Posts Tagged ‘Kauai’

Ratatouille, Not Really

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

Kimberly Beck Clark and Fredde Duke

I bonded with Kimberly, my BFF over a dog named Sidney (often called Bitters , still don’t know why) but the real story goes like this. My best male friend up the street was David Feder who just sort of got stuck with me because of geography, i.e., our parents’ choice of homes on South Roxbury Drive. The day he and his family moved in (7th grade) I walked up the street, knocked on their door and announced that I’m available to be friends with anyone, any age. I was just glad to have fresh neighbors on a block that was getting a little stale.

The boys were CUTE, oh my God. David was exactly my age, my grade, Michael was my brother’s age, and Kayla was the adorable little sister that I would befriend and babysit and possibly be a bad influence on. I always wanted my own real sister and now I had one. I loved the Feders and chose to hang out there rather than at my own much quieter home. Over the years, the Feder boys would go out with plenty of my closest friends and presently (if you read my blog) you know that Michael ended up with my very close friend Kimme after she lost her husband to cancer.

When David and I were around 19 years old, he told me about this beautiful girl he met that was now his girlfriend. He wouldn’t stop talking about her. Fred, he would say, she’s SO great, she’s SO beautiful, I can’t wait for you to meet her. Clearly, he was a goner, madly in love. His former girlfriend, Sherry, had given him an Australian Shepherd dog that we were all wild about. Sidney. Cutest dog I’d ever seen in my life. I used to steal him for the night to sleep with me in my beach bungalow near the pier. Sidney became everybody’s dog and should one day have his own hardcover biography.

One day, when I still had not met Kim, David’s new girlfriend, I was on a commercial audition in Hollywood. I overheard that it was to be shot in Hawaii, a place I’d never been; I wasn’t a privileged kid like the others from Beverly Hills. So that’s when full-blown, serious “I really need this job” ambition came into play. I danced and sang and performed my heart out. I was very focused. It was quite a cattle call, the whole world of actors at that time were there including my old friend from high school, Scott Colomby. So, while waiting to be called, I sat near him and was very calm, saving my energy for “the room”.

While seated there with Scott, a bouncy young thing bopped up to him and was just filled with energy and enthusiasm. She said, “Oh my God,” a bit like a valley girl, “I just cut my hair!!!” After she walked away, I remember thinking maybe she was a bit of a bimbo. In truth, I have that same friendly energy, so there might be a lot of people out there thinking the same of me. Bimbo. (more…)

No More Trouble in Paradise or…To Marry or Not to Marry, that is the Question

Saturday, June 12th, 2010

The North Shore of Kauai has always held deep meaning for me. It was where I escaped on my first adventure as a newly single woman raising three kids alone. That was nearly twenty years ago. (And it was where, in the early 70’s, I filmed a Lipton Tea commercial — another blog, another time). I was suddenly thrust into single life just as my dad-the-sage had long predicted during the twelve years I spent with Father of My Children.
Our blissful wedding, almost nine years earlier to the day that I was to leave on my Hawaiian adventure, was held on Pico Boulevard in the parking lot of Rent-a-Wreck. Talk about an ominous sign (See blissful wedding day photo.) During the ceremony, various people and probably even my own dad were loudly laying odds the marriage would never last. After the split, I found out no one present gave it more than six months.
On the fateful morning of the Big Reveal (I picked up a phone extension to hear F.O.M.C. listening to The Other Woman reciting love poetry, (GAG) ), I called my dad to tell him that he was right about Mr. Right. He barely reacted. He then informed me that my eternal student/out-of-work husband had once hidden 18 thousand dollars in dad’s bank account and had obviously forgotten about it. My dad told me to help myself to the money.
Eighteen thousand dollars sounded pretty good since it was eighteen thousand more than I had at the time, but I only took nine, choosing to split it with F.O.M.C. So young, so honest, so foolish! Now, with nine thousand in hand, I decided that my kids and I needed ten days in Kauai to recover from a broken marriage. Anything left over would go toward the down payment on a new car. (Yes, this was back when there might be something left from $9,000 after a Hawaiian vacation.) Things were looking up already. I called in a favor from my friend Sherry, whose family owned a hotel on the island. $60 dollars a night, not bad.
I never told my kids that we were going away because I love to surprise them. The night before we were to leave, I waited till they were asleep to pack their bags. Then at 6:00 AM, I woke them to announce we were heading to paradise. It was thrilling.
I brought my gourmet meal to eat on the plane. I was way ahead of my time in doing that. And I’m not exaggerating when I say gourmet. (On a recent flight, I brought caviar and the woman next to me said, “You really travel in style”. The snack cost nearly as much as the coach ticket.) But I let my kids eat the airplane food, since I figured it was okay with them. Airline meals were so lousy they really did us all a favor to end them.
To land on the island of Kauai is like encountering a mirage. Five hours of flying, then you touch down, stepping into beauty and wonder and fragrances so magical they can’t be real. At this point, you’re probably hungry, and if you’re headed where we usually are — the North Shore– you stop at Ono Burger. It’s a not-so-fast-food stand on the ocean side of the road next to a mini-mart, and it’s really good. All the locals go there and you can’t go wrong with whatever you order. And if you do go wrong, who cares? You’re in Hawaii. You sit and eat at a picnic table surrounded by wild chickens and feral cats, and feed them. Everybody does.
On that trip I took my kids on a sunset cruise adventure — obviously suffering a memory lapse about my history of seasickness. The captain of the boat fell instantly in love with me, I’m not sure why, but it probably had something to do with certain men being hardwired to take care of women. I’m extra-small and some men just have a visceral reaction to protect me. (Others step on me – see F.O.M.C.) The attention from Cap’n Jack did a lot for a girl who’d just fled a loveless marriage. But all the Good Captain got in return was vomit on his shoes. Finally, he told me that I needed to jump overboard. At first, I thought he was kidding, but he said it would steady my equilibrium or something and at that point I would have done anything for relief. I jumped. My kids stared as I treaded water, as surprised as the curious sea turtles circling me.
Cap’n Jack, flirt or nurturer that he was, dove in and stuck it out with me. He had his hands all over me, whispering sexy things in my ear. He completely ignored the other guests on the cruise, which was great for my ego but not so great for them. It occurred to me that he might be a bit of a gigolo who thought I was a rich young woman traveling with a babysitter, as I was. Well, then too bad for him. I had just spent my last nine thousand. But for a fleeting moment, I imagined moving to Kauai and a happy-ever-after life as a sea captain’s wife. As you can see, I was clearly starved for attention.
Some nights I would take the kids to Lafferty’s, the amazing local ice cream store. If you go, get the Kona Coffee. But all the flavors are great. It was there, in a bit of foreshadowing of my soon-to-be future life, that I spotted an unusual Rastafarian-looking dog… that I became, not out of character for me, quite taken with. The owner said it was a Portuguese Water Dog. He was chocolate in color and a spectacular-looking creature.
Soon after the well-deserved Kauai vacation with my kids I went on my first date with my future husband. No, he was not a Rastafarian. But he did have a Portuguese Water Dog. That dog, Moby, would also become my dog. Everything fell into place. (more…)