In Times of Trouble, Let it Be

When I find myself in times of trouble Mother Mary comes to me

 Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.

Oh, I was in trouble all right.  “Grounded for life,” were the words my mother said.

And in my hour of darkness she is standing right in front of me

 Speaking words of wisdom, let it be

I had switched parks.  And friends.  The new ones were stoners and longhairs.  A wild bunch.   I planned on having the time of my life.  Experimenting.  Transforming.

Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be

 Whisper words of wisdom, let it be

(Click the play button in the middle to hear song)

The desire started earlier, during the school year.   I turned to the boy sitting next to me in Mr. Lombard’s English class and peppered him with questions about drugs.  I was about to suggest getting stoned together for my “first” time, when he offered to instruct me.  I wore a Catholic schoolgirl uniform the day Brian and I ditched Beverly Hills High (a first for me) and walked to his house.  There wasn’t a drug tutorial that day.   Instead, we made out in his semi-psychedelic bedroom.  There would be other firsts over the next few years in that room.  All sexual, but not the big one (all the way).

me with Brian

And when the broken hearted people living in the world agree

 There will be an answer, let it be

All the hippies and hippie wannabes started congregating in the park that ran along Santa Monica Blvd and North Beverly Drive.  I was morphing into a “hippie” too, and this new park called to me.  It was the Beverly Hills version of Haight-Ashbury’s Summer of Love.  Park Summer, we called that time.  It’s when I met my new best friend, Libbie (more here).

For though they may be parted, there is still a chance that they will see

There will be an answer, let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be let it be

 There will be an answer, let it be

I hated pot.  It made me nervous and paranoid.  Not my thing.  Billy the pusher man (someone our age, from our school) sold Seconal, AKA “reds,” and Tuinal (tu-eez, Christmas trees), three in an aluminum foil pouch.  One night, I bought Tuinal in the park.   I took one of the brightly colored blue and orange capsules that contained two of the most abused barbiturates ever made. I weighed 80-something pounds.

And when the night is cloudy there is still a light that shines on me

Shine until tomorrow, let it be

I don’t remember much of the rest of that night.  I do recall making out with a MUCH older bad boy named Dan.  We were on various lawns throughout the north side of Beverly Hills, heavily petting (already a dated word).   Then, I must have blacked out.  Don’t remember a thing.  I woke to a very angry mother who told me about an older girl from school who somehow knew who I was, found me and brought me safely home.

I wake up to the sound of music, Mother Mary comes to me

Speaking words of wisdom, let it be

Home was now my prison.  I was exiled from the other home and friends I loved, at the park.   My mother softened after a week or two because she knew what a social creature I was, and she now allowed visitors.  Safe, old friends.  Before the new park, Roxbury Park friends like Susie and Bettsie (more here).  Then one day my father phoned my mother (they were divorced) and said he wanted to pick me up to go with him to a pool party at someone’s house.  This day would mark the beginning of my release program.   I walked into the party feeling marked.  Like I was wearing a yellow star, only in the shape of a pill.  Outcast prisoner that I’d been for those weeks, I found solace in swimming.  I always had and still do.  I took a deep breath, blew all my air out, watching the bubbles and then sank to the bottom of the pool for an alarming amount of time, observing through muffled sounds the activity of adults and children going about their party business.   On that beautiful summer day of freedom, a loudspeaker in the backyard blared the same song over and over: “Let it Be” by the Beatles.  I lost myself, floating in those lyrics.  They were my salvation.

Let it be, let it be, let it be, yeah, let it be

Whisper words of wisdom, let it be

I had forgotten the name of the girl that brought me home that night, but I never forgot the experience.  A few months ago, someone named Bonnie surfaced on Facebook, adding me as a friend, and with a private note that said she thought about me many times over the years.   A long ago drug haze parted.  I wrote back immediately.  “I’m afraid to ask, but are you the one who brought me home one night when we were in high school?”  She was.  I knew she would reveal herself to me again one day. And that is how I knew it was time to tell this story.

Let it be, let it be, let it be, yeah, let it be

There will be an answer, let it be

Let it be, let it be, let it be, yeah let it be

Whisper words of wisdom, let it be

Emanuel Lombard, Beverly Hills High School, 1969


My new dealer is the dude that sells me caviar.  Alex Golbahar at Bel Air Caviar on Santa Monica Blvd. near Beverly Glen is known as the “king” of caviar.  He can tell you everything you need to know about all the varieties, color, size and taste of caviar.  When I have latkes, AKA potato pancakes in the house like I do right now, I make the most delicious meal.  My after Chanukah celebration meal.  I put a poached egg on my potato pancake and add a very generous dollop of caviar on the top.

After Chanukah treat, potato pancakes, poached eggs and caviar!!

