FAIRFIELD, Conn. — Willie DeWitt, a Fairfield University senior, went to a book signing by domestic doyenne Martha Stewart on Tuesday night because “I admire the more model figures of society and hers is a classic American story of hard work and passion.”
Well, that and he needed a Christmas gift for Mom.
DeWitt was among about 200 Stewart fans who lined up in the Fairfield University Bookstore for a chance — if ever-fleeting — to speak with their icon and get her to sign her new book, “Martha Stewart’s Appetizers” (Clarkson Potter, 2015).
Jen Simonetti of Shelton met Stewart in an airport about 20 years ago and was touched by her well-considered joie de vivre — from her daily beauty and fitness regimes to her philosophy of living the good life.
“More than her recipes, I like her lifestyle,” Simonetti said. “It’s very inspiring for me.”
Stewart, who got her start while living in Westport, didn’t disappoint. Unlike some celebrities, she willingly personalized autographs, sometimes signing a stack of future holiday presents for a customer. She also asked store employees to bring those with young children to the front of the line as she knows littles ones have a tough time waiting.
Micheka Felicam of Fairfield works in marketing and her brother is a New York City chef, so she appreciates Stewart’s abilities.
“I just came out to support someone like Martha,” Felicam said after taking a few selfies with the author. “It’s not easy being a woman in her business.”
Janice Ryan of Stratford stood in line with her daughter, Mary Smith of Fairfield, both clutching copies of Stewart’s new book. Ryan said she remembers buying a feather Christmas tree in Stewart’s former catalog decades ago.
“Its life is about done. I’ve been a fan that long,” she said. “I like her because she’s so precise about everything. If she says something, you can take it to the bank.”
Smith agreed. “She brings a lot of peace and beauty into people’s lives.”
DeWitt, a California resident, and his fellow seniors Michael Wallace of New Jersey and Tom Branca of Cross River, N.Y., finally snaked their way through the line to have their audience with the star.
Stewart looked up at them and asked where they were from.
“We live at the beach,” Wallace said.
“”You’re playboys, eh?” Stewart said, with a devilish grin.
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