Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Darlene the Century Plaza Cocktail Waitress...

The first SCBWI conference I attended at the Century Plaza Hotel was the 25th anniversary event. As I dragged my luggage through the lobby 10 years ago one of the first things I saw was Darlene the Cocktail Waitress serving drinks to thirsty hotel guests. (She served a formidable number of them to me that year. I much was younger and could still handle my pina coladas.)








As I dragged luggage across the lobby the night before the 35th conference began, I wondered if Darlene was still around. The hotel had changed hands several times in the last decade. But I spotted her--Darlene--still serving drinks to thirsty hotel guests. Darlene has delivered many a martini to beloved children's book authors. She's brought bottles of beer to both the accomplished and the aspiring. She's seen agents and editors meet with their authors. She's seen strangers become lifelong friends. She's been on her feet, wearing that same outfit, working at the heartbeat of the SCBWI conference networking machine: the Lobby Bar. Ah, Darlene, you're as much a part of the SCBWI conference as keynotes, breakout sessions, portfolio displays, and anniversary balls. Thanks for bringing those mojitos and wasabi peanuts, Darlene. Thanks for service with a smile. I'll see you next year.

4 comments:

Candie Moonshower said...

Hallelujah for Darlene! As a former bartender and cocktail waitress, I can surely appreciate her hard work and patient kindness. I missed Ivan this year (my fave waiter from the last three years, along with Darlene), but Darlene informed me that Ivan got a gig over at Wolfgang Puck's--so here's a shout out to both Darlene AND Ivan!

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