Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Arrivederci, Bologna

At this time, one month after my previous post, I had planned to give you an exhilerating report on my trip to Bologna for the big Chaplin celebration there. In fact I had all kinds of plans to upload photos of me with David Robinson, Kevin Brownlow, Lisa Stein Haven, Claire Bloom, Michael and Victoria Chaplin... the list is long and impressive. 

Unfortunately, the day before I was to leave, I decided to take my two Golden Retrievers for a hike in a nearby park. Not a big deal really. My wife, as I was about to leave, said "Better stay off the trails. We've had a lot of rain and they'll be muddy." 
"Sure," I said. "Good idea."
I got to the park, saw that the meadow was soaked, not a good place to let them run, so I decided to take them for a short hike on the trail. The rest is too painful to spell out, so I'll cut to the chase. I slipped going down the trail, bent my left leg at an impossible angle behind me, kind of like one of those NFL slo-mo injuries in process, and ruptured my quad tendon. Quick cut to the emergency room (this was on a Sunday), sent home for the night, back on Monday morning for surgery.

In fact, about the time I was being wheeled into the OR, my Delta flight was taking off from St. Louis, headed for NY, then onto London and Bologna via British Airways. For the rest of the week I spent a lot of time in bed, leg in an unbendable splint, trying to follow what was happening in Bologna through email and Facebook. 

Thanks to my good friend Mike Vogelle, I got some idea of just how special this gathering was. These photos are by, and of, Mike. He has many more on his Facebook page.

Mike with the beautiful Claire Bloom.

Mike between Michael Chaplin and Victoria Chaplin.

Thanks, Mike. And thanks to Lisa Stein Haven for additional updates, inputs and invaluable insights. 

Class, what lesson did we learn today?
First, life is what happens while you're making other plans.
Second, I'm not invincible. 
Third, I must listen to my wife more attentively.
And finally, when life hands you lemons, write a blog, a short story, a novel, a play.
So I've got this idea for a novel. About a guy, a devoted Chaplin fan, who has an accident and can't get to Europe for a big celebration for the Little Tramp. So Charlie visits the guy at his home in St. Louis and they spend some time together, here and in London and in Hollywood, present and past.

Wait a minute. That sounds familiar. Back to the keyboard.

Congratulations to all those who helped make The Little Tramp at 100 such a big success. Hopefully I'll make it to Vevey whenever the museum opens. No hiking with dogs to be scheduled then.


  1. I felt so bad for you Gerry when you called me from the ambulance that awful day. Many people expressed good wishes for you from the conference, Kevin Brownlow, Lisa, Frank Scheide, Hooman and others. I hope the photos and the David Robinson signed book gave you some solace. Let's go to Vevey in 2016 for the Chaplin Museum opening!

    Your friend,

    1. I'm honored by their comments and your friendship, Mike. David's book is a work of art. You'll be happy to know that my call to you was my first ever from an ambulance. Once was enough.

  2. I am so sorry about your accident! I hope you heal quickly!
    Thanks for sharing the photos...awesome.
    Lisa N

    1. Thanks, Lisa. Glad you enjoyed the photos. They're quite special.

  3. Oh Gerry..... I have already told you how so incredibly sorry I was for your accident AND the timing of it. These photos though, from your friend are great and a thanks to him and to you for sharing them. Only healing thoughts to you!