ESCONDIDO, Calif. — If you liked the music of Lawrence Welk, you may have liked the famous musician himself even more. In this Zevely Zone, I went to the Welk Resort in Escondido to meet the band leader's most loyal employee.
I met Adriene Edwards at a statue of Lawrence Welk on the resort property.
"I just come over to give him a hug to start my day," said Adriene who started working as Welk Resorts in 1964 as a waitress for $1 an hour.
Adriene never forgot the first time she met her famous boss.
"He was wonderful. What can I say? Humble and kind," she said.
The Lawrence Welk Show is known worldwide for it's "Champagne Music" and Lawrence Welk had a way of making everyone feel like they were the toast of the town.
"That was thrilling for me because I never thought that of me," said Adriene.
Adriene started working for Welk when she was 30 years old and still does at the age of 86.
"She cares, she is just that warm grandma that you want to come back and see," said Sean Coogan from Welk Resorts who said the staff not only appreciates Adriene they celebrate her.
"We have a barbeque, Adriene's BBQ, we also do Lawrence Welk history with Adriene and then we've even done Adriene bingo believe it or not," said Sean.
When Adriene started working at the Welk Resort in Escondido in 1964, it was a modest motel with four rooms and now Welk Resorts has properties in Palm Springs, Lake Tahoe, Branson, Breckenridge, Sante Fe and Cabo San Lucas. To honor Adriene's 55 years of service the entire staff surprised her by wearing her trademark horn-rimmed glasses.
During our interview, Adriene couldn't help but go say hello to some resort guests. She told them, "I've been working here since Lawrence bought the property 55 years ago."
Lawrence Welk died in 1992 at the age of 89. Although young people might not know who he was Adriene is still sharing his legacy.
"Oh my god, he was huge. Once he got going and he was on TV. He is still on the air, people still talk about him," said Adriene.