What it can cost to be a star!

Jun 10, 2016

What it can cost to be a star!


Flash of Silver…the leap that changed my world
Question #26
Rite of Passage Nine –A Shoal of Two–
(1955 – 1957) Age: 21-23

Q: “Giving up” for someone else: Have you ever asked someone to give up his or her future in order to be with you? Did you ever ‘give up’ your plans for another…how did it turn out?

ITreena_Kerr was awkward and embarrassed. I had never had to ask someone to make such a choice. I needed to have Treena choose between marrying me and the chance to be a Star in theater and film. She had proven the latter ability with her weekly repertoire performances with the Denville Players in the Channel Islands where she had also won the first Miss Jersey Battle of the Flowers. She had gone on to have a screen test with J. Arthur Rank the British film production company.

She was young, talented and generally regarded as beautiful. It was this combination that scared me. If she did, somehow succeed in her theatrical career, where would that leave me? How could I survive in her shadow…would my love for her be drowned out by the roar of the adoring crowds?

And so I asked her, in painfully halting words, if she would give it all up so that our marriage might survive.

She looked me right in the eye…and said…”Yes”.

Such is first love but what about the long haul and also, was my request either just, wise or even fair based, as it was, on my ongoing fear of failure…was this another race I imagined that I could lose?

Her brilliance and talent did emerge and shine brightly from time to time only to leave her (and me) wondering what might have happened had she not chosen me?

And so…what about now?

Treena’s poem and the title of her book of poems, ‘Substance in Shadow’ says it all. What I had imagined came to pass, in reverse! With her theatrical ability she produced me and made me into something like a star that attracted the limelight of public attention that always casts a shadow over those close by.

Treena endured that shadow –only to emerge from time to time to spread her glorious wings. She did regret the loss and I did my very best to include her and recognize her in whatever I did because I had asked her to give it up. I was the root cause of her regret.

There remained until even her last day…the essential ‘star’ quality. Her audience on that day were nurses, doctors, family, friends, janitorial staff, and those whoever came near to witness her incredible encore when she had awoken after three days on a respirator –yanked the tube from her mouth and in no time was delighting everyone with her love of life and her delight in us all.

We laughed, we cried with joy at her unexpected return and when all the love was declared and all the hope restored she made her final bow and quietly left the stage.

She was a star and our marriage of almost 60 years survived. I’m a very grateful man to have had the close company of such an extraordinary woman.

P.S This week I read Treena’s poem Substance in Shadow



  1. Jean N. Sozio Says: 11:25 pm

    Yes – The moment he asked me to marry him I immediately threw out any plans I had for myself and my future – with no regrets – he was all the future I hoped for – all the future I wanted. Then came a second time when pursuing my hobby as a singer increasingly put him in the position of “substance in shadow” which began to emasculate him and which began a fraying of our marriage partnership. It wasn’t worth it and I again, with no regrets, gave up my “hobby” for my husband’s peace. “It is not good for man to be alone” says the Bible and it is not good for a wife whose man is alone – bad things can happen that shouldn’t. I love having him be in control – leading the way – taking on responsibility. When he feels strong he is more secure and more loving making me feel more cherished and secure. I’m not saying women shouldn’t have personal pursuits. He loved seeing me be successful in business and always encouraged me to excel. It is teamwork, communication, and respect that keeps our marriage flourishing – not one overpowering or over shadowing the other. We rejoice in each other’s successes.

  2. Sally Andrews Says: 12:59 pm

    What a beautiful and touching tribute and one that inspires me to forge on in my marriage of uncertainty. I long to produce for my husband to reach his goals, while still fulfilling my desire to make a difference in this world. It’s an ongoing struggle, but one which you inspire hard work and dedication.
    Love you and so loved your Treena!

  3. Joe Whiting Says: 8:01 pm

    You are quite a guy Graham and Treena was quite a gal ! When I was first turned on to your cooking shows in the early 90’s I noticed how important Treena was and how you always mentioned her and gave her credit. I see how important she was to your success and how inspirational she is to you now. Keep up the good work.

  4. Lynn Severance Says: 3:16 pm

    I have never had the experience of asking someone to give up his future in order to be with me. I have had dreams, which could be defined loosely as “my plans” that had I marched into “making them happen” would have compromised my relationship with God. How grateful I am for His STOP signs and guidance in making decisions. He never fails and has brought good out of my stumbles.

    In hindsight, any of us can look back and see decisions made that shaped our lives. Graham and Treena’s early choice eventually shaped a career, a marriage, and a life with all its twists and turns. Gratefulness now shows those choices were taken and choreographed by God – a view we each could benefit having as we look at our own lives and choices.

  5. Karl Says: 10:49 am

    Dear Graham this story warms the heart and I know that you know how blessed you have been with Treena.
    For me it didn’t work out quite the same.
    I did give up my home country,my family a good position because my wife just couldn’t find happiness there.I had hoped that bringing her back after years of homesickness things would get better.
    Career wise it was good for me but her unhappiness continues to this day.
    There are many reasons not all her fault.
    In the end God is the one I keep coming back to and I realize that He alone can bring peace

  6. Kerryn Says: 10:46 am

    Wow! What a testimony of love in your marriage, bowing out to allow the other to shine! What a beautiful gift!
    My husband was a performer for 20 years, as a clown character in a duo with his best mate. Together they performed allegories from Scripture in schools, churches & conferences here in Australia & in other countries too. I’m quite happy for him to be in the limelight & for me to stay in the shadows, but it was also tough with him away from me & the children for a couple of weeks at a time. Our most treasured memories, as a family, are being on the road touring together with their clowning ministry. Though we often heard from the back seat “are we there yet?”
    Neither of us gave up our “futures” to be with each other. I did decide to leave my teaching career to raise our children, but I simply saw that as transferring my teaching skills from the classroom to the home!
    I’m thankful that we’ve always made our decisions together after discussion & prayer. It’s been a life full of adventures & hilarity!! Long may that continue!
    I pray for God’s comfort for you now that Treena’s shining light has moved from earth to heaven. God bless you Graham & thank you for your gift of writing.

  7. Bob Hosmer Says: 9:11 am

    Graham, that was so powerful and a tremendous tribute to your wife.

    I’m so glad I had the opportunity to meet her.

    Bob Hosmer

  8. Kathy Bartley Says: 5:27 am

    She was a great woman and even in the days of The Galloping Gourmet, I remember her presence and knowing you and she were a team. I feel like, witnessing your partnership, even at my young age at the time put the hope in my heart for the future. You see, about the time I discovered your show my parents were divorcing and I was experiencing abuse. I would escape into your cooking show and your always bringing Ms Treena into our consciousness showed me there is hope for marriage as well. Thank you. I think I’m gabbling now.

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