Rissa Roo’s Spring Picnic Spectacular Or How I Finally Met Bette

Ok so it’s been over 10 days since the picnic and I’m finally getting around to writing about the best day of my life so far. Now I know that you only want to hear about the picnic so ill cut to the chase.

(Leanne and Rissa)

My mom, step-dad and I all drove down to the city the morning of the picnic. After finding the park, eating lunch and changing we still arrived at the picnic about 45 minutes early, so we walked the other way in the park to go to the bathrooms and by time we got back, they were finished setting up and were checking other people in. We walked up to the table gave them out names and got the tags for our table number, to my dismay I was seated at the same table as my parents. We were at table 5, Bette was at Table 25 and all the other Betteheads were at tables 41 and 42, they couldn’t have put farther away!! But I sucked it up so as not to piss my mom off.

So after we were checked in we started to walk up the path to the tent, on the way we stopped and got some lemonade and iced tea. Walking up the path I thought I recognized someone and at that minute I finally got to meet a fellow bettehead Danielle!!Then we posed for a picture by the river and went into the cocktail area for riverside cocktails. After sitting at a table for 10 minutes texting Leanne frantically I got up and with my mom stood by the fence separating us from the press area. After about 5 more minutes I hear Danielle call out Marissa!! And she’s jumping up and down pointing while saying “She’s here, she’s here!!” I turn my head and there is Bette and Nathan Lane walking towards Danielle who was on the other side of the fence!

So Danielle and another Bettehead who’s name escapes me (I’m sorry!!) get Bette to come over as I run to try to go around the fence, Danielle got a hug from Bette!! I wasn’t let out the fence (I was so furious) amd so Bette walked right by me as I was helplessly caged in the cocktail area which Bette never set foot in the whole night. So as im watching Bette from a distance getting interviewed and having pictures taken with the other celebrities, I’m also keeping my eyes on the path waiting for the arrival of the 10 Betteheads who arrived in a limo.

(Donna Maxon and Rissa)

So I’m waiting and waiting and then I spot Donna Maxon with a troop of betteheads whom I’ve never seen in person! I ran right by the people who were working the gate that we weren’t supposed to go out of, so the first bettehead that reaches me is Lisa, so I gave her a hug then I met Amanda and her giant suitcase and I turn around and there’s Matthew with Bryston and Tony so I introduced my self to them and I turn around and then at last I got to meet one of my best friends Leanne!!!

My mom saw us and took a picture of us hugging which I didn’t even see until the next day. So I’m shaking I’m so happy that I’m finally meeting all of the betteheads and then Leanne takes me over and introduces me to Donna who looks even more like Bette in person than she does in pictures! So we all go into the cocktail area and Leanne tells me “Sophie was right behind us” I ask her where and as I’m asking I turn around and Sophie Frederica Alohilani von Haselberg is 2 feet away from me, I almost died. I quickly turned around back to the betteheads and gasped OMG Bette’s daughter is right behind me!! So then I turn and watch her walk deeper into the party. Then I continued meeting the fab betteheads Morgan and Tamara and Amanda Emin and being re-introduced to Matt this time by Leanne.

(Rissa and Matt)

After basically turning my mom into the paparazzi by having her take all the pictures of me with everyone (photography is her passion so she didn’t mind) Danielle and I decided to stalk Sophie, so we were walking around looking for her and I swear I’m blind because I didn’t see her and I was closer than Danielle, so we pretended to talk while we waited for Sophie to be done with her conversation with a few people so we could approach her and this waitress tells us that dinner is served, so Danielle and I run to the bettheads totally ignoring the waitress.

We are all eyes glued to where Bette is as we watched the press disband we know Bette will be going to the tent soon, 2 more waitresses tell us all to go into the tent for dinner, we totally ignored them and once we saw Bette moving from the press area towards the tent we gathered across from the entrance and as Bette is walking towards us with her 2 giant bodyguards and some weird guy with crazy hair whom I’m assuming was her assistant or the party planner my step-dad yells out hey Bette can we have a picture? So of course she totally ignored her assistant and bodyguards who were ushering her into the tent and walked right into the group of us!

(Rissa and Bette)

So my mom says to her Bette will you please take a picture with my daughter she just loves you, and Bette says Sure! However there are about 6 female betteheads all lined up in front of her! She furrows her brows and says to my mom which one is she? I say it’s me!! And Tamara says it’s me!! And I look at her shocked and say no it’s me so Bette smiled and said ok let’s turn around so there’s some green in the background so we all turn and gather around Bette as she posed for pictures with us (Me, Leanne, Tamara, Morgan, and Tony) I was touching her shoulder!!

(Bette and the group)

Then my step-dad thanked bette shook her hand and got his picture taken with her then Bette turned around facing all of us and was looking at Leanne and so Leanne says “what?” and Bette said something along the lines of I recognize you, and almost all of us Betteheads practically screamed YES WE TOLD YOU SHE’D REMEMBER YOU LEANNE!! And we’re like “SHE’S A SMUG!!” and Bette said oh! As that her body guards were ushering her away I said to her “Thank you so much you have no idea what this means to me.” And she turned and looked at me and gave me her signature smile!!

