jump to navigation

Still #metoo. Yet I Did Wise Up October 27, 2017

Posted by voolavex in common sense, Harvey Weinstein, sex, Social Issues, solutions.
Tags: , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

 (Please note – these men are all deceased and no names are mentioned)

Back in the halcyon days of Hollywood – when connections could open doors and a pretty girl went out to become a star, I did too. Not a starlet.  A star.  I was a lazy model, a wife, a mother and a dreamer who frequently thought – “I could do that”.  So in the guise of going to Hollywood to check on a house, we held a second on – up in the Bird Streets, I took my daughter and myself and flew to Hollywood for a week. Due to NYC connections of my then spouse, I had entrez to every studio in town – no waiting, valet parking, generosity of time. courtesy and no casting couch.  Stayed with a friend who was the most unhelpful director born.  Couldn’t, wouldn’t, didn’t even say no.  Just didn’t. No help at all.  His best moment was driving by Kirk Douglas’ house and saying casually “Oh, Kirk’s finally getting his driveway fixed”.  With that gem, I quickly found a hotel and rented a car.  I did check on the house stilted high above the fault lines with an excellent view of the city as it was then.  (It was on Warbler Way if you are wondering). Before that pivotal moment, however – the day before, I mentioned the name of a well-known studio exec who had a reputation for many things.  Elegance, erudition and expecting favors for his time and a possible bit part.  I was pleased about it until my friend shakes his head like a yenta and say “Oh, we were roommates when we first came to Los Angeles from NYC,  you’re not seeing him I hope?” And  I replied I did have his number as a person to call and then I was treated to the entire, blow by blow activities of this power broker and it was pretty graphic, but no big surprise.  I assured him that was not gonna happen and he mentioned it more than once and I ignored him. It turned out I did call this bigwig of Hollywood who nonchalantly invited me to his house above Sunset Strip for drinks the next evening and I went!!!!   Young, but not eggshell young.   I made a simple speech in my head to deliver that involved candor, name-dropping and explaining what I knew and what I had no intention of doing. (And frankly by that time – I was disgusted with the entire town, the “Industry”, whether or not I could act (I couldn’t) and I was about to get outta Dodge the next day. And so I went.

Up Sunset Plaza in my little rented Pinto (yup – Pinto)  And up some more and found the house, where I carefully backed into the driveway, put my keys under the seat and went to the door.   (Right now you think I was insanely stupid, driven by my “friend’s” paternalistic warnings; more like stubborn and over the movie star thing entirely.) I  rang the buzzer; the door opened and there he was in his silk jammies and robe!!!!  I swear to God.  DId I run.  Nooooo.  I walked past him, looked him in the eye and said very pleasantly, how do and I have heard all about your casting couch activities and I am not impressed or interested.  Everyone I know in this town (drop, drop, drop) knows where I am and (names, dropped, dropped, dropped) and stopped. He said nothing except to ask me what I would like to drink and I asked for a soda.  Long silence.  But he got one for me and then patted the couch like they like to do (still) and I laughed and all of a sudden,  as I sat in a chair, I knew he had gotten it and it had worked. We moved to the kitchen and he made ice cream sundaes and he was indeed erudite and well-educated and we laughed a lot.  He told me “it was a shame I was so pretty because what I was, was funny, but no one laughed at a comic who was a pretty girl.  I hesitated to mention Carole Landis, Judy Holliday or Myrna Loy.  Thanked for the ice cream and drove away to my little hotel room laughing like a maniac.  It was in fact, the best part of my week of getting famous (and lucky).Long before fat (yes because he is,) slobbering Harvey got busted for the myriad list of offenses he is accused of and likely did.

I am still a #metoo from more naive days,  But not that time.  Probably why I recall it so clearly and why I was proud of myself.  And why I still laugh and wish I had been able to give a course there and then it to the other #metoos.  Maybe back then on Kirk’s fixed driveway. (more…)

Advertisements

Senior? Elder? AARP? Me? June 4, 2017

Posted by voolavex in common sense, marriage, Random thoughts, Social Issues.
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

I grew up in the Baby Boomer years that began in 1945/46, I went through the usual “phases” that parents like to excuse or accuse their children of entering and leaving.  I never lived anywhere long enough to actually develop phases that are memorable now.  Food oddities that came and went and too many schools and angst and I suspect it was basically just getting to being “of age” and then it simply moved forward from there.  Once I achieved “of age”, I didn’t give it much thought until recently.  Now I realize that I never got the directions on how to be “a certain age” nor the final pamphlet that covered “age”.  I am neither crochety nor am I enfeebled.  My hair is a good combination of white and mostly dark brown, I am tall and still at a fine weight for my frame.  No tweaks,  no shots, no lifts – living in the heart of Hollywood can put a smart and still looking good person in morbid fear of the “better face”.  It is not better and here you see the sad results of just why it’s not really great idea. I do have crepey skin.  Lack of exercise, DNA or too many parties of yore.  Leggings, tights and long sleeves  are all useful for this condition.  I suspect I am getting a bit of arthritis – and it runs in both sides of family and I waited for years to join the clan.  A few twinges but nothing that makes me groan or complain.  When asked about my age I am usually thrilled with the reaction, as much as I  am startled myself when I think about it.  I have two adult children and several important friends.

