Stay Out of Highwood

Shortly after the movie Ghostbusters was released (1984), Donna, Lauren (age 8) and I were on a flight from LaGuardia to Chicago. We were sitting in my least favorite spot — the bulkhead (no leg room).  So we take off and we’re flying along when Donna announced that she was going to the bathroom.  Since we were sitting at the opposite end of the coach section bathrooms, the flight attendant said Donna could go up to first class.  

When she returned, she sat down and said “You will not believe who is sitting right in front of us!”  “Bill Murray!”   Now Lauren was keenly aware of Ghostbusters and she immediately had to go to the bathroom.  And she whisked through the curtains.  I could see her standing in the aisle – staring at the person directly in front of us (presumably Mr. Murray).  She giggled – went to the bathroom – and returned.  “He made a funny face at me!” she exclaimed.  Soon thereafter, she had to go to the bathroom again.  And again.  And again. . . . . 

After we landed and pulled into the gate, I asked if Lauren wanted his autograph.  Embarrassed, she said “no.”  We walked through the terminal toward baggage claim – with Bill Murray (now wearing a large floppy hat) a few feet ahead.  As we got to baggage claim, I told Lauren this was the last chance.  “Do you want his autograph?”  And she said “Yes.  But you go first.”  So I approached Mr. Murray – Lauren behind me – peeking out.  “Hello, Mr. Murray.  We are from Wilmette [where he grew up] and we are fans of your new movie.  May we bother you for an autograph?”  Bill Murray looked at Lauren behind me – grabbed her and picked her up and gave her a gentle shake “whatsa matter?  Can’t you talk?”   And Lauren melted.  

He signed a large card “To Lauren – Stay out of Highwood” [the place in our area known for taverns].  So far, she has.  I think. . . . .    

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