17 Again…

May 17, 2009

osmondefron“I have to see ’17 Again’ Mom,” my daughter Riley said to me.  “Zac Efron’s in it!”  she persisted.  “He’s so CUTE!”   She’s right.  He IS cute.  And talented.  And he seems to be a nice young man–the Donny Osmond of her generation which is why I understand this crush so completely.  

I was 8 years old when I bought my first “Tiger Beat” magazine with Donny Osmond on the cover.  His shaggy hair, his beautiful teeth, his wholesome Mormon values all making me feel completely mushy inside every time I’d THINK of him.   I devoured every fact I could about Donny, information which mainly came from magazines since Al Gore hadn’t invented the internet in 1973.    I saved my lunch money to buy his albums (both solo and with the Osmond Brothers), bought every magazine that had a photo of him, and faithfully watched the Donny & Marie Show every Friday night on TV.  The Osmond Brothers was my first concert; somehow my mom got tickets in the 15th row.  I wrote Donny a letter and folded it into a paper airplane, hoping it would reach the stage and that somehow, he would find it, we would meet and fall in love (I was 12, he was 19) and live happily ever after. 

Of course, it didn’t happen.  My paper airplane ended up on the floor in row 13.  But years later, I got a second chance with Donny.   I went with 3 of my girlfriends to see Donny in the lead role of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” at the Masonic Theater in Detroit.   Sitting in the balcony, the voice I heard singing from offstage was unmistakable:  Donny!  MY Donny!   From somewhere deep inside a volcano of emotion erupted:  my childhood, my first crush–all these years later still so fresh in my heart–brought tears to my eyes.   After the show, my friends and I went to the Stage Door to ask if we might meet him.  

“He doesn’t come down after the matinee, just after the evening show,” the receptionist said. 

“What if I wrote him a note, could you get it to him?” I asked.   She directed me to a burly, Mr. T looking guy who was apparently Donny’s bodyguard.   I explained we would like to meet Donny and he agreed to give him my note, with no guarantees that he would respond.   To this day, my girlfriends and I can all recite the words I wrote to Donny:  “Dear Donny, I know you must be exhausted after such an amazing performance, but we have traveled hundreds of miles (one girl flew in from Washington DC) and have waited years to meet you.  We are not crazy stalkers.  We are professional women trying to fulfill a childhood dream.   Sincerely, Chrys, LuAnn, Jan, and Deb.”

30 minutes later, “Mr. T” returned with a mean look on his face and said “You’ve got 5 minutes.  Follow me.”   Our hearts were pounding as we went up the stairs.  Moments later, Donny came out of his dressing room, freshly showered, wearing a blue terry bath robe and looking EXACTLY as I had imagined for all those years.    “Hello,”  he said with a hint of shyness, “I’m Donny.”   He was gracious, generous, sweet and kind.  Everything I’d always imagined.  He even gave us the “scoop” that he would be teaming up with his sister Marie for a television talk show in the fall.  It was a brief, but meaningful encounter that I will never forget.  One that made me feel “17 again.”



  1. we got this on donny.com forum!! you are now world famous love the blog!

  2. Wow … that’s an amazing story!! And it’s quite uncanny how much Donny Osmond and Zac Efron look alike in the pictures you posted. Maybe one day your daughter will follow in mom’s footsteps and share a similar experience.

  3. I loved him first!! And, anyone in the vicinity of the Toledo Museum of Art on your wedding day would have heard one of Donny’s greatest hits – “Go Away Little Girl” – sung in perfect key by the bridesmaids and the blushing bride in the dressing room. “17 Again and Forever.”

  4. Well, I was 12 when I bought my first Tiger Beat, and it was all about Donny. Posters of Donny were all over my bedroom. The picture you posted brought back so many memories. I even had a hat like that for many years…it may still be in a box saved with other memories. I had every album, earned with my money from babysitting and going Door-to-Door selling the “Grit” newspaper in Valdosta, Georgia. I still know the words to every song from all his solos. My mom will also tell you that my whole closet was “shades of purple”…of course, it was Donny’s favorite color.

    Thanks for your story Chrys. You just took me back to the days when life was simple…and love was all about Donny!

  5. I never thought of Zak as looking like Donny until now. Zak should feel so excited to be compared to Donny. Donny has had a very long career and he and Marie are still singing together. My 19 year old does not have posters of any celebs in her room , unless Winnie the Pooh counts. My oldest daughter was in love with Mickey Mouse and my son loves Spongebob. My kids are young adults but they are not normal. They did not fight while growing up and still don’t. They are best friends. Riley seems like a well adjusted girl with good taste. I love Donny and girls her age love Zak and The Jonas brothers.

  6. Great Blog Ms. Peterson! I enjoy following you on Twitter as well. Enjoy the summer – and thank you for bringing us the NEWS in NW Ohio.

  7. Awww, such a cute article. I so remember my Tiger Beat and 16 magazine crushes lol.

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