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#11 BEACH MUSIC: A time of tans, blonds and hot pants

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IT WAS A TIME OF TANS, BLONDS AND HOT PANTS, WHEN THE ENDLESS SUMMER WAS JUST A SHORT WALK DOWN A HOT SIDEWALK
Beach Music, an On the Street Where I Livestories is really a tale of two cities; San Juan, Puerto Rico and Santa Monica, California. It was originally published in the LA Times Sunday Magazine.


Beach Music We came to California from Canada, with a detour to Puerto Rico that lasted one endless summer of a year. A year in which I turned 15, and my hair turned blond from living in the sun. “Psst,” the boys and men would call after me in the blue-cobbled streets of San Juan. “Psst! Hey, blondie. Psst! Hey, cutie pie.” I was devastated when my parents said we had to go, that it was time to leave the island so that my older brother, Russell, could get a first rate education. The plan was to drive cross country from Miami and settle in San Francisco so that my brother could finish high school before going on to UC Berkeley. But, once we got there in the fall of 1968, we found that …

You say it's your birthday? It's my birthday too, yeah.


It's Carey Mulligan's birthday today; she's twenty nine years old. It's mine too. I'm, well, I'm older.
I wish I'd known we shared the same May 28th birthday when I met her at the wrap party for Drive, we might have bonded.

Twenty nine. It can be a tough year. The big 3—0 is approaching, fraught with expectations. It was a bit of a tough year for me but that was back in the day when being unmarried at twenty-nine was still a bit of a bummer. I can't imagine Carey with all her success, gives a damn. Still when I was working as a copywriter at Max Factor, while I loved my job coming up with lipstick shade names, writing package copy and sales brochures, there were still times when I wept over my love life.

It was 1982 and the company was in the midst of launching the Le Jardin fragrance. I was in the middle of a bad romance, and even though An Officer and a Gentleman didn't come out until August of '82, part of me had to be wishing Richard Gere would come into my workplace, sweep me up in his arms and carry me away. That didn't happen and I muddled along, making all the wrong choices*, staying with the wrong man, throwing my career away.

I've been working on a script about that bad romance, that seven year long relationship that ultimately floundered, but right now that's floundered too. It's marinating in my desk drawer.


In the meantime, Photographic Memory is a look back at some of my Max Factor days. 

* Carey's character, Bathsheba Everdene knows a bit about making bad choices having made a couple of her own in Far From the Madding Crowd. I've made my feelings about the movie known on my book to movie site, Chapter1-Take1.

PS  Were you curious? Did you do the math? If I was 29 in 1982 how old am I today? Did you say 62? Gold stars for you, baby! Turning 60 was horrible, I felt so very, very old. It's two years later and I'm younger than that now. I haven't changed anything, I didn't run out and get a face lift but my inner self has come to a place of acceptance, so that at 62 I feel reenergized and revitalized, ready for what's next. Like that ridiculous woman on the commercial who spouts "I'm only in my 60's, I've got a good long life ahead".  But how long? I need to know so I can make smart decisions about important questions like should I take early social security? Oh GOD! Has it really come to this? Yes, Sim, I guess it has!




Comments

  1. Happy Birthday! I had a birthday this month, so I've been pondering these things, too. Nothing was worse for me than turning 30, so far. Every decade after that was an improvement!

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    Replies
    1. I completely agree until I turned 60 a couple of years ago; that hit me pretty hard. I'm much better now; this birthday was a joy.

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