by Tom Feran/Plain Dealer Reporter
Thursday December 04, 2008
Spending a winter night in Cleveland doesn’t usually sound like a prize. But for one Pennsylvania couple, it’s going to feel like being in the movies.
Linda Campagna and husband Thomas Streib submitted the winning bid in a charity auction to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas morning in the West 11th Street house that was the setting for “A Christmas Story,” the classic movie that is marking its 25th anniversary.
Like young Ralphie Parker and his movie family, the couple and two of their daughters will eat a “Chinese turkey” dinner of Peking duck. They’ll unwrap gifts like a blue bowling ball and can of Simoniz, shoot BB guns in the back yard and have the chance to try on a pink bunny suit.
Just like the one Ralphie was forced to wear.
” ‘You look like a pink nightmare’ is the phrase from the movie I think I use most,” Campagna said. “We’ll try and relive the whole movie. We’ll take tons of pictures.”
No one besides owner Brian Jones and a few friends has ever stayed in the house since he bought and renovated it, and no one ever at Christmas. Campagna and Streib got their chance to relive the movie by bidding $5,250 on eBay Giving Works, the charity listings site, to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project that helps veterans.
“It meant a lot to us,” Campagna said, because she and her husband are both former Army sergeants. “We went higher than we would have gone otherwise.”
They live in Stewartstown, Pa., work for Boeing in neighboring Maryland, and are — of course — longtime fans of “A Christmas Story.”
Until hearing about the auction on the radio, however, “we didn’t even realize there was a real house,” Campagna said. “My husband called and said, ‘Quick, go to eBay!’ ”
They topped 15 bidders to earn their first trip to Cleveland.
They will be flown from Baltimore to Cleveland as part of the package.
“When the whole thing is over,” Campagna said, “we’re hoping we’ll have time to see the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.”