Meeting Lee Tergesen: SIXTEEN

By Anne (amytych@yahoo.com)

October 15, 2017

The 16th time I met Lee Tergesen was for the Oz reunion at the Paley Center for Media in New York City. The event was hosted by David Simon and the panelists, in addition to Lee, were Eamonn Walker, Tom Fontana, Dean Winters, Craig muMs Grant, Terry Kinney and Edie Falco.

The weeks leading up to this event were some of the most stressful of my life. I knew I was going to be laid off in a couple months and that weighed on me. My boss, who is the brother I never had, had recently lost his mother-in-law and his wife was a mess. They were having a celebration of his mother-in-law's life on THE VERY SAME DAY I WAS PLANNING TO GO SEE LEE. Yes, let's add one more straw of stress to the pile. Why not?

I tore myself apart over this. Should I go to the service or should I skip it? My boss had done so many wonderful things for me over the years, including negotiating an AMAZING separation package, so I really couldn't miss it. I would have felt way too guilty. (I even pondered skipping the Paley event for about 2 seconds and then realized I couldn't miss Lee.) However, getting to the Paley event on time was going to be tricky. I didn't want to drive while I was stressed out over traffic issues, but the service didn't start until 1pm and it was in VIRGINIA, the opposite of the direction I wanted to head. I decided to take the train and the only one that would get me there remotely on time was the 2:47 pm out of BWI Amtrak station. (I also went back and forth on leaving from DC or BWI about 300 times.)

So I stayed for about 45 minutes of the service, long enough to give condolences to my boss and his wife (who has also been extremely good to me). Then I got in the car and I drove as fast as I could to BWI, which was supposed to take 52 minutes. However, there was an accident on the BW Parkway and I got there with literally 3 minutes to spare! Talk about stress.

Finally got on the train and relaxed a little. The train arrived at 5:46pm and the event started at 6:30pm. So I had 44 minutes to run to the hotel (about 4 blocks), drop my luggage, grab a cab and get up to the Paley Center. No problem, right? Well, traffic in Manhattan decided otherwise. I got a cab close to the hotel but it took literally 15 minutes to go the first block. I was screaming inside. I got to the Paley Center at 6:26pm, got my ticket and ran downstairs, only to have them stop us from going in. I ended up waiting for 10 minutes after rushing like a madman.

Finally got into the theatre and said hello to the peeps briefly before they started introducing David Simon, who then introduced the Oz cast. I'm writing this account almost a year after the event, so please try to be understanding

The Oz reunion panel. Click image for bigger version.

Actually, I remember very little of the event itself. I do remember laughing and feeling very happy to see all the Oz folks together again. I also remember vividly that Lee made eye contact with me and smiled and I think I floated for the rest of the event.

Afterward, the peeps gathered outside to wait for Lee. (He had previously told me where he was meeting up with the Oz folks.) When he didn't show up after awhile, we thought maybe he already went to the restaurant, which was just down the street. So, we headed down there and checked with the hostess, but no one from Oz had shown up yet. So, we just waited. The Oz guys trickled in and we said hello to everyone, but I felt weirdly stalkerish waiting there. However, I did take the opportunity to tell Terry that he is AMAZING in HBOís "Billions" because, damn, he truly is.

Lee finally showed up and greeted us all warmly and we went inside. He camped us out near the front bar, while he went back and forth between us and the Oz guys in the back. I do recall he made sure that we got the same appetizers that the Oz guys got, which I thought was extremely thoughtful. This man is a MASTER of making everyone feel like they are the most important person in the room. (Am I right, ladies?)

I remember feeling happy for Wendy, especially after the disappointing cancellation the previous August at Williamstown. She was radiating joy that night and I was happy to witness it. When she gave him the Lee calendar she made, he went through the pictures from each month and made entertaining comments about each one. I donít remember all of them, but I do recall he was surprised by the younger photos of himself.

My other favorite thing was when Ashley gave Lee a bunch of baby clothes she knitted for Lily and Kai. There were adorable hats and sweaters and Lee was very touched by the effort that went into them. I recall that he joked that he was going to have to sleep with her one time for everything sheíd made for him. I think he asked if that was OK with her husband. He does know how to make us laugh.

A little later, when the party got a little quiet and some of the Oz guys left, Lee and I had a few minutes to talk. I told him about the job situation and I also told him that my son has recently relapsed and I was really worried about him. As always, he was an amazing listener. He said he went through something similar and that my son would eventually figure it out as he had (ďAlthough, it took me until I was 40,Ē he said, laughing.) And then he said something really sweet that made me love him even more. He said he was glad to hear that I was sticking by my son and not giving up on him and that it reminded him of his younger, wilder days when his Mom never gave up on him. *sniff*

So, it was a lovely night with great memories and Iím not sure why it took me so long to write this. Probably because of all the stress that was going on in my life.

As an after note, I was unemployed for eight months but thanks to my bossí help with my separation package, I managed to stay debt-free and Iím rather proud of that. I have a new job in Georgetown with a new boss, who reminds me a little of the old one. And I keep in touch with my old boss because he is family and I love him. And my son has remained sober, although he certainly struggles with cravings, but he is determined and Iím proud of him.

I think itís time for a new LeeFest, donít you? I promise to be quicker on the write-up this time.

PS: Of the pictures I took with Lee that day, this is the only one I liked. Wendy's husband took it when Lee and I were having our emotional talk. (Well, I was emotional. Lee was just sweet.)



 

Main Page
Meeting Lee

Meeting One
March 19, 2002

Meeting Two
May 19, 2002

Meeting Three
October 7, 2002

Meeting Four
December 7, 2002

Meeting Five
January 28, 2003

Meeting Six
August 31, 2003

Meeting Seven
November 13, 2004

Meeting Eight
January 7, 2005

Meeting Nine
May 31, 2008

Meeting Ten
May 2, 2010

Meeting 11
Dec. 4, 2010

Meeting 12
Nov. 23, 2011

Meeting 13
June 9, 2012

Meeting 14
Aug. 17, 2013

Meeting 15
June 14, 2015

Meeting 16
October 15, 2017

Meeting 17
June 8, 2019