Girls Gone Wild

me up for princess and queen

Not sure how I got roped into it, but it would be Easter vacation, and I was game to head with a group of friends to a hotel I knew and loved — The Riviera in Palm Springs.  My friend Libbie and I hitched a ride.  Not really hitched, but, you know, found someone driving there, and asked if they wouldn’t mind dropping us off.  I didn’t do freeways, hated driving in general.  So there we were.  No car.  But, at a great hotel with a pool, and that’s all I needed.  Well, that and a good turkey sandwich.  Or turkey club.

One of the girls’ dads had made all the arrangements and what Libbie and I paid was very low.  Oh, by the way, this was a one-bedroom suite with way too many of us.

We parked ourselves on the couches and the rest took the bedroom.  All good. We would wake up, drink our Cokes (at least that’s what I drank) and head to the pool.  That pool area was a club scene.  We girls were hot enough but there were hot girls and guys everywhere.  Each lounge chair was taken.  We all cared way too much about our tans.  Baby oil, often mixed with iodine, and tanning cream was abundant.  A sea of aluminum reflectors held under chins nearly blinded you in the already too-bright desert sun.  The smell of Coppertone permeated the air.   I put in record-breaking hours lying in that hot desert sun.  (I now put in record-breaking hours at the dermatologist.)

pool at the riviera hotel in palm springs

pool at the riviera hotel in palm springs

I’m not pointing fingers, but most of the girls in our group were looking for action.  Libbie and I, however, were sort of homebodies and not really partiers.  So, at night, we would stay in the hotel room fielding calls for the others from all sorts of boys. There was a new boy on everyone’s radar named Roger Pierose.  He was cute, kind of like a David Cassidy type, before even we knew who he was.

We started to really get into our role-playing as secretaries.  Or should I say madams, because it was as if we were running a brothel.  Think “Risky Business,” but with two half-Jewish princesses running the show.  (I believe that adds up to one full Jewish princess.) We would book the girls in out of dates and parties all night long.  We had a notepad and in between events, our friends would stop by to get the update on where they were to head next.  The call every girl waited for each night was the one from Roger. I would pick up the hotel phone and hear, “Is Shula there?” “Who is asking?”  I would answer in my no-nonsense, madam’s voice.  And when he called, they would blow off every other offer.  Shula, the Dutch beauty with legs up to here (I’m pointing to way above my head), was the draw.  She and her BFFs Roz and Diana, partied hard.  Pretty sure that Spring Break’s now wild reputation originated here.

Lying by the pool, my crush on the man sporting the Mark Spitz mustache grew stronger each day.  I was sporting a one-of-a-kind, handmade, hippie-style, Indian-print bikini.  He was greasy from head to toe in suntan oil, getting darker and darker until he was nearly black.  I was so enamored, I moved my chaise lounge next to his, keeping him engaged with my teen girlie-girl energy.  He humored me by flirting back.  I’m sure he felt a platonic kinship with me. I, however, dreamed of a kiss.  As the long, hot partying days were coming to an end, I asked if he might drive me and Lib home.  He drove an old Mercedes that was a bit like my mom’s.  Since I was clearly jailbait — remember that word? — I think he was a touch uncomfortable being alone with me, but Libbie was our chaperone in the backseat.  Unfortunately,  my sunburn was so bad that I was in an early stages of sun poisoning.  I could not stop itching. I had a fever, felt like vomiting.   Throughout the drive, I tried to keep it at bay so I could flirt shamelessly, but I was soon in unbearable pain.  When I came home, I ended up in the doctor’s office where I was given prescription creams to calm my skin.  I credit that trip and the resulting burn to the skin cancer I began getting at age 29.  Stay tuned for a story about that because I promise it will be riveting.

riviera hotel


Go and enjoy a turkey club sandwich, sitting by the pool in any of these hotels.  Beverly Hills Hotel.  Bel Air Hotel.  Shutters.  Surf and Sand in Laguna Beach.  Any Four Seasons though it will be faintly expensive at most of these places.   Name a hotel and go there for the club sandwich experience.  I just found this website online dedicated to club sandwiches.

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7 Responses to “Girls Gone Wild”

  1. janet graham says:

    how did i miss out on all this fun? love it.

  2. Pauli says:

    Ouch! I can so relate to that sunburn thing – went through it myself.
    As for club sandwiches – Spago does a really special version with lobster and bacon. Thanks for your “hit” down that wild memory lane….

  3. This was when Palm Springs was “really” Palm Springs and we would do anything for a tan! Oh my…What fun and how great that we can all sit around and still share these memories…

  4. Helen Starlight says:

    Freddie, you write so well!! I agree with Barbara Dudley about the “real Palm Springs”. I spent summers at Tee’s beach, put pennies on my stomach in shape of a peace sign, with Baby oil smeared all over me.

  5. Laura Plotkin says:

    While you were roasting at the Riviera, I was basting at the Occotillo Lodge (well, a few years before you, actually). As for the turkey clubs, I still order them–an all time favorite! And, yes, I, too, am paying for all those years of sun reflectors and Bain du Soliel! But, at the time, it seemed like we lived for a great tan–what were we thinking?!?!?

  6. Roger Martin says:

    All the spring breaks I spent in PS and NOW I’m just hearing of this?? That’s what I get for not growing a mustache…..

  7. Fredde,
    I swear I devour your stories as if they’re food. And then I’m still hungry because you drop me off on more food! I love your stories. And no calories. Yay!
    Thanks again!

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