fundraising…with the rich and famous

Hubby called mid-day yesterday asking if I’d like to accompany him to a fundraiser. His company was one of the corporate donors, and he was asked to attend on the company’s behalf. Normally I prefer to settle in for the evening, especially when I’ve had a busy week running around doing whatever it is I do as a housewife. But since we’d not had a date night within the last month or so, I thought…”What the heck! Just go for it.” And so I did.

Of course it took some primping…and wriggling in and out of outfits…before I passed the visual test. I looked in the mirror…gave myself the once over…and decided that was as good as I was going to get. Hubby, on the other hand, always tells me I look…”beautiful!” I don’t always agree…but hey!…I’ll take it.

I had a chance to visit the Museum of Flight a...

Funny thing is my husband referred to the fundraiser as an “event.” After I hung up the phone, I said to myself “Event? What kind of event?” The only clue I had was that it was being held at the Museum of Flight. I’d been there on a couple of other occasions for cancer fundraisers. So I imagined we’d be attending something similar. Although my husband did say this wasn’t the same “event.”

Initially I thought I’d just dress up a pair of nice jeans with a tank and a knee-length jacket made of glittery threads. I imagined the crowd would be young and hip. After all, it was the Museum of Flight…not Benaroya Hall where the Seattle Symphony plays…or McCaw Hall where the Pacific Northwest Ballet and the opera perform.

As it turned out it’s a good thing I decided on a safer, more traditional floor length, brown, sleeveless jersey dress with matching lace jacket.

When we pulled up in front of the museum, we were greeted by young men hired to park cars. Waiting to greet us were young women in gowns with fur capes. A tent set up over the entrance was lit with chandeliers. The cement floor was covered in a red, outdoor carpet. And before ascending the stairs to the tent where we had to register our credit cards and pick up our bidding packets, we were greeted by a ritzy, black, L-107 2013 Lincoln MKZ Luxury Sedan…one of the items up for bid.

English: 737 body in the Museum of Flight, Sea...

I couldn’t help thinking…”This is going to be a mighty interesting evening.”

As it turned out the event was to raise funds for the museum and the educational opportunities it affords younger generations of pilots, aeronautical engineers, scientists, astronauts and the like. We were treated to a video of just such a young hopeful who today, at 24, is involved in retrieving photographs from outer space and deciphering what exactly it is they are viewing. She was on hand, as were several young pupils who hoped to follow in the doctor’s footsteps. Yes, Laura is now addressed as “Doctor.” 

It was evident from the high bidding that took place as the evening unfolded, that Mr. and Mrs. William Boeing of the Boeing Company, had brought along their monied friends.

Cropped screenshot of Marilyn Monroe from the ...

One of them was wearing a dress once belonging to Marilyn Monroe. Try as I might to get a glimpse of the woman who’d obviously succeeded in bidding for the famed celebrity’s clothing, I left without knowing for certain. If it had been the white one Monroe wore in The Seven Year Itch, it would have been easy. My guess is it was the satin, white dress with large, black flowers that the star wore in her last film. The one in which she would’ve starred opposite Dean Martin. And the one Monroe more famously left in the middle of filming to fly to New York City’s Madison Square Garden to sing “Happy birthday…dear Mr. President. Happy birthday to you.” That was none other than…President Kennedy. Due to Monroe’s erratic behavior, the movie was finally completed with Doris Day and James Garner in the starring roles.

Last night’s “star,” the Lincoln sedan, donated by Ford’s CEO, Alan Mulally, as a personal favor to Mr. Boeing, ultimately sold for $45,000. It was valued at $49,500. Other big ticket items up for auction were…dinner for 8 hosted by Boeing Commercial Airlines President and CEO Ray Conner, and Alaska Airline‘s Chairman Bill Ayer…first class airfare on Alaska Airlines with hotel and reserved tickets to the 2014 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in NYC…lunch with the Boeings at their home followed by a “once-in-a-lifetime ride” on Miss Wahoo, their hydroplane…first-class air for 4 on Alaska Airlines to and from the Four Seasons Hotel on the Big Island of Hawaii…Delta business class tickets and 3-night vacation at a Tuscan villa for two couples…and “Kentucky Derby experience for four with private jet air travel to Louisville” as guests of Bernt Bodal, Museum trustee and President and CEO of American Seafoods.

English: The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) begi...

One of the more interesting items which sold in excess of its $13,000 value was “to take the reins of the Hubble telescope and explore the universe…As Space Ambassador, you will receive the following:

  • An invitation for two to the exclusive finished spacecraft unveiling event, where YOU will be a guest of honor.
  • Your name etched into the actual historic spacecraft before it blasts into orbit!
  • At the event, you will mingle with the rockstar team at Planetary Resources that previously landed NASA’s Spirit, Opportunity, and Curiosity on Mars.

