The Original Goth

I kept noticing her.  The contradiction of her Saks Fifth Avenue/Bonwit Teller perfect girlie-girl wardrobe and the dark brooding in her beautiful and unusual face.  She did not smile.  Kim was small like me, but opposite in that I had an eternal smile and wore tattered hand-me-downs or homemade clothes.  I was really intrigued and wanted to know what the story was behind those dark eyes of hers; almost black, that’s how dark they were.

Kim was not approachable, but somehow we did finally meet.  And we became close, finding much in common, but mostly it was just a match in chemistry.  I had never met anyone more authentic and honest.  There was something deep, powerful and haunting in my new friend.  She was a freshman and I was a sophomore in high school.  She was funny, extremely funny, though at times mean-spirited in her humor.  She never targeted her cruelty at me because she was highly aware of my fragility.  I’m not only sensitive, I’m quite thin-skinned.

Kim was also brilliant.   Well read, even at that age, she might pepper her conversations with names like Sartre and Kierkegaard.  All very vague to ditzy me, and I would constantly tell her how insecure I was about my own IQ.  She would invariably tell me that I was smart and that just because I wasn’t as well read as her meant and means nothing.  Early on, she was always giving me props for my emotional IQ.

One day, when I was sixteen, I got a call from my friend Peggy.  It was a school night but something in her voice made it seem like it was very important that I show up at her house.  I showed up at Peg’s house on Trenton and when I walked in, I was sort of ambushed by this man.  He was overweight and had this lovely, warm, inviting face.  A face that seemed familiar.  He stood very close to me and looked into my eyes in a way that no adult ever had.  It was an intense moment and I didn’t know what was about to take place.  He introduced himself.  “I’m Milt,” and he looked back to me for some sort of acknowledgment or reaction.  “Do you know who I am?”  This was getting really heavy but I was 100% clueless.  “Okay?” I said very confused.  Then this really warm bear of a man told me, an innocent, naive kid of sixteen a very adult, dramatic story.  He started the story with, “You know my Kim.”  And then his face came into focus and was suddenly my friend Kim’s face.  It was clear that this man I had never met was Kim’s biological father.  It gave me the chills.  There had been no mention of him.  I was introduced to a lovely man that was presumably Kim’s father many times when I was at Kim’s house.  Milt then told me a tale of such serious betrayal.  Kim’s mother had not let him see her for years.  He missed her terribly.  There were tears in his eyes.  I knew this man for all of fifteen minutes but I needed to make this right.  I said, “Stay here, I’ll be right back with your Kim.”  I called Kim and told her to be outside of her house, that I needed to pick her up to reunite her with her “real” dad, Milt.  She said she really shouldn’t.  I said, “You really have to, I’m on my way.”

I collected Kim and brought her back to her real dad.  I felt really good about it. I had never been in the middle of such high drama.  There was something so exciting about it all.  But Kim’s mother hated me forever after.  I never cared because I felt I had done the right thing.  Father and daughter stayed friendly for the rest of Kim’s life.  He was instrumental in getting her some jobs as an actress.

Kim had a lifelong symbiotic relationship with her mother and there remained friction whenever she spent time with Milt.  Kim also stayed her tormented self and suffered from drug addiction because of the demons she tried to suppress.  The gory details that I do know, I will keep to myself, as I am not here to bash anyone in my blog.  This is a story to honor my old friend Kim, who I had some of my most fun times of life hanging out with.

Kim died far too young of a heroin overdose.  Both of her parents, at least the biological ones attended her funeral.   

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One summer in the 70’s, Kim and I took an Oceanography class through SMC.  The class was held out in Pt. Dume, Malibu. One of my favorite places to eat is Malibu Seafood.  It’s a fresh seafood market and they serve amazing food.  You do have to stand in line at peak hours to order (which I hate).  So go at off hours.  Eat on the patio or take your delicious food across the street to the beach. They serve a special hand battered Alaskan cod with their secret, wonderful tartar sauce.  Great homemade clam chowder and coleslaw. I order the crab salad or clam strips and fries.  The tuna burger is amazing. And you can go healthier and order Pacific Red Snapper, grilled or any other fish you like.  Also, you might want to pick up some very fresh fish and take it home to cook yourself.

me in local newspaper, taking Oceanography with Kim

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13 Responses to “The Original Goth”

  1. debi fries says:

    How do you do that? Weave a story that is so touching, heart wrenching at times and yet light hearted; pushing the boundaries, evoking memories that we all share that allows for food to be the focus. Food which sustains, nourishes and gives us a sense that we all somehow collectively want to embrace as a way to give order and connection to our often unbalanced and chaotic lives. Well done Freddie!

  2. cristi ulrich says:

    :(( Beautiful – simply Beautiful!

  3. jim farrington says:

    very nice

  4. Chrys Rosen says:

    Ditto Debi Fries. 🙂

  5. David Miller-Engel says:

    Your getting better and better…..

  6. Rex Sikes says:

    Thanks – a reminder of one who was prominent in my life for many years. A truly delightful yet troubled soul. Her young death some how not at all surprising yet shocking at the same time. And I am so amazed at how your life and mine and our friends all interect and contribute to each other through all the years and miles apart. I enjoy your memories and blogs very much and it is always a treat and wonderful to see you and get together, Thanks

  7. Joel Brokaw says:

    This one really reaches into that deeply sad but beautiful place in our lives.

  8. simon says:

    lovely stuff fredde, lovely

  9. Augie Duke says:

    Oh man mommy you are such a good friend, you have there back’s tell the end.. I love you.. Great story truly beautiful and deep….

  10. DBoos says:

    Every story gets better and better Fred. You’re a gifted writer. You always were, but now…you have that WOW factor. We all love these stories and the common denominator is food, but your life and the people you’ve encountered over the years weaves them all together and allows us into the intricate details of what makes you…YOU. Bravo Fred!! Thanks for sharing Kim with us. Love you

  11. Debbie Schellenberg says:

    Fabulous and intriguing ….please write a book!


  12. Scott Borman says:

    I couldn’t sleep. I’ve been thinking a lot about Kim, thought of you, and went to your blog, and here she is….. I have to admit I shed a few tears when I saw her picture. I loved her too and miss her and wonder what she’d be like today if she had overcome her addiction.

  13. Paul Morris says:

    Somehow I stumbled on this site. Is this referring to my friend Kim who I knew around 1972 had an opel gt and lived on Bedford or somewhere in BH with parents when not in schools.

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