I was an intelligent child. No. Maybe “brilliant” is a better term. Definitely gifted. But not in the kind of way where your parents know that you are going to grow up and get a football scholarship to an amazing college. Not in the way where you can draw people that aren’t stick figures and comic book strips and cartoon characters by age 5.
I didn’t have the most beautiful voice in the world, so being a singer wasn’t in my future. I just didn’t really have a gift that you could put your finger on in a static sort of way. I had the gift of gab, I spoke eloquently (for a kid) and loved to talk and I also loved to read. Anything and everything I could get my hands on. I loved being in front of cameras, I was contagiously happy, and I was smart. Like years beyond my age. I think I was already reading at high school level by kindergarten. I was reciting the Preamble to the Constitution as I ran around the playground in kindergarten because I memorized it. I was gifted. But no one noticed, especially not my parents.I do want to add… I was a BEAUTIFUL baby and child. People would stop my mom everywhere just to tell her how beautiful I was. 30+ years later, my mom would tell me that she was “embarrassed by me.” Because of all of the attention that she got from random people. Gee mom… Thanks.
My mother was an Administrative Manager for a company that made accessories for luxury sports cars, like Porsche and MGB. Her boss, who owned the company, was an extremely wealthy woman who loved my mother and spoiled her with jewelry, and all kinds of other expensive gifts. It wasn’t uncommon for us to spend a day driving her Rolls Royce or Bentley around town. My father was in the music industry and worked for a very well-known group of recording labels under the Warner Bros umbrella. He was in sales for them, which came with several perks such as having an expense account with all Tower Records locations, invitations to listening parties, backstage with artists/celebrities and the best seats to pretty much any concert I ever wanted to go to, plus many other things. For FREE. There were many days that my father would take me to work with him and I would sit in the conference room and watch movies, some of which hadn’t even been released yet, while munching on an array of pastries and other goodies that were left from morning meetings. Whenever I wanted to talk to my dad, I would go into his office and he’d be leaning back in his big leather chair, feet up on the desk, listening to records and smoking cigars. I was convinced that was what he was paid to do – Smoke cigars and listen to records. I thought I was the coolest kid ever, with the coolest dad ever. I watched Van Halen rehearse for their 1984 Tour in an airplane hangar in Santa Monica. I was 10. I was backstage as a teenager at concerts for The Cure, Depeche Mode, INXS and Phil Collins, who we partied with at Spago on Sunset after his concert. I still have a picture of Phil Collins with my dad and me.
My family sat together every night and ate dinner together. Always good meals. Chicken or steak, and white rice and salad. We discussed our day and what was going on at school and/or work without the distraction of TV. We spent weekends together going on long drives to the middle of nowhere and having a picnic lunch, or my favorite… Going to Griffith Park and riding the train, then the ponies and then the Merry Go Round. We spent a lot of time antique shopping too, which I despised. My parents collected Stickley Furniture, as well as Bauer and Catalina pottery. My parents never fought. At least I never saw it. They kissed each other goodbye every morning before they left for work, and every night my dad would tuck me in and read a book about a mouse family named Von Trapp (?), or a book about a little otter or hedgehog girl and her family. I can’t remember the name of the book right now, but I think the main character’s name was Francis.
I grew up in beautiful homes in the Pasadena area, all California Bungalows. My parents were avid members of the Pasadena Historical Society. My mom worked the ticket booth and my dad was a tour guide one weekend a month or something like that. We would spend weekend days doing walking tours through the most beautiful and exclusive homes of Pasadena, near the Rose Bowl. I have vivid memories of running around Pegfair Estate, which was the name of the mansion owned by Barbie Benton, who was a Playboy playmate and absolutely gorgeous. I would listen to my dad tell people about the architecture of the homes and the history of the people who designed and built them. At a very young age, I was very well cultured and had an appreciation that I hadn’t yet realized for the beauty of the city I grew up in.
One day in February of 1978 out of nowhere, and without asking my permission or how I felt about it, my mom brought home a little baby brother for me. My mom spent a lot of time in bed when she came home and I definitely felt the effects of there being a new kid on the block. No longer was I the center of attention, or the favorite. But I don’t think that it really bothered me too much. Miles was a cute little kid who had the most adorable long dark eyelashes and beautiful curls of hair. I was a big sister and for the most part, I liked it.
My first grade school year was spent at a private school full of snooty kids that all wore designer clothing and called me “Twiggy”, which made me cry because I thought it sounded horrible. Little did I know that she was a British cultural icon and a prominent teen model in sixties London. I will never know where these kids got that name from, or why they thought it was an appropriate name to use when teasing me. That was my first experience (and certainly not my last) in being bullied. But more on that in later posts.
I had a seemingly “normal” childhood and was a seemingly well adjusted and happy child. No abuse or addiction or neglect from my parents. I went to good schools and always had the best of everything. There is nothing in my childhood that stands out to me as something that would have made me go in a bad direction as I got older. I still am not quite sure how or why it happened.