Mama (part 3)
Updated: Nov 5, 2020
Mama, Dad, Grandma and and my Aunt immediately focused on me. Understandable with a new baby, but not in the way it was handled - or so I imagine. Lili was 10 when I showed up. She soon realized she was no longer the star of the show. Mama told me that Lili started acting out by the time I was 18 months old. Now mind you, this is all hearsay, but when I reflect on my experiences with with Lili throughout the years, I totally believe it. According to one story, I was taking an afternoon nap when Lili snuck in to my room and tried to suffocate me with a pillow. Apparently, my grandmother came in the nick of time. Do I believe this was possible? Yes. Could it have been exaggerated? Maybe. But why would someone tell such a horrid story if it wasn’t true? I’ve pondered this question for years. In any event, the family kept a keen eye on my sister whenever we were together.
Dad was still away on location filming. When he was back, he spent as much time as he could with me. By the time I was two, Mama was ready to call it quits with Dad. She didn’t love him and wanted a forever love. It was easy for her to continue her Hollywood mingling thanks to my grandmother and great aunt being built in babysitters.
One night a young man by the name of Michael was leaving a club on the Sunset Strip when he saw a raving beauty. It was Mama waiting for her car at the valet. Michael said to himself, “I’m going to marry her one day.” He jumped in his vehicle and followed her to her apartment. Mama pulled into the garage and Michael took note of the address and drove home. That night he decided to rent an apartment next to Mama’s apartment on Laurel Avenue.
The next day he rented a one-bedroom unit at the Laurel Avenue apartment building where Mama lived. Once the papers were signed, he waited in his car until Mama arrived home. He followed her up the stairs. Michael was a tall attractive 25 year old with dark hair and blue eyes. He introduced himself to Mama. He wasted no time asking her out, to which Mama replied, “I don’t even know you.” Michael told her that he was a neighbor in the building and just wanted to take her out for a cocktail, and that she could talk to the apartment manager to get his references. Still no go with Mama. But Michael was persistent. Mama gave in after his third attempt. You see she was taken with him too. He was quite handsome and Dad was still away on location.
That’s all it took. Mama and Michael stayed out until the wee hours of the morning. They both knew that this was the beginning of a lifetime of love.
A few weeks later Mama asked Dad for a divorce. Dad declined. In those days, you had to have the full agreement of both parties to divorce.
At Mama’s insistence, Dad moved out of the apartment and rented another place just a couple miles away to stay close to me. He was destroyed. She was the love of his life. Sadly, this was the start of Dad’s long affair with alcohol, an affair that would slowly kill him over decades.
Mama continued to ask for a divorce. Finally, Dad agreed.
Mama and Mike (as we called him) were married in 1960 much to my father’s chagrin.
They were married for 53 years up until Mama’s passing in September of 2012. Mike passed away some three years later.
But all of this was before the years of torment I suffered from him beginning at the age of 3.
Until next time...