasn't but wanted to be at that age. I remember snippets of conversations we had on the bus. She told me excitedly one day that she was wearing a bra, "size 28A" and I relentlessly pestered and pleaded with my mother for the next year to buy me a bra. After all, I was chubby, so I was at least a 34A, and if I squished my arms together, I almost had cleavage. She also declared back then, in no uncertain terms, that she would be an actress someday. And sitting next to this, compared to me, worldly, confident, lively girl, I could feel the energy in her words, and I believed her completely.

I don't remember ever paying any attention to the house she lived in when the bus picked her up or dropped her off back then. I do recall that it was on a very rural road, off of Route 23A in Catskill, (near Zwickel's hill for you locals) practically in the woods. If you read any biographical information about Debi, all reports say that she was born and raised in Queens, and she does not admit to having ever lived in the Catskill mountains, but she was there for a couple of apparently forgettable years as an adolescent. In eighth grade, I finally escaped Catholic school and we were classmates for a short time, though I don't recall seeing much of Debi beyond the bus. I was practically invisible in eighth grade, and it would be years before I rubbed elbows with the "popular" crowd.

After eighth grade, (in fact, possibly sometime during eighth grade) Debi vanished from Catskill Junior High School, and I never saw her again until I was watching an episode of LA Law in its eighth season (93-94), and she played Denise Ianello. I recognized her immediately and I shouted excitedly to my husband, "hey, I went to school with her." He was unimpressed, but I waited until the credits rolled and saw that Debi Kojak was now Debi Mazar, and I knew, in spite of the jet black hair, that the cute, lispy friend on my school bus and the cute, lispy, fashionable actress were one and the same.

And while I did not begin this story with any point in mind, other than to illustrate how totally almost famous I am by association, I do have one...

Declare your dreams and intentions, loudly and often -- believe in them as you say them -- like Debi did on the school bus all those years ago. You'll be amazed at how the universe steps up to meet you.


Cindy Dean said...

I love love love this post. Declare my dreams I shall! I hope all is well and you are still loving your braclet!

Marilyn Rock said...

Terrific post Kerri! I really enjoyed reading this. :)

Kate said...

I loved this post, especially the end quote. Is that quote from you or another source?


DEW said...

I love your quote too. But this woman just looks a bit creepy to me. Shows you can famous, but still creepy. But my hat's off to her for making her dream happen.

Anonymous said...

Hi Kerri, yes Debi went to school with us. I was best friends with her from second grade through Junior high. I believe she left Catskill in ninth grade some time or just before ninth grade. I think it was the beginning of ninth. I have been looking for her for years. One night my mom and I were watching tv and we both said oh my god, that's Debi Kojac on tv. Debi was a great friend and a good person. She was not creepy, you had to know her I guess to love her. We were young but had good times.
I miss the good old days with her and hope to someday see her again as just my friend.
Lisa Shanks