The Real George Clooney

To this day, I can’t see George Clooney on the big screen without thinking of the boy I crushed on in the sixth grade and the nice thing he did, many years later, for a very sick girl.

I grew up in the '70s with the Clooneys in Mason, Ohio. In fact, both our families belonged to this tiny Catholic church, St. Susanna. George's dad worked the bingo every year at the church carnival with my mom.

In sixth-grade, during our confirmation classes and rehearsals, we were placed in alphabetical order, which is how I happened to sit next to George’s sister Ada Clooney. Ada and I struck up a friendship, and I met her brother on our "Day of Reconciliation." I thought George was adorable then, and the years have done nothing but improve his good looks.

Several years ago, I was corresponding with a teenage girl in Michigan who had cancer. I wanted to do something nice for her. I knew she liked George Clooney. I wasn’t sure how to get in touch with him directly, so I sent an email to his dad. The next thing I know, there was a package in my mailbox for my young friend, Gloria – a signed photo and a handwritten letter from George. I framed both items and sent them to my friend, who lost her battle with cancer a few months later. Her mom called me a year after her death to tell me that it was the one thing Gloria treasured most right until the end, and it would be the only thing she wouldn’t pack up and put away.

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