I was raised as a little kid by the “aunts” and my grandmother.  When I sat down recently and realized how old they were when I was born,  these role models may have brought me to where I am right now.  These were old ladies.  Two widows and a “maiden” aunt.  And their embrace of being elderly was  epic.  Steel gray hair, blue rinsed hair and touched up hair.  Housedresses – the real deal.   Corsets.  Salmony pink lace-up, hook- up and lift-up boned custom made corsets.  And yes I knew how to lace them from any early age.  Huge undies, garters, hair nets – from the dime store to contain their always permed hair.  Always.  My grandmother was the youngest of the three and she was a tad more casual but it was not a visible tad for me. Two of them wore a little lipstick and a bit of rouge – but only on occasions.  One never did.  Stocking – one wore lisle and the other two wore daytime deniers (January was when they bought them) and each one had a secret place to hide their break luck money.  The most memorable was the”budge” neatly folded bills tucked  between ample bosoms and the bank, a garter pouch of fine suede where the real money was carried.  The other two had change purses or wallets.  And they all lived to old age – two past 95.

I realized early on what I had no intention of becoming.  I might have become many things but an old lady was not one of them.  So as I sit and realize that I do in fact qualify for that term, I have no idea what I am supposed to be.  Not a clue.  I curse like a sailor, pass comment on everyone and everything, speak my mind (that can be excruciating too) and still want to know more and more about more and more.

I am vain.  I improve the landscape with cosmetics and despair of my difficult hair – but I hate to go to the hairdresser.   I wear what I have always worn – and it still keeps me au courant  style no matter what the courant of the moment is. I cannot wear stilettos. It breaks my heart. And because I am not a French woman I fail at scarves.  I must have 100+.  Lots of good jewelry I seldom wear – but no bling.  Shoes and bags need to be leather, fabric has to be grown fiber and I realize it hasn’t ever been otherwise.

So here I am, entering a phase; dazed and annoyed at things like AARP. Especially AARP.  I hate AARP.  I hate their condescending advice and presumptuous codified ads that scream “YOU ARE OLD”.  We have a wildly unruly source of information now called the Internet – so I do know how to find glasses and Depends and ear trumpets and  canes and I’ve fallen buttons. I also have a full-time husband. I hate senior communities.  I hate oldster casino trips.  Dances for the Decrepit. (or Senior Mixers as they call them or did). I do like Bingo – but not enough to seek it out.

I suspect because I have no grandchildren I can still buy myself toys and play alone.  I can frolic as others have babies and grand babies and buy memorable gifts and get photos in return.  Is it the life I imagined for myself?  The one where I didn’t get old and feeble.  Not really, but since I have no idea how to prepare for it (just as I didn’t know how to prepare for marriage, pregnancy, toothaches or nearsightedness).  I suspect I will figure it out.  But not today.

 

 

My Mother’s Birthday April 26, 1923 -1978 April 26, 2017

Posted by voolavex in birthday, mother, serial monster, funeral, life baggage, loss, dead, death certificate, despicable, Domestic Violence, guilt, Mann & Mann, marriage, murder, My Mother, serial monster, Social Issues.
Tags: , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

Back in the days when domestic disputes were shameful and unreported, my mother was the dead body in a domestic murder.

In a small blue-collar town in Massachusetts. On January 24, 1978.  It was a long time ago and it was a moment ago.  It was the tragic finale to many phone calls and plane ticket reservations and telephone commiseration for a mother who simply couldn’t.  She fought back, she screamed, she saw a doctor, she drank, but she could not leave with my two much younger siblings, or the pony or the house or the lingering affection she carried for a man who was a serial monster.  Bigamist, philanderer, narcissist, sociopath and murderer.  One sib says many calls of service were made to the local police – their hands tied by 1977/1978 concepts and legalities.  Another sib tells of death threats  made to them on the night of my mother death.  I did not know anything about this part.  I only knew my mother wrote and cried and simply said “he” had a girlfriend and she was confused and didn’t know what to do.  At 54 she was probably menopausal. Not much to go on.  She didn’t want to move out with the children or leave the pets and the laundry list of excuses women have conjured for time immemorial.  I was in Los Angeles and not welcome in her house. (Actually on February 10, 1958 I was no longer welcome in her life.  At 12, I thought it was because he really loved her.)  I blame myself for not listening harder and asking more questions.  And I had no idea that physical violence was part of the picture.  Neither of my siblings (19+ and 15) called me to ask for help. My mother had pride that went before all else.  Including her funeral.

Her death certificate from that time reads  COD: undetermined.  A residual fear stops me from requesting a new one.  She will still be dead.

