I have been carrying this note written from John Schneider, dated June 10, 1997. It has been in my purse since the day I recieved it.
It was sent to me by a ex who is also an actor in Hollywood and worked with John on the set of \"Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman\".
I met John in 1979 when I was a runaway teen trespassing on the Burbank Studio lot.
I mistakenly walked on the Hazzard County set during filming. By the time I got to the (courthouse\", John was taking a break, sipping on a cup of coffee and walking in my direction. Behind me was a motorcycle security guard fast approaching me. My stomache was in knots as I knew trouble was following me.
John and I crossed paths just as the guard pulled up to me. I was so scared, I couldn\'t look in the direction of the motorcycle when he yelled for to me to stop.
I\'d guess the look of desperation on my face gave John the quick thinking idea to save me. John spoke fast and yelled to the guard , She\'s with me.\"
Those were the nicest three words I\'d heard in a very long time.
I\'d been in Hollywood for only two weeks. Left my home and family in New Orleans. Caught the Grayhound bus with a one way ticket and seven dollars in my pocket. I was in search of Shaun Cassidy and the American dream.
After the guard left, John and I shook hands in an official introduction. He invited me to watch the Dukes of Hazzard being filmed. He introduced me to the cast then offered me his directors chair.
I remember sitting in it proudly, like I was suddenly crowned Queen of Hazzard County. The chair had John Schneider monogramed on the back and pockets on each side that hung halfway to the ground which housed his script.
I don\'t think I laughed as much in my life as I did watching Bo and Luke being chased by Roscoe in the General Lee.
When they broke for lunch I decided to say goodbye to John and thank him for his kindness.
John invited me back and said if I had any trouble at the gate just call for him on the set and I\'d get in, no problem.
John, really had no clue what he had done for me. I was a lost soul when I walked on that studio lot.
I had no friends, I was home sick and lonely. Depressed from an interview I had with Actor Cornel Wilde when I went on my first casting call the day before. And to top it off, I had a big fight with a live in relative of my new boss just that morning.
While waiting for the bus to Hollywoodland where I lived as a housekeeper and nanny for the family of Director Robert Lieberman I met a runaway. His bed just happened to be the bench I was occupying. He was a teen about the same age as I. 19. He told me how to sneak on the studio lots without getting caught. That was how my mission started at Burbank Studios.
John showed me compassion that I had not had in years. I was a stranger in trouble and he came to my rescue.
The next time I went back to the studio I went straight to the guard shack and had them call John to ok my visit.
This time they were in a big wharehouse like studio. Not outside as they were the first time.
When John and mine eyes met he was way across on the other side of the room finishing a taping. He looked at me and smiled. Then he raised up his arms and held them high across the room til we were face to face. John leaned over and gave me a hug. The tightest bear hug I had ever experienced. He literally lifted me off the floor and he said hello to me and how nice it was to see me.
The feeling I got from that hug was powerful to say the least. I had awakened on the wrong side of the bed that day but after that hug I was dancing on air.
When they started filming again, I watched them til the next cut and had to leave to find the bathroom.
Walking in the bathroom I recognized actress Jane Wyman at the sink washing her hands. I recognized her from the television show \"Falcon Crest\" and followed her to the set in hopes to get a glimpse of Lorenzo Lamas.
He was more handsome then I ever imagined him to be. I was too scared to talk to him but I\'ll never forget the chill I felt when he smiled at me.
I didn\'t feel comfortable inside that set so I quickly left.
Mr. Cornel Wilde wasn\'t impressed with me during our interview that day and told me to go back to New Orleans.
He told me, I\'d never become an actress.
He pushed me down one day and the next John picked me up.
I decided to join an acting school. The Theatre of Performing and Related Arts on Wilshire in Los Angeles.
Within a month I was cast to work in a Coca Cola commercial with Ray Parker. Soon after I was cast to be a roller skater in the movie \"Roller Boogie\" with Linda Blair and within a few months I had a character role in the movie \"Fullmoon High\" with Adam Arkin and worked several episodes of the television show \"Making a Living \" with Actress Ann Jillian.
After my last day of filming \"Making a Living\". I wrote a note to Mr. Cornel Wilde telling him how I had become an actress and told him of all my accomplishments since our interview.
During the time I was cast to work in the movie \"Beastmaster\" I recieved a letter personally from Mr. Wilde. It was a letter of apology. He also congratuated me for jobs well done.
I turned down the work in \"Beastmaster\" because I was really acting to prove a point. After Mr. Wildes letter, I did not continue my studying at Theatre of Arts nor did go on anymore casting calls.
In the beginning I would go to the studio to see John and the Dukes film two or three times a week. Whenever I was feeling down and I had a bad day. I\'d go the see John.
No matter where he was when he first saw me he\'d hold up his arms and keep them raised til we were face to face and he\'d again give me a big teddy bear hug lifting me off the ground.
The more I started liking myself, the less I was going to the studio. The more love I felt, the less I needed that hug.
At one point, it had been months since I\'d seen John. When I went to the set, he smiled at me as if I was a long time school friend coming to see him. He lifted me up high, hugged me as and said, \"Were ya been? and How are you?\"
I hadn\'t been going to the set because I started working as a volunteer at a hospital in Hollywood as a Candy Striper and also volunteering at Hollywood Community Services helping them deliver meals to the homes of the poor and shut ins.
When Hollywood Community Services got the call to turn a home donated to them on Beachwood Drive into a Runaway Shelter. I was there to help them clear the house and transform it to OPTIONS HOUSE.
The same runaway teen I had met on that bus bench turned out to be one of OPTIONS HOUSE first teens to reside in that house.
I remember the last time I went to see John and the Dukes being filmed Enos was getting ready to film his own show. He invited me to watch his show being filmed as well.
An entire year had past almost and what a diffence a year made for me.
The first time I walked on that lot I was lonely, alone, depressed and homesick.
The last time I saw John and the Dukes film I was happy, still working for the Liebermans, seperately this time. I was still living in Hollywoodland with Mrs. Lieberman and her two kids and working as a housekeeper for Robert and his partner Ed Shapiro.
I was also working for Director John McTiernan at the time as a housekeeper for he and his wife and volunteering at three different places helping the poor, sick, elderly and runaways.
On my last day at the studio as I was about to enter the exit gates I recongized actor Sidney poitier walking across my path.
When I stopped to say hello he invited me to watch him direct the movie \"Stir Crazy\" with Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder.
What an adventure I had that year. I also met Greg Evigan and Jack Klugman at the Universal Studios and watched B.J and the Bear and \"Quincy\" bing filmed. I met the cast of \"Love Boat\" and met many, many actors.
Nomatter what show I watched or what actor I met. Nothing or no one compared to watching Boss Hogg, Crazy Cooter, Uncle Jessy, Enos, Daisy, and the Duke boys and getting bear hugs from John Schneider.
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