My childhood was amazing! My life began with gifts I didn’t know I was lucky to have. Probably 75% of the world’s population would trade with me. Lucky to be in Southern California growing up although as with anything it came with challenges. Laguna Beach is expensive, and even upper middle class feels poor when kids come to school in Porsches and Ferraris.
Having the ocean close, culture galore, full array of ethnicities, and constant entertainment shaped much of me. An occasional serial killer, rapist, missing person, and gay bashing were the crimes of my time. I was raised by a homicide detective who drilled safety and personal responsibility into my core. Mom took me to plays, musicals, concerts, and ballets. We had Disneyland, Sea World, Wild Animal Park, minutes away, and we went! I was a world champion baton twirler and traveled to Chicago and Noter Dame for competitions. My brother was a BMX champion who trained in Pennsylvania.
The great tragedy of my life of course, was the loss of my Father in 1981. Killed suddenly in a plane crash when he was just a young man and I just 7 years old. No matter the practicing, the trips, or the great gifts I was given could fill that void.
After that, we spent part of our summer in Pennsylvania with our Father’s parents. They took us to ALL the historic sites and fun the place had to offer! Liberty Bell, Gettysburg, Williamsburg, Valley Forge, Hershey, but my favorite was when we sailed the Chesapeake, caught blue crab off chicken bones and string, pushed myself off the hull and squished my toes in the silty bay bottom, rowed the dingy all over the bay, slept under the stars and got drenched in beautiful thunderstorms.I smile now remembering those summers.Then back home to epic camping and skiing trips with Aunt Lynda and Lu Lu. Yosemite, Big Bear, Mammoth, Catalina, Brianhead, UT. I was an ok skier, but my Brother was incredible! Mom took us to Aspen one time so Jeff could fly!
All along the California coast was new adventures. Surfing, fishing, volleyball, exploring, swimming, I got a job at a chique cafe where celebrities fluttered in and out undeterred.I was unkind to my Mother as a teenager, as most preteen girls are. My precocious, independent spirit refused all conventional things. I had to graduate 2 years early. I needed to get to college to learn philosophy and become a great actress. Nevermind, I’ll just go work in Hollywood.
In the midst of all this, I was torn and conflicted not understanding who I really was and who I wanted to be. Part of me longed to be an actress, and I had proved to be talented, I worked on TV shows, a few movies, but part of me longed for a simpler life and rejected fame.I have learned to live with this duality, for the most part, albeit it’s a daily torture. When I was younger it caused violent swings. Starting with my sudden move to Springfield, MO. To this day I shake my head and wonder what the hell was I thinking!? The BEST part of moving there was the road trip, with Aunt Lynda and Aunt Lu Lu. Antiquing on the way, stopping at the Grand Canyon to take a helicopter ride, WOW, and Aunt Lynda making a guy on the most wanted list and calling in local authorities to arrest him. The second best part of moving there was my departure from the wretched place.Off to San Francisco I went. This move set a course for my life which led to several poor, desperate choices, heartbreaks, successes, joys, loves, and experiences many dream of, few achieve. Motorcycle trip coast to coast, four trips to Europe, countless trips to Mexico, half a dozen to the Carribean, well over a thousand days at sea, six times driving back and forth across country filled the first half of my life.
That grand upbringing gave me something far more valuable than money, a degree, or success in society’s 401k driven book. It gave me courage to seek many paths and chose several of my own. I was just at a bar in the Portland airport and a woman asked after I gave her a snip of what I have done, “What do you do for a living that allows you to live this life.”“Everything and anything I want or need to.” Is my answer. The sad woman lives in Maui, and is miserable. MOVE!!! My husband is the breadwinner and he’s still working. I’m not going to touch a statement like that as tears well in her eyes. How may people would love to have her life? What is the point if you are miserable?
I’ve risen and fallen, lived a decadent life and a desperate one, I’ve poured my heart into it and almost given up, but I’ve lived! The challenges have been tough; I’ve fought hard! More than once I’ve heard you CAN’T do that. My coaches words always whispered in my head, “Don’t tell me what you can do..show me!”So I do!