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My Holiday Story: Bobs Watson, Child Actor Remembered

BobsAs a writer, my job is to tell stories and I’ve told thousands of them over my 30+ year career. But one of the most memorable ones was that of Bobs Watson, a former Hollywood child actor -turned – minister, who I got to interview in 1997 for a feature piece in the Los Angeles Times.

Bobs was an endearing character and had led a very interesting life, having appeared in over 125 films before the age of 10. His most memorable role was in the 1938 MGM classic, “Boys Town,” playing “Pee Wee” opposite Spencer Tracy and Mickey Rooney. That role led to an ongoing friendship with the Academy Award – winning Tracy and a later career choice to enter the ministry where he served for 30 years.

When I met him, he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer and was reflective about his life’s choices. From that interview, a friendship ensued between us until his death two years later. I have two outstanding memories of Bobs during that time.

The first was when I invited him to a Holiday party that my boyfriend and I were giving at the Pasadena Doubletree Hotel the week of Christmas. The hotel was all decked out with holiday lights and a beautiful lighted tree with ornaments emblazoned the lobby. Bobs arrived late wearing a long Santa Claus beard from a role he was playing in a local play. Our guests all surrounded him for the rest of the evening to listen to him tell story after story about what it was like to be part of the Golden Age of Hollywood during his celebrated movie career. Bobs entertained our guests, as only an actor can, and I could tell he reveled in the attention he received as the most celebrated person at our party!

About six months later, when the cancer began affecting his state of mind, I convinced Bobs to come over to my house for a paper-making session. I had started making my own handmade paper with dried flowers, pine needles, and small shells embedded in the fabric of the paper. Bobs was fascinated with this process and we worked together for hours making new sheets.

About two weeks later, he returned to my home bearing a beautiful personal gift. In an ornate, wooden – framed picture holder, he had enclosed a sheet of the paper he had made with the following inscription:

“From nothingness I came — yet my spirit blossomed into an intangible bouquet because of you!!” That gift meant more to me than anything I could ever express. Bobs struggled the last year of his life, choosing not to get medical treatment to extend his life, but rather, to go the natural route with hospice. It was hard to watch that process take place. I wanted him to fight for his life but I had to respect my friend’s wishes. On June 27, 1999 at the age of 68, Bobs met his Maker.

For the past 16 years, I have kept that framed gift on my desk where I can look at it each day and remember the kind soul that Bobs Watson was and the value of the friendships we make. Despite any age, cultural, or other disparate barriers we perceive, connecting with others and sharing our love and support, whenever possible, is what I believe gives life its meaning.

To read the Los Angeles Times story I wrote about Bobs Watson in 1997, please go to:

http://articles.latimes.com/print/1997-06-01/entertainment/ca-64393_1_boys-town

My Holiday Offer – Helping You While Also Helping Your Charities

DSC_4295As I review my year, I wish I had more time to work with clients and more money to give to the non-profits I support. The Holiday season, for me, is about giving back. If you are interested in participating in my give-back efforts, please read how we can do this together.

I Want to Donate to the Charity of Your Choice!

As the year winds down, it’s a good time to review the way your communications materials are presenting you. Maybe there are changes to your services or to your staff. Perhaps you have a new offering that others don’t know about. At the very least, it’s helpful to create new messaging for the New Year to help brand your business. So during December, for every regularly – priced writing service you order (blogs, web content, ghostwriting, press releases, One Sheets, newsletters, etc.), I will gladly donate $25.00 to the charity of your choice. (If you don’t have a preference, I will likely donate to SPCLA or another animal rescue group that is fighting to survive).

End of the Year Special:

For those who have incomplete LinkedIn profiles or who aren’t sure how to use LinkedIn, I will improve your entire profile and give you a private tutorial to help you optimize how you use LinkedIn. Those who I’ve worked with say they feel more confident about using LinkedIn and as a result, post more, which ultimately results in more business. During December, I will provide this service for only $175.00 (normally $225.00).

New Website:

This year, I built a new website that is easy to read and optimized for mobile devices. I’ve added about 200 new writing samples and other useful tabs to make it more interesting: www.writerpatkramer.com. If you like my website or have used my services, I would greatly appreciate you “liking” my Writer For Hire Facebook page or writing a Yelp review.

For now, I wish you the happiest of holidays ~

Writer For Hire® Pat Kramer

Inspiring the Generation of Tomorrow

Pat teachingOn December 14, 2015, I was invited to speak to a class of high schoolers at the Alliance Susan & Eric Smidt Tech High School in Los Angeles on what it took for me to build my career as a writer. The students numbered about 20 and each had questions about my work, my clients, my pay scale and the different jobs I had to take before I “made it” as a professional business writer and ghostwriter. It was interesting to listen to their questions and to watch their reactions as I talked about “paying my dues” over the course of my 30+ year career.

The presentation I gave was set up by a non profit called the Youth Business Alliance, which organizes guest speakers for high schools in low income areas of Los Angeles. The students are all high achievers who are interested in pursuing careers with or without a college degree. From meeting them, I was able to see that these kids were intelligent and motivated but may be financially challenged.

I shared with them my journey from my first job as a 3rd shift radio news announcer/news writer at a small radio station in Newport, Rhode Island to writing for top business publications like  Variety and the Los Angeles Business Journal, and being hired by a travel company to take an all expense paid trip to Italy for 12 days in 2007.

What I hope I imparted to these students is that hard work really does pay off and to go for their dreams, even if others challenge them or try to talk them out of succeeding.

To volunteer to be a speaker for high school students in L.A., please go to: www.youthbizalliance.com. I think you’ll find it a great way to give back.