My mom was fortunate enough to go to a taping of the Oprah Show recently.  Aya was extremely jealous by the way.  Apparently it’s on her bucket list to be at an Oprah taping.  But my mom and her friend had quite the adventure as it took place during the Storm of the Century!  I’ve invited my mom as a guest writer to share her story.  Enjoy…

Imagine my surprise when I answered the phone and my friend Cathy asked, “Do you want to go to an Oprah Show?”  Her daughter Wendy who lives in Chicago, put her name on a ticket cancellation list and got four tickets.  Now, I am not an Oprah fanatic but I like her, and it’s her last season.  Plus, it’s Oprah.  Oprah!  This could be really cool I thought.  Maybe it’s going to be an Oprah’s Favorite Things, or a celebrity or a musician interview!

We were scheduled for a taping at the end of January and the excitement began to build.  We immediately started planning our trip.  We had to coordinate our outfits, not only for the show, but for the whole trip.  Cathy and I always end up wearing the same clothes if we don’t coordinate.  It never fails.  We didn’t want to be seen on the Oprah Show wearing the same thing.  But our planning ended quickly when about a week later we were notified that the taping had been cancelled.  Oh well, it was fun thinking about it.

However, a few days later we were notified that we were able to reschedule.  So after checking everyone’s calendars, we chose Wednesday, February 2.  Excitement returns!  Okay Oprah, here we come!

We purchased bus tickets to Chicago for a Tuesday departure, one day before the taping.  This would give us plenty of time just in case we had trouble.  But, five days before traveling, we heard the weather: snow …a lot of snow… a snowpocalypse… on Wednesday…our Oprah Show day!  UGH!  Nope, we’re not going to worry about it.  We planned on leaving before the snow started anyways.  Plus, how often is the weatherman correct anyways?!

Monday arrived and we were notified that the bus had been cancelled.  What?  It wasn’t even snowing yet!  We then received notification from the Oprah Show that they will not cancel the taping on Wednesday.  It’sd still be worth it.  We needed another mode of transportation.  So we booked train tickets for an early Tuesday morning departure.

After boarding the train and getting settled in, we noticed that we were dressed alike; plum tops, jeans and plum coats.  Twins again!  In coordinating our outfits, we forgot to include our traveling clothes.

We arrived in Chicago in the afternoon and it was cold, windy and just beginning to snow.  BRRRR!  We were going to be staying with Cathy’s daughter Wendy, and her husband Ricardo.  Even though their apartment was only seven blocks from Union Station we took a taxi.  I guess the weatherman was right, because we spent the rest of the day watching the blizzard, the snowpacolypse, from their tenth floor apartment window.  While we were in awe of Mother Nature, we got an email from the Oprah Show…  Cancelled!  What?!  Cancelled?!… You said you were not going to cancel.  We’re here already!  It was 8:00pm and we were listening to thundersnow, 70 mph winds, and Oprah just cancelled!  We were starting to feel like a yoyo…excitement up, excitement down, up, down…

Wendy sent a reply to the Oprah show expressing her disappointment on how they said they were not going to cancel, etc. She actually received a reply!  They would try to get us in the Thursday morning taping, but with no guarantee.  I saw a glimmer of hope, or was it lightening with the thundersnow?  A while later, she got a phone call. We are in!  Really? Is this certain?  Are we really going to the Oprah Show?  YES!

Since we had to be there by 7:00am, we decided to get ready for bed and turn in early.  I went first since there is only one bathroom.  I came out in my red  flannel pjs with white snowflakes.  Cathy looked at me and laughed. Then she pulled out her pjs from her suitcase and you guessed it.  Red with white snowflakes!   My gosh!  See, I told you.  We must have been twins in another life!

The next morning, I was wearing purple, and Cathy and Wendy were wearing  shades of fuscia.  (The Oprah Show requested people wear bright colors, no whites or beiges.)  Ricardo took one look at us and said, “You look like a bunch of grapes.”

We arrived at Harpo Studios at 6:30am and found that there were only four people ahead of us in line.  We thought that should get us really good seats.  We waited about an hour before they checked our identification and moved us to a purse search area.  They searched our purses for cell phones, cameras, food and who knows what else.  Items that were not allowed were confiscated and returned after the show.  After walking through a metal detector we were led upstairs to a waiting area that had large photos of Oprah and past guests and large video monitors  showing past Oprah Shows.  And we waited… and waited… until about 10:30am before we were finally seated in the studio.  Gee, it looked a lot smaller than on TV.  Where were our seats?…..behind the camera and a TV monitor in the second tier of seating.  I guess it didn’t matter at all how early we arrived.  Oh well, at least we’re here!  A staff member came out to lively music to warm up the audience, answer questions etc.  The excitement was building!  What was the show topic going to be?  She concluded with how the Oprah Show is about caring and love and the family that is about to appear will need all our love.  UH OH….   What just happened?  We just experienced a big exciting build up and then, CRASH.  A hush came over the audience.  No celebrity guest, no Favorite Things, no music.  It was a very sad and serious show about twin girls who were sexually abused by their two brothers and dad.   How absolutely horrible for them!

The studio was so very quiet waiting for Oprah to make her entrance.  Then whispers, here she comes!  She walked out to a standing, applauding audience, wearing tan slacks, a cream colored sweater and flat shoes.  A few people yelled out, “We love you!”  She basically looked the same as she does on TV although today maybe a little tired.  She thanked us for making it through the blizzard, had her hair touched up by Andre her stylist,  and had some chit chat with the audience.  Her stage director (I assume) came out carrying leopard high heels and tried to place them on her feet as she kneeled on the couch while talking to the audience  with her back to him. Finally she turned around and  took them and put them on.  She joked how it takes a lot of people to dress her.  She did some promos and then the show’s introduction.  There were no do-overs or let’s try it this way.

The taping took about 1 ¼ hours and as we were leaving the studio, the crew was setting up for the next taping.  Wow, that was fast.  We walked across the street to visit the Oprah Store (yes, I said Oprah Store).  Mugs, hats, books, clothing, African art etc were available for purchase.  Then we walked to a restaurant for lunch and talked about the show and how awful life was for those girls.  It was really great that we got to see an Oprah Show taping but it was difficult to shake that bummed feeling.  We wished that we could have experienced a fun taping but those girls were helped that day as well as others in the same unfortunate circumstance.

During the taxi ride back to the apartment, we were amazed at how quickly the downtown streets of Chicago were cleared of snow.  I think the snowfall total was a little over 20 inches!  They must have worked all night.

Well, our visit had come to a close and it was time to pack and get to the train station.  We arrived and finally got checked in after an hour wait in line. (Why are there only four ticket agents when they have 13 ticket windows?)  We checked the board for our gate number and discovered that our train was delayed…and delayed…and delayed.  Our 6:00pm train finally departed at 11:00pm.  During our 7 hour trip (it normally takes about 5 ½ ), Cathy pointed out that in a 24 hour period we spent about 12 hours waiting.  That’s right, waiting…waiting for Oprah, waiting for the train.

With all the cancellations, rescheduling, and the Chicago blizzard, we still had a great time!  An absolutely great adventure!  It doesn’t really matter what you do, it’s the people that you do it with that matters.  My thanks to you, friends!  My Yo-Yo is UP!

2 thoughts on “SNOPRAH = NOPRAH… ALMOST

  1. Great post! I can see where Matt gets his writing skills…=) I would have loooooved to have gone to Oprah…Zayna and I watch her every morning…We even looked for you in the crowd! Bummer about the topic…but hey, any Oprah is awesome!

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