About thirteen years ago, when our son Oskar was 4, we took a trip to Tofino. We stayed at a really nice, newly-opened resort called Middle Beach Lodge. I think we got a good deal because it was its first season.
The first night, we ate at the lodge. We had just sat down when this cute ten year old boy with an American accent approached us. He was totally intrigued by our little boy. He’d seen him on the beach, and thought he was really cute, and what was his name? “Oskar,” I told him. “And what’s your name?” “Susin,” I said. “I’m Jack,” he replied, then he happily wandered off.
A few minutes later he came back. He said, “You know, it’s a strange coincidence. Your name is Susin, and my mom’s name is Susan. And your son’s name is Oskar … and my mom has won an Oscar.” I shi*t you not, that is exactly what this kid said. My heart started to race, because I suddenly knew who his mom was – only one of my favorite actresses of all time. But trying to play it cool I said, “Who’s your mom?” “Susan Sarandon,” he said, “she’s right over there.”
And sure enough, there was Susan with the rest of her family, at a corner table. Then – again, I sh*t you not – Jack said, “Hey, dad, dad.” He was talking to someone directly behind me, who was standing at the bar. “These are the people I was telling you about, with the cute little boy.” I turned, and looked up. Way, way up. “Hi, I’m Tim,” said Tim Robbins, shaking my hand.
Oh. My. GOD. Star of “Shawshank Redemption;” director of “Bob Roberts”; and, most importantly to me, the star of “Thelma and Louise,” only one of my favorite movies of all time.
So, yeah … for the next three days, we saw the Robbins/Sarandon family constantly. Susan and Tim had no security (that we could tell). They were with all their kids; Charlie and Eva too, and another family. They were very good at having invisible shields around themselves. For example, they actually read their books (all I remember is that one of them was reading “Memoirs of a Geisha”) in the main lodge sitting area, but no one would dare approach them; it was clear they were on holiday and wanted to be left alone, and everyone, me included, respected that.
Jack, however, wanted to hang out. He found us on the beach the next day and wanted to play with Oskar. I was kind of amazed that the son of Hollywood royalty was allowed to roam so freely. Then he picked up his Motorola walkie-talkie and radioed his mom to tell her where he was. She said, “You forgot your towel, Jack.” It was the first time I heard her infinitely recognizable voice.
(And yeah, I did eventually have a mildly embarrassing one on one conversation with Susan, who was polite if understandably rather distant. I think I tried to make a connection re someone I thought she’d worked with in the Vancouver film industry, and got the name wrong, and felt like an ass. I didn’t gush and tell her I loved her and thought she was beautiful and regal and aging gracefully and that I admired her politics and wished I could be her.)
The sweetest part of this story, though, is that the Sarandon/Robbins kids practically adopted Oskar. We’d walk into the restaurant in the mornings for breakfast and Jack and Charlie would call, “Hey Oskar, Oskar, come eat with us!” And our adorable red-headed four-year-old would march off happily to their table to eat with all of them. At the end of our stay (they were leaving the same day), Tim approached me, and Susan approached my husband – and told us, separately, that Oskar should be a voice on “The Rugrats.”
I’ll take my Oskar over Susan’s Oscar any day. This is him, that summer.
Of course today, Oskar loves this story. But it was so great that back then he had no idea who he was hanging out with; it was just a bunch of kids and their parents who took a shining to him.
I wish I could tell you I had more celebrity encounters, but I think that’s it for now … however, who knows what the next few years will bring?