Please let me introduce myself. My name is Libby and I am the mother of three wonderful adults, grandmother of four darling little boys 3 years old and under, and a middle school counselor. While doing a search a couple of days ago I came upon Ginger's site, and have so enjoyed looking at everything, and reading some of your posts. I may be new to this board, but not new to loving Susan Hayward. I shared my SH story with Ginger who thought that y'all would enjoy reading my remembrance of a special night when I actually got to meet Susan Hayward.
Susan Hayward was my idol and my role model from the time I was twelve and NBC first started running Saturday Night at the Movies in 1961. In my eyes she was everything my own mother was not – beautiful, feminine, a lady - and I wanted to emulate her. I am the oldest of three children, so my sister and brother were quickly sucked into the “Susan Hayward triangle” and became big fans as well. We lived in Atlanta and my parents were friends with Marjorie Bowman who, along with Harvey Hester, owned Aunt Fanny’s Cabin. Aunt Fanny’s Cabin was a wonderful restaurant in Smyrna (a suburb of Atlanta) which had been converted from an old slave cabin, and we went there often. From the time he was about seven years old Mrs. Bowman would take my younger brother in the kitchen with her so he could see the goings on, and he remembers the enormous skillets they used to fry up “our famous fried chicken”. On the evening of September 4, 1964 we had friends visiting from Lexington, Kentucky and we took them to eat at Aunt Fanny’s Cabin. From my seat I could not see the room as I was facing the wall, but my mother was sitting so that she could see and as soon as she realized that the lady with the glasses sitting at the table to her center left was none other than my idol, Susan Hayward, she changed seats with me so that I could see her. My father made a comment later because I ate none of my dinner that night. LOL I remember that Susan wore a yellow dress and ate a T-bone steak. When Mrs. Bowman came by our table, my father said something to her in private. I later learned that he asked her to ask Susan if she would autograph something for me. If I had known he was asking that, I would have died. Mrs. Bowman came back and said that she would do better than that – she wanted to meet with us after dinner! At that time I was 15, my sister was 12, my brother was 8 and our guest, Cammie, was 8 as well.
We waited in the small room off the main area until the family finished their dinner. Tim and Greg and Mr. Chalkley were all there that night. I recall that the room had a small podium area where guests could sign a guestbook. Susan came into the room looking every bit the movie star. She had taken off her glasses and along with the yellow dress she wore spiked heels, which made her appear taller. When I was introduced to her, she grasped my hand in both of hers in greeting as she did with my sister. My brother hugged her and she kissed him. She was gracious and wonderful and everything I knew she would be. She introduced us to Tim and Greg, and she took some Aunt Fanny’s postcards and wrote one to each of us with each person’s name on his/hers, said either “Good Wishes!” or “Best Wishes!”, and then signed “Susan Hayward”. I remember her bending over the podium to sign the cards and seem to recall that she was left-handed, but I could be wrong as it has been almost 46 years since that evening. What I do remember is that her perfume was wonderful, and that the scent was on my little brother’s shirt so much so that he wouldn’t let my mother wash it for a very long time. I was a shy teenager and a bit overwhelmed with the series of events that night, so I don’t think I spoke except when spoken to, but when the shock wore off, I cried all the way home in disbelief and sheer joy.
I never in my wildest dreams could have scripted that evening. Along with the births of my children and grandsons, that night was one of the most memorable times of my life, and I am so grateful to Susan for the impression she left on all of us. With the way she treated us, we all would have singularly and collectively gone to battle for her. What a most extraordinary lady she was, and although she was not on this earth as long as we all would have liked, she is still well loved and remembered. What more could anyone ask than that?
Libby, thank you again so very much for sharing your wonderful letter. As I had mentioned to you, it is so descriptive that I felt like I was sharing the moments with you.
Welcome to the Susan Hayward message board. Here you will find people who care about Susan's legacy and appreciate and love her as a person and actress.
Jul 20, 2010 - 8:26AM
Re: Meeting Susan Hayward
Libby...thank you so much for sharing that wonderful story which moved me to tears...
Like Ginger ,I felt "i was there"
Jul 20, 2010 - 12:59PM
Re: Meeting Susan Hayward
What a wonderful memory you have of Susan. Thank you so much for telling us all about meeting her. I know we are all very envious of you for having been in the right place at the right time and your letter brought tears to my eyes too. I would have been lost for words at 15 years old also.
As you will have realised, we all absolutely adore "our special lady" and want to keep her memory alive as long as we are able.
Many thanks for such a warm, descriptive letter and hope you will often visit Ginger's site now you have found us.
Like you, I became acquainted with -- or should I say enchanted by -- Susan Hayward when I was age 12. That's when I first saw "With a Song in My Heart" at the theater. (I saw it twice, till my mother sent my father to drag me home!)
It's amazing to me still, these many years later, that the enchantment never left me.
I am so envious of you and Errol, for you both had met her personally. The closest I ever got was when I stayed at the same hotel in Rome that she'd stayed in while filming "The Honey Pot." Unfortunately, we were not there at the same time.
Thanks to her films, which her fans play over and over, we get to see her whenever we want. And thanks to Ginger's wonderful web site, we can talk to each other about her.
I hope you'll come back often, Libby. It's so nice to have yet another fan of Susan Hayward on board!
Jul 22, 2010 - 3:50PM
Re: Meeting Susan Hayward
Yup...the perfume she was wearing was "JOY", the only one she ever used...Aunt Fanny's Cabin...I remember that place well!!!
Libby, What a joy it must have been to actually meet Susan. Thank you so much for this trip down memory lane. Susan was very much the movie star.
Jan 24, 2011 - 3:27AM
Re: Meeting Susan Hayward
Hello Libby...Like Kerry said..I do visit the site whenever I can, but have been busy with shows lately.
I know...'the feeling'...of meeting our dear Lady. I only wish mine had been a better meeting, like yours was
and I still amaze myself..on what I said to her that night at the Joey Bishop tv show. It is here on Ginger's site, if you haven't already read it. I even wake up in the middle of the night, sometimes, and that moment in my life comes back to me. I relive it all..and
shudder..at the final outcome.
Thank you so very much for sharing a wonderful experience...one that we can all dream of happening.
It was nice reading your comments about Susan. My mother Margaret Irwin was Eaton Chalkley brother.
I grew up with Eaton and Susan while I lived in Carrollton Ga.
They were both wonderful people. My father is buried in the family grave site near my uncle Eaton and aunt Susan