Mary Fontelieu's father rounds up the stars
When Kennedy Institute fund-raisers wanted to add panache to their annual Festival of Trees event, they turned to Mary M. Fontelieu.
And she called up dear old dad.
With the help of her father, ABC sportscaster Jim McKay, Ms. Fontelieu has amassed an impressive collection of miniature trees designed by celebrities including Ali MacGraw, Arnold Palmer and Dinah Shore. They'll be for sale when the Kennedy Institute transforms Festival Hall into a holiday village Dec. 8-15.
While the endeavor taught her about the generosity of celebrities, the Towson counselor also discovered something about herself. "I learned I have a lot more tenacity and guts than I thought I did. . . . I think I got that from my mother [Margaret McManus]. But the toughest part was being OK with the people who said no," says Ms. Fontelieu, 38, who lives in North Baltimore with her husband and 10-year-old son.
But the one person she knew she could always count on was her father, who happened to be the very first celebrity she asked.
SG "I figured if he said no I wasn't doing it," she says with a laugh. After driving a taxi for nearly 25 years, Thaddeus Logan has arrived at one conclusion: "Baltimoreans need to become tourists in their own town."
To that end, he's created "Baltimore: A Convention City," a 15-minute video highlighting more than 200 sites that make up Charm City.
"As a cab driver, you are an ambassador of good will," says Mr. Logan, 47, who lives in Original Northwood. "I feel I'm on a mission to show people what I know of the city."
Having worked as a postal clerk, city policeman and cab driver has indeed given the father of two an unusual perspective on life in Baltimore.
"I have dealt with the extreme haves and the extreme have nots," he says.
The $24.95 video, which features such landmarks as Little Italy and Fells Point, took four years and $8,000 to complete. Seeing it today in stores including Greetings & Readings and Gordon's Booksellers has made the effort worthwhile, he says.
This, however, isn't the first time his career has unleashed his creativity. In 1984 he chronicled his professional adventures in the self-published book, "Hey Cabbie."
And to hear Mr. Logan talk, it may not be the last.
"I guess I'm a dreamer," he says, "but I think a video could be done for every city."