Me and Mary Tyler Moore

Riva and MTM

A few days ago I was among about 400 people seated at Barnes & Noble for Mary Tyler Moore’s book signing. Her new book, Growing Up Again: Life, Loves, and Oh Yeah, Diabeteshas put her on the promotion circuit: Good Morning America, Rachel Ray, Barnes & Noble. I read the book and it’s a sort of stream of consciousness: a little bit Hollywood, a lot about being a recovering “bad” diabetic who’s learned some lessons and is still confronting others. I found it surprising how hard she is on herself, but from what she discloses about her upbringing, and she is very open, she had two parents who never gave her much attention or approval. 


Ms. Moore is donating all of her proceeds from the book to the charity she champions, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). Reason enough in my book for her to write her book. What I particularly like about her book, is it gives us adults with type 1 a face, and a place, in the diabetes community, making us a little more visible. 


After Mary stepped out in front of the group awaiting her, and spent a few minutes graciously answering people’s questions, which ran the gamut from, “What was it like working with Elvis Presley?” (if you know she was the last of Presley’s leading ladies then you’re a fan!) to, “What’s happening with the artificial pancreas?”, she sat behind a big desk with about four protective handlers and we were invited up to the stage row by row to have our book signed.  


I stood in line carrying her book, and my own book, The ABCs Of Loving Yourself With Diabeteswhich I intended to give her as a gift–if I could get it past the handlers. It would take some quick strategizing to not have the four strongarm men and women standing around her grab it out of my hands and hurl it out the window behind her. Then, just when my moment arrived: I’m in front of her, she begins to sign my book, I lift my own book up to table height to hand it to her, pow–the man to my right (meaning he was BEHIND me in line!!!) asks her a question. Her attention now diverted, I wanted to clobber him. You’ll be glad to know I didn’t. No, I just waited. 


She finished signing my book and picked it up to hand to me, and that’s when I extended my book out to her and said, “I hope you’ll accept this as a gift from me to you, my book.” She looked at it, and since I know she has a vision problem, I said the title aloud, whereupon she said, “Thank you, Riva.” I quickly calculated she must have read my name on the cover. Three sweet little words, “Thank you, Riva.” Well, c’mon, I did watch her every Saturday night laughing it up with Rhoda. Then, as if on cue, the strongarm woman to her right, whisked my book from her reaching hands and put it in a bag behind her. 


So, will my book really ever be read by Mary Tyler Moore? Who knows…but when my husband and I got home there were two voicemail messages on our machine. Before we played them I said to him, “I’m sure they’re from Mary calling from her limo to thank me for the book!” They weren’t, but you never know, tomorrow is another day. 

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