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As you know, I’ve been following Michael’s career since his first gig on Days of Our Lives. I had always wanted the chance to meet him, and when he was doing live theater in Boston, I finally got that chance. I knew a couple of other fans that were going and put a message on my website, Jarod’s Safe House, that if any other Michael/Pretender fans were going to check out Michael’s stage performance and wanted to meet to contact me.

Karen

 

Meanwhile, in the darkest depths of Staffordshire, England, I had been visiting JSH for a few weeks, using the computer at my local library … I was in the midst of moving to a new place and didn’t have internet connection … this is how I learned that Michael would be on stage in Boston, and I thought it would be a wonderful idea to go and see him in action….

Now, I have to admit, I’d never had my own internet connection before, so I found it somewhat daunting when I read Karen’s message and decided to reply….. after a couple of days I began to wonder if the “electronic magic” had “worked,” since I hadn’t heard from her… this is how my first contact with Karen, actually wasn’t from me, but my neighbour, who quickly sent another e-mail, asking if she had received my original message (she hadn’t — I had failed miserably) — Despite this inauspicious start, I eventually managed, with a little tuition, to send another e-mail, telling Karen that I loved JSH, yes, I was going to Boston and yes, I would love to meet up.

This would have been towards the end of November, 2005…. Karen and I e-mailed back and forth for a few days, but soon that wasn’t enough, and I was introduced to the delights of MSN (as it was then) ….. We found we had many things in common and, despite a bit of a language barrier (really!) we got on famously… Before long, it was January 2006 and I flew to Boston, giving Karen my hotel and flight info, so she could contact me once I arrived…. on around the second day of my holiday, I got a phone call from Karen … at last, we got to talk to each other, rather than type!

Bridget

 

I think we talked on the phone at least once a day, and by the second phone call we were literally finishing one another’s sentences (even now we always seem to know what the other one is thinking; I always make it a point to tell Bridget to get out of my head, it’s a very dark and scary place. Ha ha). We were so excited to meet, but we had a good-sized group of fans together and really didn’t get to have a decent conversation between us. I had only flown up to Boston for the day and as soon as we got to talk to Michael, I had to leave; I didn’t even get to tell Bridget goodbye as I was so very late leaving the theater to get to the airport in time for my flight. We resumed our telephone conversations the very next day, and I soon learned she had “insulted” Michael’s attempt at trying to copy her accent. That’s an ongoing joke in and of itself I think you’d find amusing, and if you’re interested, I’d be more than happy to tell (although Bridget might threaten to do me bodily harm). When Bridget arrived back home from Boston after a two-week stay, we began discussing her visiting me in Georgia that coming June, a mere five months later. While she was visiting, we’d sit up late at night and watch Michael’s movies or just talk. I remember vividly how she told me so much about herself and how tight-lipped I was on telling her much about me….

Karen

 

  I think it was around that time we started writing together …… just light-hearted romantic fiction at first … it soon became clear, however, that we enjoyed grittier stuff more…. and that’s all I will say on the subject LOL … indeed, we still write whenever we can and it’s become a big part of our friendship …..

Over the years, we have both been blessed with the opportunity to travel to see Michael in other plays and meeting him again afterwards. He has always been friendly and charming, happy to give hugs in equal measure … in fact, I can now actually see (and admit) that Karen was right to love him so much!

I hope Karen won’t mind me saying, but I think our mutual love of The Pretender, and Michael has seen both of us through some very trying times…… Jarod, after all, is like an extra member of our family…. and now Craig and Steve are too…. the Centre universe is indeed a wonderful thing …… without it, I wouldn’t have such a good friend and so many lovely memories to cherish…

Bridget

 

I couldn’t agree more with Bridget’s last statement.

I went through a terrible time from about June of 2009 to February 2011 with health issues and losing my job as a result. The Pretender, working on Jarod’s Safe House, and Bridget, along with the other ladies I’ve met, was all that kept me sane and kept me going.

Between family problems and on-going health issues there are times when I become very upset and depressed, and lose interest in life in general, then Steve will answer one of my emails and say something so off-the-wall funny that it totally changes my day for the better. (Thank you Steve! I greatly value our friendship.)

Karen

 

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