In the last week because of two small comments that were causally expressed by two men friends of mine, I have once again become aware that my life is a life of opposites. When I was a very young child I was serious and worried about everything from possible bad luck in my future to my own death. Strange behavior for a child who lived in a pretty normal home with a traditional mother who was a stay at home mom and a father who worked hard and paid the bills. I had two happy, healthy, pretty, popular, sisters, both of whom became cheerleaders. Both of my sisters cruised through school. My youngest sister was elected Homecoming Queen. School for me was just something to be endured. I really liked all of my friends and I liked weekends and vacations and holidays. However, couldn’t hide the fact that I was opposite from the rest of my family.
As I have mentioned in past posts, I only had about four dates in high school however, Frankie Valli (the lead singer in the group called “The Four Seasons”) saw me through a glass partition at the largest radio station in Chicago where a friend of mine and I were there to pick up a gift that I had won from some radio contest. I was fourteen years old and Frankie Valli came out to meet me. He proceeded to introduce me to Martha, from the group, Martha and the Vandellas, after which, he asked me to be his date to a party that same night in downtown Chicago. I WAS 14 YEARS OLD AND HAD ONLY BEEN ON ONE DATE in my life. I didn’t go out with him. Are you starting to get the message? My life is a life of opposites. Now, let’s go a bit forward into my future. I am in my third year of high school and I am still a wallflower, when I am invited to Hugh Heffner’s mansion to a few parties. Do I have any boyfriends in high school? No, but I meet a married man who is a friend of my parent’s friends and who is semi famous and he asks me out. My mother found out about this and sent my father along with us. That was the end of that possible affair. Still not one boy in high school is interested in me. My life of opposites is begining.
In college I go to a small college in Iowa for my first two years. Who do I meet in a small town in Iowa but a large group of kids from New York and Long Island? Next, who becomes my best friend at this little Iowa University, the daughter of an important boss from one of the mob families in New York? My friends form a group and we call ourselves “The New Yorkers” even though I am from Chicago, I am welcomed into the group. The only boy I kiss in at this University (who is one of the leaders of our group) I later suspect was dropped into our college by our government to watch the kids of the New York mob. Are you starting to see how my life is a life of opposites? After this young man breaks my heart. I leave Iowa and where do I go next? Paris, France, where else? From Iowa to France, opposites.
In Paris I make friends with a group of very interesting friends but once again I really didn’t date the kids in my college. No, however, a wealthy, older business owner flies in to Paris to see me quite often and he invites me out to lovely, exciting, fabulous, spots. When I go to Spain for a spring break trip with my roommate I meet a much older, married, Spanish, doctor from Chicago. After seeing me in a store and talking to me for a short time, he offers to set me up in an apartment as his mistress and he will pay me money every year. If we have any children he will pay for them to go through college. He will go to his lawyer and make a contract that we both will sign. When he gets back to Chicago he finds my number and calls my mother to explain his whole plan. By the way, this wasn’t a joke, he meant it. My mother thought it was very funny. I didn’t even date him. This was all after short conversation. Do I have a normal boyfriend like a normal college girl? NO, that would be too normal. It’s sit at home and read for weeks on end by myself or become a mistress to a wealthy, famous, married, doctor. Opposites. Instead, I just sat by myself and read a lot of books.
The next year I am in London, England. I spent two years in London and not one English person asked me out. A very nice young man from South America who was a student at my college and I assumed from his lifestyle and conversation that he was possibly a wealthy male prostitute, became my friend. He asked me out and we went to some wonderful parties and to private screenings of movies. A man who is the leader of a small country asks me out a few times while I was studying in London. I met a prince or two and one King. I took a trip to the Soviet Union on another spring break and met a man who would become the best friend of my life, however, not one student asked me out in my two years in London. I studied, talked to a few friends, studied more and took dance class at Covent Garden. So my life has been both boring and exciting … no in-between. A life of Opposites.
Luckily I have stayed in the very best hotels in the world, been to the best restaurants. Driven in the best cars. Had a limousine driver walk behind me at Harrods in London to carry my bags. Still, I took buses and the Tube in London the Metro in Paris however, there were years I had to walk a lot when there wasn’t money for a bus or a taxi. Been known to struggle and work very hard for many years. Had to scrimp and save. For years I got up at 5 A.M. and worked to 10 P.M. at a few thankless jobs. Often had to wear the same shoes and clothes until they wore out. Sold shoes and sold fine jewelry at Macy’s. I also worked with my “was-band” in his perfume company and was told by perfume executives that I was a genius in the design and marketing of many perfume and cosmetics. I was on a yacht with multimillionaires and sat all afternoon talking with Jackie Onassis’s last boyfriend. (BTW he was very nice.) Once, in my 50’s an alcoholic real estate boss fired me for folding letters and placing these letters into their envelopes improperly. In other words, it has been a life of opposites. Really the best of times and sometimes the worst of times, to paraphrase Charles Dickens. Sorry Charles.
Almost every man I have dated in my life has been the complete opposite of me. When I met my “was-band” he was a French racecar driver. I spent many years hanging on for dear life while my husband raced on tiny roads around the mountains in Europe at 100 miles an hour. Me? I drive the speed limit or 5 to 10 miles over the limit if it is sunny and I have two spaces between the next car and myself. To this day if anyone is interested in me or visa versa and if we are total opposites in every way, well, let’s say my interest perks up immediately. Maybe, just maybe being opposites makes romance a bit more fun?
Maybe these opposites in my life have made a fuller life? Could it be that I have been lucky to see both sides of life? Maybe I have had to learn how hard life can be, to be able to see how wonderful life can be, to appreciate being alive?
As a young child I was really very serious and afraid of death. Now, I’m opposite. As a senior, I try to see the happy, silly side of life and the oddly funny side of life. I learned a big lesson about death … death isn’t hard; it’s living that can really be hard. Now, I am opposite to that child from my past.
Until Next Week…