Everyone else went inside except for Morgan and I. I stood there for a minute then I started to semi-hyperventilate and almost cried and Morgan was coaching me through it all to not lose it yet, the party isn’t over, and for that I will be forever thankful then it really hit me that I just met my idol, my hero Bette Midler!! And Morgan leads me into the tent we kept saying omg we just met Bette.

My mom was waiting by the door and she pokes me and says look there’s Sophie I turned, she was right next to me and so my mom asked her if I could have a quick picture with her, she said “Oh sure!” And my mom took our picture.

(Sophie and Rissa)

Then Leanne popped up right next to me and asked me if I knew where her table was (she was with everyone else) I told her it was over by the corner and she left. I went the opposite direction to my table. So we sat down at our table and I looked around to figure out where everyone was, they were on the other side of the tent. We were sitting at a press table which was kind of cool.

We ate our oh so fancy food and as we were eating Bette got up and gave a speech about NYRP and Nathan told Jokes and America recited a poem that Bette picked out after she confessed that when she was little she wanted to be Bette Midler then a really good guy got up to sing and he was amazing some people started dancing but then they started to serve desert so we all went back to our seats. After desert the tree auction started, Bette was so funny running around getting people to buy trees. Then Bette and Judy Gold who was helping to sell trees sang a song to get us to buy the $100 trees, and the song was set to the sound of music’s my favorite things. Then the sing-a-long started so I snuck over to the betteheads’ table during down by the river side, and hung out for a few minutes during moon river then Bette started singing Proud Mary and we all rushed up onto the dance floor to join Bette singing and dancing I ended up being about 4 feet away from her while her bodyguards looked at us like murderers, which is total crap because I would take a bullet for Bette and it wouldn’t be because it’s my job.

Once the song was over I said my goodbyes to everyone because my mom wanted to leave, she thought it was over, little did we know, Bette took pictures with everyone, and to find out the details you will have to ask anyone else who was there. I had such an amazing time, my mom already said we are definitely going next year!! I’m so excited to see everyone again, and Mr. D you better be there!!!

Marissa P.

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11 thoughts on “Rissa Roo’s Spring Picnic Spectacular Or How I Finally Met Bette

  1. You are such a sweet young lady:). Thank you so much for sharing. Looking forward to meet you and all the other BetteHeads next year:)! with Mr. D:) of course:)!

  2. The only thing better than Bette herself is her fanbase. I feel like I know so many of you already, and reading these stories from the NYRP events and Vegas SMUG meet-and-greets just fills my heart to overflowing.

    I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Donna a few years back when she and I were part of the A&E Biography promotional blitz, and I can’t even begin to tell you all what a sweet soul she is. (I caught her at one of my shows thereafter and never got a chance to properly thank her for coming, so if you’re reading this Donna, THANK YOU and GOD BLESS!)

    Bette’s legacy is proving to be less about her artistic achievements nowadays, and more about her place within the world as a champion for ecological balance. (Sophie is proving to be a legacy as well.) But above all of this are the friendships that we, her fans, are making with each shindig and fundraiser she throws. It’s such an esteemed pleasure to watch all of you beautiful (and let’s face it: we are REALLY an attractive bunch!) people gravitate to one another. Not only do Bette’s fans show such kindness and warmth to one another, but you all have managed to form such a FAMILY. Most celebs are happy to have a “community” of fans, but we are an honest-to-goodness FAMILY! Ah! It’s just too much for this sissy to wrangle her noodle around.

    I feel honored to be a part of such a kind and gentle family, and I thank love and light for the Divine Mister D. for bringing us all together. Seriously, where would this family be without Don Bradshaw?

    I am so looking forward to meeting as many of you as can come to Hulaween this year! Let’s see what we can do to wrangle a table together! I’ll pull some strings and sleep with a Board member or two if that’ll help. (Even if it won’t, rent’s still due!)

    I love you all and wish you the happiest of summers! Keep these fabulous stories coming in so that I may live vicariously through you for a few months more!

    And thank you all for making my life a better place because you are a part of it. I really do mean that.


    The Divine Grace

  3. As Riss’s best friend, I’ve heard this story about 10,000 times… at least. but still, it’s cool that it can be shared with more betteheads… maybe then she won’t tell me so much 🙂 love ya riss!

  4. First of all Kels you know I’ll never shut up about may 17th and Divine Grace you said it all you are so right I when I met all the betteheads in person it felt like I allready knee than we were automatically hugging and acting like we’ve known each other for years it was so great! I seriously have 2families my technical family and the betteheads, Bette is so lucky to have us all paying her bills if I do say so myself 🙂 thank you all for reading my story I feel like a blb celebrity <3 Marissa (rissa)

  5. Marissa, Thank You Girl For Sharing Your Wonderful Story, Thanks for Mentioning me in it to lol, still can’t believe bette remembered me, i will always remember everything she said to me the 3 times i met her that night And Thank You Mr.d For putting It Up On blb, love ya both 🙂

  6. Marissa, thank you very much for your story of what Bette lived next to this wonderful day! They are special moments that are sure not going to forget! Your photos are very beautiful congratulations to your parents go with that beautiful!
    Many hugs from Argentina!

  7. aww thankyou barbyss you are so sweet and omg Argentina! correct me if im wrong but wasn’t Bette’s husband Martin raised in Argentina at one point?

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