She was only 54. Today is her 95th birthday. May I say she was beautiful and gentle and kind? May I say by the time I arrived at her house, anything of sentimental value that had belonged to her was gone?  That her grieving husband knew I knew and it was not pleasant?  That I swallowed my rage, stepped back and stayed for the children ( I am my mother’s daughter)? That I drank and sobbed and that the tables overflowed with funeral meats and that 200+ attended her funeral in Boston? That mourners continued;  people I never knew, arrived in tears? That it was the same funeral home by her high school best friend’s parents? Mann & Mann. That I had played as small child in their huge house upstairs? That my family went back as close friends of the Manns? That the grieving husband read a sickening tribute?. And that my own father wept with me in stunned sorrow?

In 1978,  it was simply another domestic dispute. Perhaps still in the local police records – on paper in a box; with so many others of the time.  

There was no investigation.  I knew of no interviews with siblings. That police never asked me anything.  My grandmother thought it was a heart attack.  She had just lost her only child.  Was it mine to reveal?  Information continued to seep through and very long after  I found out the history of the man she had married in 1958.  From his children; who loved my mother.  I should have wondered more about the words of my dear step-brother who walked in, in 1978,  crying, and said to me, sotto voce, “what did he do to her?”

 I have always known it was murder.  I have always known he patiently waited.  I knew she did not wash down 40 or 50 pills with vodka.  She didn’t ever take Darvon and that’s what they found. I know he sat beside her and watched. I have no idea how he managed to make it happen.  He died five years later; alone  in a rented apartment in Lawrence; the other woman long gone.  He was soup when they found him.  Dead five days of a heart attack in a fall from the up high liquor shelf. One he needed a step stool to reach.  In a closed apartment on a sweltering summer day.

 

He was short and bald and had good teeth.

I could kill him again and again for his crime but she would not have wanted that.  And dead never ends. They would have been married twenty years on that February 10th.

She has been gone 39 years. Since the day my  broken heart and endless anger met all at once.  And no one of us leftover has ever been able to move on.  We try to unpack that valise, only to realize that some things travel with you forever,  in your life luggage.

Appreciation and Depreciation April 8, 2014

Posted by voolavex in common sense, freedom, Random thoughts, Social Issues.
Tags: , , , , ,
add a comment

In a blinding epiphany last night, I realized that I am beginning to appreciate my life Accomplishments are not appreciation.  Accomplishments are simply the things you have done and they have a positive aura – but even robbing a bank can be a sort of accomplishment.  It is not so much the “aha” moments – but the number of them that snowball down the side of our individual middens as we careen through the years. And we do careen – I can’t walk a straight line in bare feet anymore.  Sad.  True.

In my case it was like suddenly understanding string theory or hearing the music of the spheres or realizing that all the crap I think is crap IS crap.  I no longer ask why we cling to our 2nd Amendment rights, nor shoot each other or serial kill each other – that’s what we watch on the screen.  Big, little, on demand, anytime – click and kill.  There’s an app for it.  But I now appreciate that this is what is happening and I can see it and despair or see it and know I will not change my direction due to it. For example; I do not own a gun.  The reason is simple.  Fear that I will use it.  Most people don’t actually think of this when they shy away from the gun issue.  They are afraid it will get into the wrong hands, they hate guns,  it won’t make a difference in the long haul.  Not me.  I am simply afraid I will not be afraid, I will be the wrong hands and I will use it.  My feeling is that to own a gun you must be willing to use it.  My fear is that I would.  So no gun.  But it is the appreciation of that knowledge that anchors me and lets me out of the whole argument.  Guns may not kill people, but people with guns do.  I am grateful I am not a bigot.  I like being a Jew.  I do not trust Putin. I know I am being watched. I treasure the right to vote and still get a frisson of joy when I do it. I do not miss having grandchildren (from my own kids).

As I really begin to appreciate these small things, other smaller ones follow.  I hate to go to movies.  Very simple.  I do not like to go. And I get so many arguments (not offers) and find myself using hackneyed phrases like “it’s not my cup of tea” – and this works because everyone knows what a cup of tea is.    I have no desire to own property. I have by and large always been a cliff dweller (as my mother would say) and I like apartment living. It’s not for everyone, but it is for me.  And all this appreciation is not always positive.  I realize that I was a very terrible mother – something two other adults know too.  And in the fullness of knowing comes the reality there is nothing I can do to go back and do better. Even though I know better.  But I do know it and I can say it and I know why it is true.  I don’t want to have a dog.  I do like the way many dogs look, but they are not an animal that lures me. For some this is character flaw – but it’s just what I know.As I know I like red meat. And these shocks of wisdom – as I personally depreciate and time becomes more scarce also allow me to let stuff go.  Like movie theaters, mortgages and dusting.  They allow me to read India (my preferred subject matter), mystery novels, genetics, Jewish history, and anything else whose title sounds alluring.   Because I appreciate that time does flow like a river and we all sink at some point as we float.

Is there a message in all this – kinda.  If you can feel the shocks of appreciation, wait for even more. You will get them and for the fortunate ones who do, they will lighten it up as you drift – the buoyancy will astonish you as it does me and you may even appreciate that our demographic may be the last who can do this and probably because there is no app for it.