Posts Tagged ‘Freddie Duke’

Destination Wedding

Tuesday, December 1st, 2015

castle

Lately, almost everything is out of my comfort zone. Including items on my bucket list. If I have to drive across town here in Los Angeles, I feel like I’m a contestant on Survivor.

An invitation arrived in the mail. Come to a castle in Ireland, it said. Three days of food and board paid for by the wedding party. What to do? Are you kidding? Who could resist? I answered yes.

And then went into a panic.

Too many planes, trains and automobiles. Being in a car in LA is unnerving enough. Driving on the “wrong” side of the road in County Mayo? That’s my idea of terror.

I decided to be my own travel agent. This would give me some control and help me get used to the whole idea of the trip. A trip, as Rod Serling might say, to the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, to the pit of man’s fears: My Discomfort Zone.

I shot off an email to an Irish actor I know and begged for advice. He was very detailed about which hotel in Dublin to stay at and even suggested a visit to a second castle. (more…)

Mating Call

Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

eating salad at farmers market, 70's

He called me at home. A first call. He was stuttering. Perhaps asking me out. I helped him. “What are you doing tomorrow?” I asked, easing him out of his obvious discomfort. “I’m going to the Farmers Market for lunch. Want to meet me there for a really great Crab Louie?”

In those days, before traffic in Los Angeles, it was a quick drive from my Malibu Beach apartment to Hollywood. I had just come off a seemingly effortless run of landing national television commercials and was subletting from an actor who ran off to New York to work for Woody Allen. I could afford the high rent, and it was all I needed: an oversized bed — built by the actor for the small space, a fireplace, and a small kitchen with sliding glass doors that faced an unobstructed view of the Pacific. I couldn’t ask for more. Except a boyfriend. I was between boyfriends, which was rare for me.

We met in front of the fish market. I ordered a Tab and a salad with enough dressing for six or seven salads. I ate heartily. Manuel watched. His demeanor was nervous. Mine was overconfident. I couldn’t tell you if I was really confident or if I was faking it. I excelled at appearing sure of myself. (more…)

Screwdriver

Saturday, August 15th, 2015

me in red mini van with augie and oliver

When new electronics fell off a truck and into my father’s apartment (don’t ask) he would place a call. “Screwdriver, come over and set this shit up.”

I don’t know how Kevin, AKA Screwdriver — so named by my dad for his skills at setting up sound systems and things — found his way into Duke’s posse, but this young hip black dude became a full-fledged member of the team.

Some nights I might call and ask my dad what he was doing. Okay, most nights I made that call.   I often crashed, the only chick allowed in an almost exclusively male-dominated club. The group consisted of ex-CBS president Bud Grant, a bigwig ornery PR guy (Sinatra’s and Michael Jackson’s) named Lee Solters, Screwdriver, my dad, his current “with,” and a few other hanger-ons. Did I hear you ask what a “with” is? Read here.

Everything in my life was freebie style. Free tickets to Disneyland. Comp’d seats at Broadway plays. Freebies to shows and hotels in Vegas.

And on one memorable night, Screwdriver hooked us up with the Greatest – and Hippest — Show on Earth: The Black Circus in South Central. This was not your Ringling Brothers, it was your Ringling Brotha. (more…)

Daydreamer

Tuesday, July 21st, 2015

collage of famous 60s people

 

I was in my head so much that I didn’t watch TV, never read. Playing with friends was distracting because I would rather be in my fantasy world. Who I pretended to be was a full time job.   Let me introduce you to all the roles I played. It was exhausting being me.

I was Haley Mills in The Parent Trap.

I played tambourine and sometimes drums in my famous all-girl band – The Pink Pussycats. We wore pink Helanka turtlenecks, pink stretch pants and pink Courreges boots. We wore Mary Quant and Yardley makeup. Because of our sudden rise to fame, we did many glamorous magazine covers like Vogue and Seventeen.

I was all the characters in Peter Pan, my favorite being Tinkerbell. I would spend days hunting butterflies to collect the sticky stuff off their wings which would enable me to fly. This required leaving my house and the fantasy bubble I lived in.

As Shirley Temple, I sang The Good Ship Lollipop and tap-danced on the top of pianos. (more…)

Sated

Wednesday, June 10th, 2015

Prune Cheeseburger

Food borders on obsession with me. No, it doesn’t border on anything – I’m being coy. Food is my obsession. I’m not alone. I share this passion with many. One friend of mine — I call her The Scout — tries out restaurants immediately after reading reviews. Sometimes we sample them together.

Her recent find was a bomb and I came home like a cranky three-year-old who hadn’t been fed. I took one bite of their well-reviewed, raved-about-on-Yelp cheeseburger, and pushed it away. I couldn’t bear to tell the waiter how much I loathed it. Everything the restaurant served was just so rich, I want to rename the place Truffles and Gruyere.   I have a few girlfriends who love overly rich food. They should go back to this new restaurant together, because I’m out.

Since I’m not the biggest meat-eater and ate only one bite of that particular cheeseburger, I am now out-of-control craving my favorite cheeseburger.  Let me tell you about it. It is served three thousand miles away. No, I take that back. It used to be served. It was on this restaurant’s lunch menu, but now they are only open for dinner. If you call Prune, in the East Village in Manhattan, to ask about their famous cheeseburger, they refer you to an online recipe. As if. I’m not that handy in the kitchen and I prefer ordering my burgers, not preparing them. (more…)

Our House

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015

that's no lady, that's my mother

I was driving past my childhood home, my architectural symbol of security.

