How do 50 years fly by so quickly? I’ll be 50 in one month on September 9th. As I approach my sixth decade I remember so easily my childhood as if it was yesterday. I feel the same until I look both in the mirror now and at pictures of me in high school when I thought I looked so grown up.
I remember when I was six swinging on the swing set Dad made for us in the backyard as our dog Nelson jumped on us, or swimming in our 3 ft doughboy pool my sister nearly drowned in. Spending weekends running through the sprinklers and on the Slip N Slide on hot summer days, guzzling water from the hose. It tasted so much better than a glass of water from the kitchen. I remember watching The Bionic Woman and Dad fixing the TV in a panic one time so I could watch the reruns. I played with my Cher barbie doll and watched The Sunny and Cher Show on TV holding her in my lap wearing my Hollie Hobbie pajamas.
We had an orange van with shag carpeting, mushroom wallpaper and a CB radio. It had an 8-track tape player and our tapes included Saturday Night Fever, The Eagles, and John Denver.
We’d go to the drive in that’s now an outdoor mall in Newbury Park. I took ice skating lessons after watching the Olympics and Mom got me a Dorothy Hamill haircut. I woke up each morning wondering when I was going to have strip club boobs.
My elementary school used to have rollerskate nights at the local rink across from K-Mart. Mom bought me copper metallic shorts and a red satin jacket at Sears and I thought I was the shit. After I graduated to seventh grade I snuck back into the elementary school skate nights. Sometimes the teachers would catch me, but I’d convince them I was only in 5th grade the year before.
I remember never thinking I would turn 16 so I could drive. I went to bed every night counting the days and looking at my Sony Dream Machine each night thinking I was one day closer.
I also think about the things I thought would never happen. Being single at 50 when I was 15 seemed like a death sentence but hey, I’ve had a great life, dated lots of losers but also had lots of fun “wink wink.” I’ve traveled the world twice over and had experiences my married friends with kids will never know. I’ve also encountered people stuck in unhappy marriages but too paralyzed to make a change. I’d rather be alone.
I never thought I’d be in the same room with my best friend when she was pronounced dead at 44. We used to joke about being in our 80’s and getting our room together at the old folk’s home, playing Scrabble and guzzling chardonnay. I didn’t think I’d get used to never seeing her again, although I still cry about her weekly.
I couldn’t imagine my dad would get arrested and convicted of murder. I never thought I’d get used to visiting him in prisons across California for 17 years.
I can’t believe Carrie Fisher died before I could explain my stalking and we could hug it out.
I can’t believe Bruce Jenner’s a chick!
Now I’ve gone retro as I reminisce about my childhood—buying 8 track tapes and players, watching The Bionic Woman on youtube and even meeting her at Comic Con! I acted as if I was still six years old. I binge watch Burt Reynolds movies like Smokey and The Bandit and am addicted to my lip smackers. I want roller skates for my 50th birthday even though I still have the ones Mom and Dad bought me when I was nine. I drive around Hollywood blasting The Bee Gees and Earth Wind and Fire.
There are so many things I’m grateful for—being alive and having my health, sans one toe, is at the top of my list. After Anne dying I’m truly thankful to God for every breath I take. I’m grateful for getting carded, yes it still happens, I don’t care if it’s the sympathy check or not! I still have my wacky family, and I have great great friends in my life, a good chunk from elementary and high school, Playboy and Lucasfilm.
I hope I am blessed with many more years of memories with friends. Sometimes life can be so beautiful and overwhelming, just like the plastic bag floating in American Beauty…