For those of you who don't know, my favorite film of all time is the 1958 classic, Auntie Mame starring the incomparable Rosalind Russell. Oh here, I have to share before we go a moment further. Here, just a taste...the theatrical trailer:
What I need to tell you is that behind the scenes, besides the funny posts I'm writing here, I'm also writing behind the scenes, and today I minted a red-hot chapter called "Preparedness."
It was after today's chapter that I realized something peculiar. What most people don't know that way back in 1987, my nephew's due date was August 1st. I looked at my sister when she was about six months pregnant, patted her belly and said to my darling boy, "Ok baby, be born on my birthday!" As we all know, my birthday is September 25th, and being that I guess my darling boy heard me, he held out one month and 15 days, much to the chagrin of my sister, being born on September the 15th, just ten days shy of my 16th birthday. He was my gift that year, one that has given me nothing but joy over the last 24 years.
As Auntie Mame says it so perfectly, "It was love at first sight."
As she so aptly told Mr. Dwight Babcock from the Knickerbocker Bank:
"Your plans! Your plans! Did it ever occur to you that this boy might be hungry for something that you've never heard of? When Patrick walked into my life, a frightened little boy hanging onto Nora's hand, it was was love at first sight. For nine years I've tried to open some windows in his life and all you want to do is shut him up in some, some safe deposit box. Well I won't let you do that to my little one. No, he's not little anymore. And he's not mine. But he's not yours either and I doubt very much that Patrick will allow you to settle him down in some dry-veined, restricted community, make him an Aryan from Darien, and marry him of to some girl with braces on her brain!"
And that is EXACTLY what I did for the entirety of his childhood. I was the "foreign" element, sometimes unwanted, but nonetheless ever-present. I stressed to him before he did anything else was to get out and see what the world had to offer, telling him, "live, Live, LIVE! Life's a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death!" Ironically, he became a chef. That's my Sweet Boy.
The peculiar part is that the first time I saw Auntie Mame it was while Nan was in the delivery room giving birth to my sweet boy, so I guess it's only fitting that tonight, like a thunderbolt, I figured out the parallels between that movie and my life, and they are extraordinary.
Case in point #1, the Staircase Entrance.
While my sweet boy was 10, I was 26 and knee-deep in the social scene. From sitting in the exclusive balcony at the opening of the Hard Rock Hotel with my friend Gene T. the fellas from Motley Crue, to soaking up the Spago scene, descending a staircase much like Mame's and dealing with the "Chickanite", Alex, Anthony, Carlos and the whole Boys Club.
Trust me, in those days, an olive took up way too much space in that little glass.
Case in point #2, Uncle Bo.
For years I promised my nephew that I would find him a suitable uncle, and try as I might, I found my camera-obsessed, mountain-climbing ex with his very "Mrs. Burnside" like mother. Trust me, I looked at my giant wooden spoon giving ex-mother-in-law the exact same way Mame looked at Mrs. Burnside. Here's the funny part. How Bo exits the picture. Mame and Bo are up on the Matterhorn and he climbs up a little higher to get a snapshot, what do we hear, "Yoh-de-lay-he-hooo, Yoh-de-lay-he-hoo, Yah-de-lay-heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee..." as he falls off the mountain.
Sure enough, my ex sure did jump off of a cliff when he decided to take off with the BHFB. So, bye Bo!
Case in point #3, Gloria Upson
My nephew has always had an affinity for women...so much so that at 4-years-old he wanted to know why boys stood up and girls sat down, so he looked at a little girl and said "Show." Much to everyone's dismay, she "showed." ("Show" will be covered later. It's a hysterical story. One of my favorites. Sorry boy, it's funny, it's gotta get told.) Yes, a real ladies man in the making...which brings us to, Gloria Upson.
Now of course the young woman I'm going to reference will go without a name, she's not a player here. But I will have to say the one remarkable feature she did have is that she had a mouth like a horse. Every time I looked at her, I'm ashamed to say it, but I neighed. "Hm-hm-hm-hm-hm". Forgive me. LOL!
I took one look at that young woman, took my nephew to the side and said a very stern "No." Not for my sweet boy, not in this life or the next. A girl with a mouth like a horse, what was that boy thinking!
Happily my Sweet Boy found his equivalent to Pegeen Ryan, a real little fireball that keeps him on his toes. Well done Pegeen. Now that's what I call a girl for my Sweet Boy.
Case in point #4, Brian O'Bannion
Since I've started the book process, I've had a ne'er-do-well try to stick his burly, beer-drinking self in the middle of my writing, criticizing more points than he could get his hands on and absolutely contributing nothing. Where he might have left with the Deusenberg, today we can gratefully say that Brian O'Bannion has hit the bricks and I am in full-swing of my literary phase, to which I can only say, "Look, look, everyone, I'm in print, just like Edna Ferber."
Gratefully, I won't have to donate a home to refugee children to get everything in my life straightened out.
I have yet to find my Agnes Gooch, Nora and Ito. I have the distinct feeling they'll come with time.
But all the players are here, from Acacius Page and his lotus juice to Auntie Vera from Pittsburgh.
Thank goodness. Wacky, wild or otherwise, it's good to be a little Mame.