The biggest celebrity on the Vineyard is not who you might think it is !!!
The biggest celebrity, in size, would have to be Clifford the Big Red Dog. Not anyone, two or four-legged comes close to him in stature… or in popularity with the younger set.
In 1996 as time was approaching for my granddaughter’s and grandson’s first trip to Martha’s Vineyard I wanted to do something special for them. I know, just going to MV is special enough, but I wanted something different that would be impressive.
I knew that Norman Bridwell, the creator of Clifford, lived on MV so I decided to send him a letter telling him about my long time connection with MV and how my grandchildren would be making their first trip there in a few months.
Lo and behold a few weeks later I got a letter from him saying he’d be delighted to meet us. He told me what date would be good for him and gave me his phone number… to me, a complete stranger. That’s one of the charm of Vineyarders by the way, their trust of mankind, or in my case womankind.
I told my daughter Patty what I had done and she and I decided to keep it as a surprise for the children. That was very hard for me.
When I arrived on MV a few days before my family there was a message waiting for me where I was staying… it was from Norman Bridwell making sure I’d gotten to MV safely and that our get together was still on. On top of that he also phoned me. How nice was that.
The second day of their trip to MV we went for a walk in Edgartown. While walking down a particular street I said to my granddaughter Tiffany “that’s the house where the man who draws Clifford the Big Red Dog lives.” Her face lit up and she smiled. Grandson Tyler was interested in collecting leaves at that point. I said to Tiffany, “why don’t you go ring the doorbell and see what happens?” She looked at me like I’d lost my mind, then glanced at her mom who agreed that we should give it a shot. So up to the door we went. Ringgggg….ringgggg. The door opened and there stood Norma Bridwell, “hello there, come right in, I’ll get Norman for you.” Tiffany stood wide-eyed at the door and then inched her way in. Tyler discovered they had a cat, he was happy. Norman Bridwell stepped out of his office, greeted us and asked us in. He’s a delightful man, full of interesting stories and he made us all feel quite at home. Since my daughter Patty and I knew we were going to be visiting the Bridwell’s she came bearing Clifford cookies and two Clifford books for him to sign for Tiffany and Tyler. I often wondered if they were suspicious of the cookie thing … like how did their mom just happen to have Clifford cookies at the ready 🙂
The next time we saw Clifford was in Aug of 2001 at the Possible Dreams Auction.