I currently write a column each Tuesday for the DeKalb
Daily Chronicle. The column will also appear on this website
each week and be added to the archives.
The Articles started December 2007.
If you've missed any please follow the links on the dates
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Local women enjoy parting
from Oprah show
By Barry Schrader.................................December
Four lucky women from DeKalb and Sycamore hit the jackpot
when they managed to get tickets for an Oprah TV show being taped
before Thanksgiving, not knowing they would be a part of Oprahs
Ultimate Favorite Things 2010 near the end of her final season.
As Sarah Vander Bleek of DeKalb tells it, she has
been a longtime fan of Oprah, watching the show for the past
10 years. Since it is Oprahs last season, Vander Bleek
decided to try to get tickets online.
asked for an essay on why she is Oprahs ultimate fan, so
she quickly wrote and submitted it. Meanwhile, in another part
of town, Patti Pearson was doing the same thing. The two never
had met before.
Both women were notified they
would be given tickets for the Nov. 16 taping for a show to be
aired Nov. 22. They were each permitted to bring a guest. Sarah
chose her childhood friend from
Sarah Vander Bleek (left) and her lifelong friend, Sarah Lindell,
are shown in the Loop in Chicago on Nov. 16 before a taping of
"The Oprah Winfrey Show." (Provided photo)
her Malta grade school days, Sarah Lindell of Sycamore. The two
rode the train from Elburn into the Loop together to reach Harpo
Studios the day of the taping.
took her daughter, also named Sarah, along for the show. Sarah
is working on her masters degree at Northern Illinois University
and recently moved to Schaumburg. Patti, also a devoted Oprah
fan, had attended a show back in 1993, but this was just her
second time there.
The excitement mounted when
they saw audience members from an earlier taping the same day
leaving with large shopping bags full of goodies, but no one
would tell them anything about what had happened. Then they filed
into the studio and had to wait a couple of hours for the next
taping. The room was abuzz with rumors of whether this might
be the big gift giving show. Everyone had gone through a security
screening so no cameras or cell phones were allowed inside.
They were rewarded with the answer when Oprah came
out dressed in her holiday finery, and the stage was decorated
One cannot imagine the screams
of nearly 300 women and a few men when they found out this was
the BIG show everyone always talks about. I wonder if they knew
Sarah Vander Bleek was a cardiac nurse at Delnor Hospital and
would be handy in case anyone suffered a cardiac event
on the spot?!
Guest stars Johnny Mathis and Josh
Groban were on stage to sing some Christmas songs, then Oprah
began rolling out the gifts that every audience member received.
Topping it all off was a 2012 Volkswagen Beetle that is totally
redesigned and not even in showrooms until May. Sarah Vander
Bleek chose a red VW while her friend Sarah chose silver. Patti
also picked the color red while her daughter plans to trade her
car for a more roomy model.
The gifts just kept
flowing and included such luxuries as an iPad, diamond earrings,
fancy purses, cashmere sweaters and boots, a set of pots and
pans, and even a $1,000 gift certificate from Nordstrom. Many
items were given as vouchers so people could go online and select
their color and size preferences at home. All totaled, the gifts
were nearly $30,000 in value.
Sarah Vander Bleek
quipped that I just dont need a thing now for Christmas,
no doubt much to the relief of her husband, Paul, who manages
the local Applebees.
The pairs of women
had never met until boarding the Metra train back to Elburn when
they spotted each others bulging gift bags from the show.
I can imagine that gave them lots to talk about all the way home.
Another coincidence: Patti also found out that she knows Sarah
Vander Bleeks husband, Paul, through Stage Coach Players
involvement, and so again I can repeat what a small world.
The columnist can be reached via email at :
or by snailmail at:
PO Box 851
DeKalb, Ill 60115