My Beginning with The Beach Boys
Updated: Jan 22, 2021
In 1969 I was 13 and still recovering from that embarrassing exposé about my first period in Italy! I was starting to feel those woman-like feelings..you know, certain tingles when you saw a boy you thought was cute.
We used to shop at the Farmers Market on Fairfax in L.A. Mom would buy all her fresh produce from a vendor Sam. He had a very sweet wife and a son, Greg. Greg was almost four years older than me and I had a serious crush on him. When Mom would go shopping I went with her. Anything to see Greg. He had the prettiest blue eyes and was always very kind to me. I'm sure he thought I was just a cute kid with an obvious crush on him. He was nice enough to hang out with me, taking me to get ice cream, to the movies and even a concert every now and then. Mom trusted him and loved his family so she let me go with him. We had fun. Greg was always a gentleman. He was also my real first kiss. I later found out that he grew quite fond of me. But he knew that we had too much of an age difference for us to have a future together especially in those early years. Greg went into the Navy and I even attended his graduation from Boot Camp. We wrote letters back and forth for the following couple of years. Life moved on and so did we. A few years later he met Sheryl, the love of his life. They’ve been happily married for many years.
It was 1970 and Dad was working on MASH, a wonderful film starring Donald Sutherland, Elliott Gould, Robert Duvall, Tom Skerritt, Sally Kellerman and others. This was of course the pre-cursor to the successful 12-year-long TV series.
For me, 1970 proved to be a good yet challenging year. I studied hard, took entrance exams and graduated from 8th grade with the medal of excellence from Blessed Sacrament. Dad wanted me to go to the best school he could find. So he worked on getting me into The Marlborough School, a very selective school in L.A.'s Hancock Park. The entrance exam was long and arduous. Your grades had to be impeccable, your test scores high and your references off the charts to get into the school.
The school dates back to 1889 when Mary Caswell, a young teacher from Maine, founded what would soon become Marlborough School, now the oldest independent girls' school in Southern California. Dad knew many big wigs in and out of the film industry. He called in a favor to his friend, the honorable Gerald "Pat" Brown, California's former governor. He asked him to write a letter to Marlborough on my behalf encouraging the school to accept me. Between Pat Brown's letter and scoring well on the entrance exam, I was accepted. I was very nervous on my first day at Marlborough. New school, new teachers, new kids. I've always been a very social fun-loving person, but this was a very different environment than I was used to. I met a few girls that became good friends, Debbie, Melissa, Bettina and others. Although it never really mattered much to me, our school was filled with celeb kids, such as Lucinda Winters (Jonathan Winters' daughter) Stephanie Zimbalist, Elizabeth Stack and others. They were all nice girls, particularly Lucinda. Her father was such a hoot to be around. I remember spending the night at her house once. He would get down on the floor and crawl into her room as if he were a dog while we were talking and listening to music. He loved catching us by surprise while impersonating his wacky characters. Jonathan was a brilliant comic, a sweet man, but I knew he wasn't easy to live with. Geniuses rarely are.
I also met Carl Wilson of the Beach Boys in 1970. I spent a lot of time in Santa Monica with two girlfriends. It just so happened that Carl and his wife at the time, Annie, lived next door to the girls. Carl and Annie were very friendly to us and as we grew older we were often given back stage passes to the Beach Boys concerts. We also babysat for Carl and Annie’s two sons, Justyn and Jonah. We took their sons trick or treating one year. They were good kids and easy to take care of, well, most of the time. ;) The concerts were amazing. Going back stage was always a treat. You never knew who would be back there. It was normal to find other musicians like Jan and Dean, Jackson Brown, Frankie Valli, Loggins and Messina, John and Christine McVie of Fleetwood Mac and others. One summer, my girlfriend Renee and I were asked to house sit for the McVie’s at their Laurel Canyon home. It was amazing. A gorgeous home with all the amenities, including a beautiful pool and fantastic view of L.A. That was one spectacular weekend, but nothing compared to what was to come.
Until next time...