I was over at Threads, Hope & Love (the clothing giveaway shop in Washington) the other day. While chatting with folks in the office, I was introduced to Sandy who exclaimed, “Wow, I’m meeting my first celebrity…’The Real’ Scott Wheeler!” (note: a nod to a former on-air name). This is always a tough one for me because I do not think of myself as a celebrity, but I suppose it’s fun for folks to meet the face behind the voice (while also confirming that I have a face for radio!)
After talking with Sandy for a bit, another person in the office revealed to me that I was talking to one of the voices behind the famous Bergner’s talking Christmas tree from Sheridan Village. For those of you who weren’t around for this wonderful holiday tradition, Bergner’s used to have Christmas tree in its foyer that talked. Dating back to 1966, kids and adults alike would often be surprised when they walked by with packages and the tree would exclaim, “Hey, put that back!” (you can google many pictures and stories about the tree). I was simply stunned by who I was talking with. Although I’m not from Peoria originally, the Bergner’s tree was the stuff of legends and certainly part of my formative years here.
Sandy shared many a story from her 3 years as “the tree” including the time she was pregnant and found the tree’s quarters to be a little “snug.” Then there was a time a little girl admitted to the tree that she wasn’t sure her mom was getting any gifts from Santa that year because she liked to drink beer! I could have talked to Sandy for hours, and I felt I was standing in the presence of greatness.
Nope Sandy, you didn’t meet a celebrity that day…I did