Finally, once the spacecraft is in orbit, you will:

  • Receive a special pass to use the ARKYD’s Space Photobooth for THREE special personal occasions on demand. (get your selfie in space!)
  • Have the opportunity to propose a name for an asteroid discovered by the ARKYD.
  • Help educate the community by donating a school and classroom of your choice the chance to be among the first to control this starship through their very own educational program customized just for them. You will be their Space Ambassador as you help them encounter their INNER ASTRONAUT and explore the wonders of the universe with the ARKYD starship.

Launch estimated for 2015. Donated by Planetary Resources, Inc.

The evening’s piece de resistance, however, was funding the Museum of Flight’s educational programs. The goal was $300,000. Two couples donated $100,000 each, one of them included…the woman walking around in Marilyn Monroe’s dress. Others raised their paddles at $75,000…$50,000…on down to $500. Obviously there were more raised paddles at the bottom rung.

That’s where we normally jump in…at the $500 level. However early on in the bidding, hubby and I decided this fundraiser was not something we were moved to join. While we agreed with its mission, we’re more inclined to donate towards cancer research or some other social issue. It was obvious that The Museum of Flight had a plethora of wealthy donors who could probably give to various charities. We, on the other hand, are middle-class donors who must be selective since we’re not able to…burn through money like the big rollers.

These patrons of flight gave a whopping $450,000 toward the museum’s educational mission alone, surpassing their goal by $150,000. I would imagine the evening’s grand total probably approached $1,000,000. Not bad for one night’s work.

As I anticipated, the evening was fascinating for so many reasons…the money donated, the people, the food, our dinner companions and, of course, the flight memorabilia that surrounded us on all sides…some even floating overhead.

I heartily suggest that when you visit Seattle…you can skip the fundraiser, but…

…the museum of flight…is a must-see!!!…

………hugmamma. 

Seattle Museum Flight Mar05 48

 

daily post challenge: my preferred mode of getting around…cars, trains, or planes?

First flight of the Wright Flyer I, December 1...

Image via Wikipedia

In recent years I’ve traveled to visit my daughter pretty regularly…by plane. Hence I’m eternally grateful to Leonardo da Vinci for thinking man could mimic the bird, and fly. And I appreciate that the Wright brothers advanced the cause by crafting the first flying machine that actually flew. But apart from allowing me to be here in the morning, and with my daughter that same evening, spending 5 hours or more compressed into an uncomfortable seat pains me no end, especially where my sacrum and ilium meet.

 

Southwest Airlines

Image by kevindooley via Flickr

While I could walk the length of the plane to stretch my legs, it’s not without its minuses. Squeezing past another passenger walking in the opposite direction is doable, but awkward. Getting past the flight attendant while she’s offering snacks out of a box is a game of “wait-and-see.” Waiting to see who moves first, her or me. And then there’s the inevitable warning from the pilot to sit down and fasten my seat belt. That means “Hie me back to my seat pronto; strap myself in toot suit; and stay put until I’m told otherwise…or else.”

I can deal pretty well with a 2 or 3 hour flight. Four hours makes me antsy; at 5, I’m maxed out. An 8 hour trip to Europe has me looking at the nearest exit, wondering “Excuse me. Can I possibly get off and walk the rest of the way? I’ve changed my mind.”

As I’ve gotten older, adhering to the same ritual, more or less, has helped pass the time on a plane. After settling into my seat, I glance through the shopping guide provided all passengers. There’s always some gadget that compels me to think it’s something I might need. So I squirrel away the magazine in my carry-on. Then I might read a few pages from a book I brought, while munching on a snack purchased before leaving. All told, I probably used up 30 minutes of the several hours I must stay put. So I sleep, or try to sleep. When all else fails, I will myself to sleep.

I never, well almost never, look at my watch. Doing so, I feel, will only make the time pass ever more slowly. I prefer to be surprised when the pilot finally announces that our destination is a mere 30 minutes away. Yippee!!! Let me out of here! I’ve got to go to the bathroom…now!

Southwest Airline Boeing 737 N926WN

Image by tomfs via Flickr

That’s the final downer about traveling on a plane. Trying to get to the bathroom. The anxiety begins with trying to get the aisle seat, not the middle seat, not the window seat. If my husband is with me, I let him have the aisle seat, and I occupy the middle seat. He’s more comfortable, and I can inconvenience him when I get the urge. No longer wanting to bother a stranger to make a trip to the restroom, our family opts to fly Southwest Airlines whenever possible. I always get to choose an aisle seat, or a middle seat with my husband sitting on the aisle.

When we were younger, and more inclined to do long road trips, my husband would determine “pit stops” according to how many miles we’d driven, and how much longer it was to our destination. In older age, he’s been more conciliatory, taking the cue from me…“I gotta go…now!”

As far as trains go, I spent enough years traveling on the Long Island Railroad, to and from Penn Station on NYC’s west side, and then on the New Haven Line from Connecticut to Grand Central Station on NYC’s east side, to know that unless it’s the Orient Express, train travel is…okay. Of course I’ve not been on many scenic, cross-country carriers to decide if I’d make it a habit. Maybe when hubby retires, we can do a leisurely trip.

…only trouble is…the toilet “shakes, rattles and rolls”…on a train…hugmamma.