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Great Moments in Small Talk

Suzie Lechtenberg

Letters from Listeners

It was 1968 and I was a 20 year old, flight attendant with Eastern Airlines. One morning we had Senator Edward Kennedy as a passenger on the shuttle from Washington to New York. In the afternoon, on my last flight of the day, from DC to La Guardia, we boarded his wife, Joan. When disembarking, she happened to stop right in front of me as we were waiting for the doors to be opened. I struggled for something to say, and blurted out, "I saw your husband this morning." The man behind her began vigorously shaking his head no, and her face was like stone. I thought, "Oh my God, he's having an affair and she thought he was elsewhere." That would have been good news! As it turned out, it was not Joan Kennedy, but Ethel, and her husband had been killed just two months before. I screamed all the way home in my VW bug.

Candy Adriance from
Charlestown, R.I.

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One of the heroes of my youth was Woody Allen who I was fortunate enough to meet when I was about 25 years old, an out of towner in NYC from Manhattan, Kan.

He responded to my "It's wonderful to meet you Mr. Allen," with "Where are you from?"

"Kansas"

"What's is like? I've never really been there?"

Nervously, "Oh it's a lot like Nebraska."

End of conversation.

Mary Tribble from Lancaster, Pa.

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I was at the airport and needed to use the restroom. After I finally entered a stall and got seated, the person in the stall next to mine said, "What's up?" Quite taken aback, I replied something like, "I don't know." Then the guy says, "Ya wanna go out and do something tonight?" Now I'm really starting to wonder what's going on. I'm not replying, but then I hear him continue his conversation. He was on his cell phone!

Mark Freund from
West Allis, Ws.

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I met a woman at a Halloween party and she introduced herself as "Carin" explaining the spelling to me, "Thats with a 'C'."

I responded with "Oh. Are you a folk singer?" without really thinking. I don't know where it came from, but I am usually flummoxed by the Spelled-by smalltalk. What does one say in response to that information? So, I sheepishly tried to move on conversationally as quickly as possible as I had basically blurted out a small talk stopper. It's always a good idea to use the nod-take-a-breath card.

Suzanne Romain from
Seattle, Wash.

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