The very first person I saw when I walked into school was Sister Margaret who immediately gave me a hug and said she was so glad I came. For those of you who saw the LIFE magazine with Mariska, this is her favorite teacher who was on the cover with her. I asked Margaret if she was coming and she said she'd be there soon and that so many current students had volunteered for the day just because she was going to be there. When I went to pick up my nametag, my eyes wandered to Mariska's sitting across from mine - it was so neat even to see THAT! I walked into the chapel to get ready for mass and only saw much older women than me (it turned out, only 3 other girls from my class showed up - I told you it would be tiny!). I finally found a friend of mine and sat down - good thing Mariska ended up sitting two rows ahead of me with Sister Margaret. I was disappointed that she was alone - no August or Peter. A woman gave a little bio about Mariska, talking about her acting career, August, her days at Marymount, and the Joyful Heart Foundation. When Mariska got up to the podium, the first thing she said was, "I feel so dumb, but I have no clue what Robotics is....can someone pull me aside after and inform me?" (The head master had been talking about our school's achievements right beforehand, and robotics was one of them.) It was really cute. She talked about Olivia Benson and her desire to play her, about JHF, August, and she started crying from the getgo - warning us immediately "I'm a crier." At first it was the emotion of being back and seeing all her old friends sitting in front of her and the gratitude for earning her award, but then she informed us that Annette Conrad, her best friend in high school had passed away the week before from breast cancer. There was not a dry eye in the room when she spoke of their friendship and wanting to become one person, calling each other "twins." All her classmates were crying and Mariska could hardly get through her speech....and I was just feet from this....it was so very sad. After mass I went into the library and looked up her yearbook page, adorned with pictures of her and Annette. I realized soon after that I didn't have to search for her yearbook (her page, as well as the LIFE cover were proudly displayed on the shelf above it). I found a picture of Mariska holding Sister Margaret and HAD to take a picture of it to show you all...it's insane...25 years apart and we have the same uniform, walked the same path, and had the same teacher (who, ironically, puts our yearbooks together).
We went into the dining room for lunch and had assigned tables according to our year (ours was the tiniest with only 4). I couldn't find Mariska anywhere and almost like she knew what I was thinking, Sister Margaret walked up to my table and said, "Mariska went to go get the baby, she'll be back in a little bit, and you can talk to her then." OMG! Going to get the baby?! I got even more excited now. She came back with August and walked around with him. Each class went outside to get their pictures taken and I watched. I couldn't get up the nerve to go over to her. She was standing in a circle talking to her girlfriends for probably about an hour, and when I realized Sister Margaret was leaving (after kissing Mariska on the lips), I said I still needed to see her. So Sister Margarate took me by the hand (so cute) and walked me over to her, saying, "I have someone who wants to meet you. She just wants to touch you." Omg, I died right then and there...obviously I didn't say that (but thinking it OF COURSE). But it was kind of an ice breaker because I exclaimed, laughing, "OH MY GOD, I never said that!!" So Mariska was laughing and I told her she was my favorite actress ever (while she held both of my hands in hers) and lifted up my wrist which she touched and said "Aw, my bracelet." (the blue chord JHF necklace that I've always worn as a bracelet (as does she). I believe my friend asked me if I wanted to take a picture and we did, and then she asked me if I wanted a second one to make sure so I asked Mariska and she said of course. I commented on how short I was so she crouched down and put her arm around me….yeah, I died. Afterwards, I told her how I was always in the musicals (the lead) at Marymount and one of her friends overheard and said they wouldn’t allow Mariska to audition for those.
It flew by so fast, and I’m so thankful I have pictures to remember it since it doesn’t feel like it really happened…after all, I’d never even SEEN her before!!The Yearbook Picture
Mariska walking around with August
August & Grandma Hargitay
Playing With August
Mariska & Me
Mariska & Me again