The limousine pulled up in front of the White House and the Secret Service greeted me as they opened the doors for me and the other two invited guests. We held the honor and distinction of being the first press personnel to be invited to the Oval Office Ball without being on a news assignment. This was a first for me. Can you feel my excitement as I try not to perspire on that beautiful dancing gown that I bought just for this occasion?
Photo Credit: Patterson -Gimlin Film taken on October 21, 1967
My gown is gorgeous, chic, and shiny jet black. The front and back are cut in a V with lace inserts for a little added elegance and to preserve the mystery. The shoes I’m wearing really complement the gown but they are soft like slippers and low to the floor, so I won’t be. I’m not the most graceful person in heels and forget about dancing in them!
The press associates who accompanied me to the ball wish to remain anonymous. It was an embarrassing moment for all of us, as you will soon understand.
The folks at the Oval Office Ball were White House staffers, the President’s cabinet and the President’s family and closest friends. It was a very elite crowd and I was speechless. Introductions were made all around the room and just before the music started playing for the President and the First Lady’s dance, there it was! A huge, hairy creature came waltzing toward me and my press companions. This is one time we did not have our cameras poised. How I regret not having press privileges for this special occasion. Especially now!
My luxurious satin ball gown is not salvageable. In fact, it is completely ruined. I was so startled at the sight of this grizzly looking creature that by now was bounding right toward me. Fear began to set in. I thought to myself, “Why isn’t anyone else in the room concerned about this Big Foot leaping across the President’s ballroom?” My mind raced as I wondered if the secret service would step in to save me before this giant King Kong like creature scooped me up and carried me off to some dark unknown forest!
Something like rancid perfume filled my nostrils. I’m not sure exactly at what moment I fainted. It was either just before the hairy ape embraced me or when he began to swing me in a waltzing step. No matter. I opened my eyes to see the President of the United States leaning over me with an apologetic and puzzled look in his eyes. He offered to help me up extending his hand.
I was still groggy from the rancid perfume and the rushed anxiety that swept over me. At that moment I didn’t notice my soiled ball gown or my two associates standing off in the distance exchanging muffled half giggles while trying to avert their eyes from mine. I had the distinct feeling in that moment that my friends were privy to some private joke, and that joke was on me.
With a little help, I managed to regain my composure and balance myself on my feet. The President of the United States mustered as much elegance and composure as possible. He then made a proper introduction to the big hairy beast who was standing right next to him, smiling at me. Just then, he removed the mask and I stood face to face with the star of “Harry and the Hendersons”. The President finished the introductions as “Sasquatch” almost whispered to me, “A pleasure to make your acquaintance”.
Who would have imagined that my first close encounter with Sasquatch would end up as a star who forgot that it was not a masquerade ball?
I rolled over in bed when I felt someone tapping my shoulder. Still groggy with sleep, I looked up to see my friend Tina standing over me. She looked anxious. I sat up in bed and said “What time is it?”
Tina exclaimed, “You better hurry up or we’ll be late for the Oval Office Ball!”
Have you ever dreamed about a Sasquatch?