Meeting Elizabeth Smart

Yeah, so today I went to the Elizabeth Smart cocktail party and speech in Fort Wayne. I had a blast, frankly. I’m really glad I went.

I had a fashion emergency beforehand, the first one in my entire life. Five minutes before I was supposed to leave to go to the Scottish Rite Auditorium where the event was being held, I found out my shoes (patent-leather sandals) had died. The soles were coming off and flapping. I tried taping them back on but (a) the tape showed and (b) it didn’t work anyway. I’ve always hated those shoes, but they were my only pair of dress shoes and I could hardly show up at a cocktail party in sneakers. I had to frantically run to the store and grab the first pair of dress shoes I saw, and ask a clerk to cut the tags off so I could put them on right then and there. Fortunately I was only a few minutes late for the cocktail party (fashionably late you might say) and plenty of people arrived after me.

Everyone was given a booklet about dealing with abduction, called “You’re Not Alone: The Journey From Abduction to Empowerment.” I was able to speak to Elizabeth for a few minutes and she autographed the booklet. She is even prettier in person than she looks in the pictures. I told her I really admired her for refusing to let her horrific experience ruin her life, and that I had used her as an example for myself in that regard. Her husband Matthew was also there, and I chatted with him a bit. Other people asked him where he’d met Elizabeth and he explained about the mission in France, and I asked him if French people really went on strike as often as it seemed like. “Yes,” he said, “they’re always striking. For the smallest of reasons. They’re never happy.”

After I had my few minutes with Elizabeth, the TV reporter who was covering the event approached me and asked to interview me on camera. I said okay, and she basically asked me what Elizabeth and I had talked about and I told her. Off-camera, I told the reporter about the Charley Project. And I did get a sound bite in the resulting news broadcast, see here.

Elizabeth’s speech was before the cocktail party. She basically told the story of her abduction, including details I hadn’t previously heard about. She’s a very good speaker. I’m not given to getting all emotional about such things but I found myself getting a little choked up when she talked about what she went through.

And on top of it all, three different people complimented me on my dress.

It was quite an evening.

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13 thoughts on “Meeting Elizabeth Smart

  1. Melissa March 9, 2012 / 4:18 am

    Great night all round, by the sounds of it 

  2. Princess Shantae March 9, 2012 / 7:23 am

    Neat.
    Its funny you should mention your shoes falling apart on you like that. Once about ten years ago I was walking down the street on my way to a nice lunch at a restaurant and I tripped on a lump in the sidwalk and the sole of my sandal separated and was flapping open like a mouth. I had to step into a shoe store and buy a new pair, and it was very expensive shoe store too.
    Another time when I was a teenager I was going to a cousin’s wedding, and I had on a skirt that was about knee length. I fell getting out of the car and my pantyhose tore right up one leg. It was awful. Nobody in the wedding party had any spare pantyhose except the complete wrong color and/or the wrong size. So I just took off the ripped pair and felt like a slob, until I saw some guy iat the wedding in a leisure suit. A green one. That made me feel better.

    • Meaghan March 11, 2012 / 7:46 pm

      I’d have gone hoseless (since I didn’t have any on hand and had to buy some along with the shoes) were it not for the fact that I SUCK at shaving my legs. Even if I use a brand new razor and carefully cover every inch of flesh three times over, I wind up with hairy patches. And my body hair is dark, not like my head hair (which is naturally blonde).

      It was Michael that got me to start shaving my legs (I only do it in the warmer months when I break out the shorts, or for some occasion when I have to wear a dress; no point in shaving if they’re covered up in pants imho). It is a prime example of how dating him has civilized me. Though he hasn’t gotten me wearing makeup yet.

  3. Robin Cox March 9, 2012 / 7:55 am

    Congratulations! You looked and sounded great on camera! It’s also so neat you got to talk to her in person like that!

    They missed an opportunity by not mentioning the Charley Project, but luckily someone mentions it in the comments on the article.

    • Meaghan March 11, 2012 / 7:50 pm

      I did talk about it at length to the reporter off-camera. She seemed very interested and I told her a little bit of Charley Ross’s story. I really need to start printing Charley Project business cards so people won’t have to write down the URL on napkins, or just try to commit it to memory.

  4. Humbled_Observer March 9, 2012 / 8:20 am

    Woot!! Way to go Meaghan! Awesome job there kiddo.

  5. amy March 9, 2012 / 9:30 am

    Absolutely stellar, chica! I am, as always, so proud of you! (and it’s the first time I’ve ever actually heard you speak). You looked great and sounded great.

    Even if they didn’t mention the Charley Project, you have helped empower more people just with your sound bite alone.

    • Meaghan March 11, 2012 / 7:56 pm

      I told my mom and dad about the broadcast (before it happened) and they both watched. Right afterwards my dad called me and without even saying hi he said “I am so proud of you.” He said he was more proud of me than he’d ever been in his whole life, both for showing my strength at recovering from the rape and for going on television about it without shame. He actually sounded a little choked up.

      My dad is totally not given to emotional gestures like that (or emotional reactions of any kind); I’d never experienced anything like it from him. Honestly, it meant more to me and made me happier than meeting Elizabeth, or being on TV, did.

      I should add that my parents, whatever their flaws in other areas, have always been really supportive of me about all this. They did what they could to do to help me that summer when I was reeling emotionally, and never blamed me for what happened (unlike a lot of people, both strangers and even some of my friends) or accused me of making up the story (lookin’ at you, Aimee). When I heard later on about other families who were not supportive or even attacked the victims, I felt doubly grateful for Mom and Dad’s presence. In a crisis they always pull through for me — like during the fifteen months of the Headache for example.

  6. meyahna March 9, 2012 / 3:58 pm

    French people aren’t always on strike. Anyway never for small reasons. It’s just that wherever they are in France they go to Paris to strike and foreign people often only stay in Paris. I lived in Paris though while I studied and only saw very few strikes.

  7. yomama March 9, 2012 / 6:17 pm

    Wow! Sounds like you really had a good time. Happy for you.

  8. Leslie in Apex, NC March 9, 2012 / 7:55 pm

    What a great night for you, Meaghan. You look stunning on camera and your hair is gorgeous. No wonder Ann Rule admired it when you met her!

  9. perl March 10, 2012 / 1:01 am

    Sounds amazing! And you did a great job on camera – very poised and eloquent. Yay!

  10. Janessa March 14, 2012 / 12:50 pm

    Go Meaghan!!!!

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