17 Responses to “In Times of Trouble, Let it Be”

  1. David Miller-Engel says:

    Fredde..another great write…BTW I am going to an annual Latke party/competition on Sunday….My plan was for Birds nest latkes with poached quail egg(or raw) with a dab of caviar…..Peace David

  2. caryn says:

    I must have been at the park when you were grounded and vice versa. Thanks for your blog, Fredde!

  3. Laura Plotkin says:

    OMG–that looks so good, I am drooling on my keyboard. And another great story to boot! And, thank God for the Bonnies of the world who come to save us when we need it! So nice that you two reunited and you figured it out…and so nice to be able to say thank you to her after all this time!

  4. Hoov says:

    I will take the fifth.. Though I will admit that my rents had to know the real truth of my brother and I .. My first was at 13 and oh well continued for many years until drug testing. for the next 25+ years no street drugs and then Cancer. Thank you Herb however it is so strong that it did not work for me. So just back to simple deal with it.. this is a true story. My rent were close buds to the Reagans … Yes the president… Have he was elected my rent had him and first lady over for a really small diner party with all the kids there.. Bruce my bro and three of his buds one being his girl friend of many year all left the house to the back yard which was filled with huge pine tree and we as kids called it the forest. Bruce wipes out a J and they smoke it… they all return to this party of no more then 2 people only to be met by the Secrete Service and who went to my Mrs. Rent (mom) and said sorry Mrs. Hoover but we can not have herb( called it what you like) on property and there was no way they were going to call the local law enforcement even though the SS really desired too. Oh well my brother got on probation for Herb and 19 and when he died at 59 never was able to get off probation because even if you get a j walking ticket or a parking ticket that is a violation of the probation deal.. Oh well for our legal system however how many of us can say I got busted by the Secrete Service and they could not touch me.. Great mem story Wakko … Two ups for me… Aloha Wakko.. Hoov

  5. Hoov says:

    Sorry for the typos everywhere Wakko.. I wanted to deleted and correct it but can not. OOps .. Hoov

  6. libbie aroff-lane says:

    Clever!!!!!! Love it and you!!!!

  7. Julie Phalen says:

    Very funny, I remember those days.

  8. stephanie rappaport thompson says:

    Thank goodness for Mr. Lombard and the park!

  9. Augie Duke says:

    Wow wow wow this is a great true story thank you mom i can’t wait to try those red pills ……. Kidding never … Love you Mom..

  10. Mitch says:

    Quite a story, Fredde. You’ve conjured up images of horny youngsters tearing up the turf! Beverly Gardens Park — the manicured People’s Park of BH. I’m told kids still go there to do what kids do, under cover of darkness when they have nowhere else to do it. At least when we were kids the parking was free. Now, those wayward teens have to stop what they’re doing every so often to feed the meters. And tough luck if they can’t find their change in the damp grass.

    As for the latke — that looks more inviting than a romp in the park. But just as dangerous.

  11. Phil Kaufman says:

    Whatever happened to that cute girl from Beverly Vista named Roxanne Skiel ? Anybody remember her ? She was cute. And I remember a girl named Bonnie from Beverly Vista too – something like Bonnie Berkonn. She was cute too, although a little chubby.
    Bonnie shared some secret sexual fantasies that Laurie Sherman (remember her ? Mrs. Sherman’s daughter ? ) was having about (me).

  12. Lombard says:

    You could certainly enrich us all with your gifts, Fredde. You’ve probably got another forty years or more so why don’t you just turn it on?

    I went to a Hanukkah party last night on the settlements border of Jerusalem where my now ultra orthodox son Yohanan (John) lives with his wife Amy and their assembled 9 kids and THEIR children. There were easily 24 of my descendants present and maybe 15 noshows. Of course there are the eight children in the States with their already 9 kids…! Yikes! How do you turn it off?! I am now an Israeli citizen as well as US and blessed with caring kids and grandchildren. This place beats California and Florida, but don’t tell anyone. I was so glad to run into you in PP with Richard. Biggest hugs.

  13. cristi ulrich says:

    That park was a very Scary place!! Robin H. and I got picked up for curfew – Rick Divita and Bob Basile were thown in Jail I think. Robin and I were merely visitors – not stoned and we just got the living daylights scared out of us and sent safely home. Taken to BH Police department at five minutes after 10 for curfew!! What a night!! Gotta love growing up. I have never seen the inside of a police station since! I guess once was enough… great story Fred!

  14. pauli says:

    I had to breathe deeply while reading this one – so many issues of my own at that park. Like everyone else leaving comments – coming of age is probably the single greatest common denominator…ever. The amazing thing about this piece is that it really could have been written by a 15 year old TODAY – with different drugs and different boys of course. Thanks for sharing your precious past with all of us, Fredde.

  15. Oh yes…I remember it well…! 🙂

  16. marie fernandez says:


  17. Linda says:

    The Beatlea … you … caviar!

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