At the time, I didn’t own a house and had only purchased my first condo a year or so before. It was dark and depressing. Living in it was like living in Portland or Seattle – one of those places where it rains too much. I not only was sad, I had SAD. Seasonal Affective Disorder. It’s a condition that puts you in a bleak mood during the winter months when there isn’t enough sunlight. Only mine wasn’t seasonal. In this apartment, I had it all the time.

I’d just lost both my parents, a year apart. I shed so many tears while living in this condo I should have had flood insurance. But I really wanted to enjoy my first place with my first mortgage, even though the word mortgage was still so grown up and confusing. I hired the tile guy all my friends were using to hip the place up. Saltillo tiles. Trying to make it Spanish because this is the style I knew and loved, the style I grew up with. (more…)

Paul “Scooter” Silverman, September 17, 1951 – January 30, 2015

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

scooter swimming

I met him when I was 14 about to turn 15 at a place we all hung out in Roxbury Park called the teen center.  Scooter soon became my personal chauffeur, my best friend and my biggest crush. Scooter was 16, about to turn 17 so on September 17th of that year, I organized a surprise party for him at his house. I don’t remember a thing about it but I imagine I made my signature onion dip, brought a bag of chips and a case of cokes and called it a party.  I put the contents of the Lipton Onion soup mix into the sour cream container and stirred. I didn’t even put it in a bowl to serve. That’s how ghetto this party was. I do however remember the surprise party thrown for me just weeks later on October 12th. I thought I was organizing a surprise party – this one would be for Sol, another friend we shared from the teen center. My friend Diane and I planned a big bash at a rich chicks house on the other side of the tracks and all was going smoothly. All, except Scooter said he couldn’t be there that night. I was crushed. I lived for nights that included Scooter. He was adamant that he couldn’t change his plan. (more…)

Traditions

Monday, January 5th, 2015

GreenbergsLatkaFactory
I’ve had two mothers-in-law. Neither were big fans of mine. One was the “I will not reveal my recipes to you” kind, and the other, many years ago, gave me the few recipes I still use. I think I’m kind of likeable, but maybe not if I’m married to your son? Moving on.

Cooking scares me. I’m just not that talented in the kitchen. I can dance. But I can’t follow steps. Cooking is all burners and timing and chopping and it’s something that has always overwhelmed me. So, here is what I am: a great guest. I’ll eat your food. I’ll tell you how great it tastes. I actually clap, applauding you when I’m sated.

I’m in awe of traditions that people have created. I dropped that ball. I’ve been divorced, and with blended families found it’s just not my thing. But I appreciate this quality in other people, and this Chanukah my husband and I were invited to our friends Chuck and Karen’s party.
You walked through the front door into the tantalizing aroma of potato pancakes. Like a bloodhound, I followed the scent till I was at the stove where two of my friends, now married 37 years, were hard at work. A tag team of latke makers, Richard was using a ladle to drop the round balls into burning oil. At his side, JoAnn, with a spatula, turned and removed them from the heat at just the right moment. I watched, mesmerized. I hugged them as they told me they have been dressed in aprons performing this act at Chuck and Karen’s holiday party for over thirty years. Impressive, the closeness of these longtime friends and the traditions they have built with their families. I flashed on JoAnn telling me how they all, with kids in tow, vacation together every year at the Surf and Sand Hotel in Laguna. I have great friends but we don’t do group vacations. (more…)

The Coffee Maker

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

me, michael, hiline

I was sitting with my husband in our sorry little kitchen. It’s small. Totally old school with a swinging hinged door that closes you in. No modern open floor plan where the kitchen blends into the family room. I love our little 1700-square foot Spanish Bungalow, but I’m never sure it’s where he feels most at home — but that’s a whole other story that I may, or may not, get back to.

This night, I had thrown together a meal. I hate cooking. It’s not something I’m that great at. It’s always a struggle. And lately, I have gotten even lazier than the naturally lazy person I was when we had kids at home. So, I might make a “salad” of pre-washed lettuce that I throw in a bowl, and my husband will make fun of the little effort that went into it. I’ll serve it with a large potato that we share — and he will inform me that for now we can still afford two potatoes – though with retirement looming, we may soon have to cut back to one. (more…)

The Boy with the Prettiest Eyes and the Biggest Heart

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

me and bob levine

I was supposed to see my friend Bob that weekend. He didn’t know it though. He would never know it because, as it turns out, the plane he was on flying from Los Angeles to San Diego, crashed. It was September 25, 1978 and Pacific Southwest Airlines first accident involving fatalities. Bob Levine would never know how deep the connection was that I felt with him. We were only casual friends.

I was in my twenties and had been visiting my mother at her house in Palm Springs. Anything for a quick weekend trip, I was always up for a vacation.   I was with my lifelong friend, Diane. My mother nurtured us in the form of guacamole. No one made it better. Then we lay around in the sun, catching rays and vitamin D, even if I didn’t know it then.   After our quick two-day getaway, we headed home. On the way back from the desert, I noticed something on the freeway I never had before, and that was a connecting freeway and a sign that read South to San Diego. I asked my know-everything-about driving-and-freeways friend Diane about it. I wondered if it might be a great, spontaneous idea if we switched our route and headed south to visit our old pals, Matt Browar and Bob Levine. They had moved to San Diego, a place that was chill, where they could find good waves. (more…)