It just feels like there is something I forgot to do.
Something really, REALLY important.
This never happened...
I never met Jean Nidetch.
I tried. I wrote letters. I did research. I sent emails. I thought about searching for Jean on a recent trip to Florida - but promptly chickened out. I just couldn't see myself as a creepy retirement home stalker.
For Christ's Sakes I even sent a letter to freaking Katie Couric begging for her assistance with meeting my idol. (Hashtag YOLO?)
In a last ditch effort, I finally tracked down the contact information for one of Jean Nidetch's family members who lives in New York City. Out of the blue, I sent this poor, unsuspecting young woman an email. Here is a carbon copy of what I wrote:
My name is Mimi. I hope you do not mind my reaching out to you via email, but I would like to get a message to your Grandmother, Jean. Here's why...
For the past 4 years, I have been working on a blogging project which is devoted to the food and fun of the original Weight Watchers program from the 1960's/70's. My blog, "The Retro Weight Watchers Experiment" is a tribute to the work of Jean Nidetch and the life-changing institution she created.
Over the past 4 years, I have re-created almost every gelatin mold, frankfurter casserole and tuna/mackerel dish you could ever imagine. I have done unspeakable things with cottage cheese. I have literally had a BLAST learning about the history of Weight Watchers and creating an online community of fellow "Retro WW Fanatics"... Including my mom who actually followed the program in 1972 and lost 90 pounds.
One of my goals was to meet Jean. But unfortunately, I never made that happen. And it breaks my heart.
As I begin to wind down my project and close up shop on the blog - I feel like I must (at the very least) contact Jean to let her know how much she has changed my life. I lost 40 pounds on WW in 1999, and if it weren't for WW - I never would have had the confidence to make that happen.
My only hope is that she will be able to take a look at the blogging project I have created in her honor. It is fun and silly, but there is a lot of love and admiration behind it. And there are a lot of people who have connected with me through this project, because they feel the same way I do.
If you could somehow share this message with your Grandmother, I would be so very grateful. I do not know her current health condition, but I very much hope she is healthy and happy.
Thank you so much. I am currently working on the final post for my blog, and if there is any way I could include a quote or comment from Jean - that would truly be the cherry on the top of this marvelous journey. Please let her know it would mean the world to me!
Have a wonderful week and thanks so much for your time and consideration.
After a few days, I got a very nice response. It was short and sweet:
Thank you for your support and admiration. Congratulations on your success. It is wonderful to hear of another person who my grandmother’s life has so positively affected.Best of luck to you on your blog and all your continued success.
Welp. I do believe THAT, my friends, is what they call in the business - "The Brush Off". But its OK. I am fine. Really.
No. REEAALLLYY. Its fine. I'm over it.
If there is one thing Weight Watchers has taught me, its that the journey is everything. Its truly not about the destination. And boy oh boy, have I enjoyed this journey! I have met some unbelievably fun and talented and inspiring people on this blogging adventure. I have tried so many new things and challenged myself in so many ways. I have had a blast. And it was life-changing. Simple as that.
Funny thing is, I am sorta glad we are ending in a totally different place than where I expected. I always pictured my final post would be all about my meeting with Jean and how cool that would be. Talking about the past, and all the wackiness of the Retro days. You know...drowning in nostalgia and whatnot.
But in the end - this post is dedicated to all of US. Right now. The losers. The winners. The fighters. The Weight Watchers Warriors who are still living the dream over 50 years later, and getting better all the time.
We are pretty freaking awesome. Let's never forget that.
So here's to the future of Weight Watchers. What lies ahead is so exciting!
And the beat goes on...