Archive for May, 2012

Ruth Ross and the Polio’s

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

No, it’s not a band.  But, it is a group.  They call themselves THE POLIO’S.  Here is how my not-so-unlikely friendship with them began.

Here I go again.  Another story that starts with my dad.  After he died and I just wasn’t coping that well with the loss, I found an article in the L.A. Times about post-polio syndrome.  It talked about this painful late-in-life condition of those who’d been afflicted with infantile paralysis, and how some of them formed a group that would meet at UCLA.  My dad did not suffer from this syndrome, at least not that I was aware of.  Still, I found the phone number, left a message and received a call back.

Friendliest, loveliest voice on the other end.  Ruth Ross introduced herself.  She asked me why I called and what could she do for me.  I told her about my dad, that he had polio and recently died — and how much I missed him.  Told her we did everything for him all the time.  Duke always had someone helping him, and my brother and I were very good at fetching him things.  We were trained early.  He would point at something, let’s say a box of Kleenex, and without any words exchanged, we would stand and bring it to him.  Now on the phone, Ruth, a stranger, was a therapist hearing me out about the love I had for my dad.  When the conversation was about to end, I remembered why I called.  “Listen,” I said, “anytime you need something, groceries, whatever, please call me and I will run errands for you.” (more…)

What Happened on Old Malibu Road, Stayed on Old Malibu Road

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

I wonder how I can write any story about this time without the sex and drugs, but let me try. I first moved into an apartment on Old Malibu Road with my boyfriend. When we split, I moved girlfriend roommates (Wendy, Diana) in and out so I could stay on the beach, but still be able to afford the pad. We partied a lot. But in our own homes. You see, several of us that were friends were scattered across the beach in different places. And we would float from one house to another. A lot.

Friends that would come visit me would wander to one of the boys’ homes and then might not come back until the following day. I’m not saying who or with whom. And I won’t implicate myself except to say– the name Heidi Fleiss comes to mind. Don’t get the wrong idea, I was never paid for my “matchmaking.”

The other friends who had apartments on the same beach I will name. At least, I will give you first names. Billy, Ricci and John. (more…)

The Mother of All Waitresses

Saturday, May 12th, 2012

I once went to the most spectacular Hollywood funeral ever.  And the love that poured out was well deserved.  We knew her by one name, kind of like Cher or Madonna.  Kaye.  Do you all know whom I’m talking about?  You do if you were lucky enough to grow up in Beverly Hills at that time.  It’s Kaye Coleman, beloved Nate n’ Al’s waitress and star of our collective childhoods.

Although Kaye had her own daughter and son (and grandchildren), she was the unofficial surrogate mother to some of the biggest mothers in Hollywood.  And her “sons” looked after her well.  I’d run into Kaye at the priciest restaurants, dining with her posse of waitress friends, the tab picked up by Lew Wasserman or Bernie Brillstein.  Those two moguls would also send her on European vacations and ocean cruises.  At times, Kaye lived a fancier life than many of her Beverly Hills customers.

Larry King was the emcee of Kaye’s funeral, the only funeral I can think of that had one.  His two Nate n’ Al’s buddies, the ones he eats with everyday, Sid and Bob, gave their own hilarious eulogies.   So funny, that I overheard Suzanne Pleshette — with that happy newlywed look on her face after her surprise marriage to Tom Poston — leaving the funeral saying, “Who knew?  Guess we have to get those two to speak at my funeral.”  Sadly, that day would come too soon (not fair). (more…)

Not Our Mothers’ Mother’s Day

Sunday, May 6th, 2012

I have a very good friend and we have done everything at exactly the same time.  Three kids.  Divorce.  New Marriage.  Always within a year of each other and always there for each other.  When we were in our single lives, raising kids alone, we would often have family meals at one of our homes with all the kids.  We had each other’s back.

Our first-born sons were the best of friends.  They were artists and did not necessarily fit in with the other sporty boys.  My husband once said about them, “Are you sure they didn’t once walk through a toxic fog together?”  We still laugh about that.  Sometimes we would think it was a brilliant idea to “mainstream” the boys by sending them on YMCA camping trips to the mountains.  They would come back coated black from dirt, stunned, as if we had sent them off to an inmate labor program.  Unlike all of our other kids who would return from these excursions so happy, laughing with a pack of new friends they’d made, these two were miserable. (more…)