Fan Club Party 2001

When we arrived at the Hall of Fame (around 6:00 p.m.), I knew this was going to be a special night, because this was going to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be Marty's guest at the new Country Music Hall of Fame. We first stood across the street so we could get a good look at the new building. After a few minutes, we saw the line starting to form and decided we needed to go over and get in line. It was very hot and we wished we had brought our water bottles, but soon started seeing familiar faces and the excitement started. SherryM, Mario, MaryR, and Debby came over and we hugged and said 'Hi'. Also saw Sheila and others. Jodee and her daughter Rachel came by, taking tickets and handing out our souvenir pins. Nick is Jodee's buddy, and we talked about how he had won a Marty bag FULL of goodies at the fan club party a few years ago. Jodee looked great and was so friendly and bubbly. I thanked her for getting our tickets to us on such short notice. While waiting to go in, we talked with other Marty friends, so the wait really didn't seem to long.

The doors opened at a little past 7:00. As we entered the conservatory, several tables were set up, but they were already filled so we found a seat on the stone that enclosed the water, right in front of the engraved names of contributors. I immediately began looking for "The Marty Stuart Fan Club" and found it quickly. A gal from the Hall of Fame came up to us and asked me if we knew that we were the only fan club to have our name on the wall. I said, "Of course I know that." She took a couple pictures of me, Kevin and Nick looking and pointing to it and said this was for the HOF newsletter. Then she asked me our names. I said, "Our last name is Shirley, it's Lori, Kevin...", then she stopped me and said, "And that's Nick, right?". I said, "How did you know?" She said that she was the person who documented all the donations, and she remembered our name from our donation! WOW! I sure don't know how she could remember us from all those checks, but she did. So now I need to know how to get a copy of that newsletter. She was taking pictures of Marty and Connie when they arrived, so we'll all probably want to see that newsletter.

By that time, Marty and Connie had arrived. Marty had on a black t-shirt that read "Manuel" in rhinestones, cream-colored pants that laced up the sides, and a denim long-sleeved shirt. HOT! Connie had on pink and so did Marty's mom. They sat close by us, on the stone. Everyone started going to Marty, handing him things and taking pictures. I tried to sneak into the crowd for a couple pictures also. Jodee was talking to him and telling him where to go. They walked through the crowd, across the room, Jodee introduced Marty, and Marty spoke for awhile. We couldn't understand anything anyone said but knew the tour was on as we saw everyone move towards the elevators. So we joined in.

The 2 elevators held about 10-15 people each, so after a short wait, we got on and rode to the 3rd floor to start our tour. The first thing Nick saw were the water fountains (and we were so thirsty), so we headed for a drink. Then I realized Marty was standing there greeting everyone! That was so cool! I asked him what his shirt said and he opened the demin shirt to reveal "Manuel". I said "cool", he said "yeah". I missed my chance to give him a hug there because it took me by surprise that he was standing there. Everything in this building was state-of-the-art, even the water fountains. No buttons to push, you just stand in front of them, and they (well sometimes) work. Nick got it up his nose!

We were on our own to view the exhibits as fast or as slow as we wanted. No pictures or videos, and I could see why, as most everything was inside glass cases, and pictures just wouldn't come out very good. Nick and I enjoyed the headphones you could put on and listen to the music of the era, that went with the items in the cases. We also enjoyed watching the old clips from Hee Haw and old commercials. There is a mechanical bull that used to be in Gilley's that brought back memories of my days living in Houston and taking everyone that visited us to Gilley's to ride the bull! Marty's exhibit was fantastic. Lot's of neat items. Enjoyed seeing his little guitar and beautiful jackets. Also liked watching the video of him explaining some of the items. We couldn't find his gold records on the wall, there were just to many of them. The circle with the HOF members was very neat and I know there's a place reserved for Marty in that room, someday.

After our tour, we ended up back in the conservatory for desserts and tea. There were only cookies at that point, but soon they brought out more trays of desserts. We took ours outside to eat. The autograph line had already formed but Marty wasn't there yet. So I started to find more Martypals for hugs and hi's. Kevin was tired by this time, plus his back wasn't feeling too great after the 12-hour drive, so I went and got in line.

Nick talked to Marty first. After signing his picture w/Marty from last year's party, and a magazine cover, Nick asked Marty if he was hungry. Marty said "yes", so Nick pulled out a handful of jolly ranchers and Marty said he'd take the apple, but he picked a purple one, but Nick made sure he got the apple one. Marty sat it down and then he shook Nick's hand. Then it was my turn. I had him sign 3 things, picture from last year, a newspaper, and another Country Weekly of us with Marty. He took a few seconds to look at it before signing it. I told him how great it was to have the party here. He said something about it being better than being out in the heat. Kevin had him sign the chiropractic magazine. After having our pictures with Marty singly, we also had one made with all of us. This time I told Marty we wanted a FUN one. He made a silly face and I'll have to wait to get my pictures back later this week to see exactly what he did. I wanted to capture a little bit of the fun and crazy Marty this time. We said "thanks" and all too soon were on our way. Got back to our motel at 11:00 p.m.

I know this was a very special night for Marty and I am very happy and proud to have been a part of it. Thanks to Jodee for having the idea to hold it there because you could tell it meant alot to Marty to show off this new building to us. I, for one, had a wonderful time and enjoyed every minute of the evening. Like Marty said in his newsletter, "The party will give us memories for a lifetime". I totally agree!

Review by Lori Shirley, Boone, IA

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