In 1992, I went to James Dean’s grave and the museum in Fairmount, IN. My BFF and I stopped at the museum first, and looked all around at all of the James Dean stuff they had there, which was basically everything the man ever touched in his way-too-short life. Report cards, clothes, his “Rebel Without A Cause” red jacket, a piece of the Porsche he died in…like, EVERYTHING. We went into the gift shop and asked the kind old lady working there how to get to the cemetery. We chatted for a while, and it came out that she was some relative of his, like a great aunt or something. She looked at me and my friend, with our bleached-out punk chick hair and our funky attire, and she said these amazing 6 words to us:
“Jimmy would have loved your individuality.”
I. DIE. I may have been the greatest compliment I have ever gotten, before or since. I was 19 and had a ton of insecurity, so the mere thought that JAMES DEAN might have thought I was cool was just TOO MUCH. I have photos of the whole event, but I can’t find them. I left lipstick kisses on his grave. My mom was super-jealous.