Tuesday, April 01, 2014

A 70's Redux

     Met my friend Peggy at Venice Beach this past Sunday. 

My friend is a loving grandmother, and she'd come out from Arizona to visit her daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter who were meeting some college friends at Venice Beach. They dropped her off so Peg and I were able to talk alone and without inhibition. Not that inhibitions were ever a big concern in our circle. Or being inappropriate. Or politically correct. 

We were roommates in graduate school.  I had been living in the graduate dorm at ASU, which was a converted motel complete with an outdoor pool in the center of the complex. Since I didn't know how to cook, dorms were no problem for me, but I wanted a cat. 

Felines were fine with Peg, but she wanted to be completely honest with me. "I date black guys," she said. "That's okay . . . I date women." It was 1974, Black Student Union was active on campus and the Women's Movement was in full blossom. Hawkish Senators, batshit crazy Governors and Border Patrols were aspects of Arizona we didn't encounter. Experimental was the catch-word, at least for me. We bonded over disco and went dancing at least three nights a week. I got a job in academia, but eventually moved over to the business side. Cut my hair, moved to California. Peggy remained in Arizona.

  My Student ID

She married a white guy and had two daughters. I married a man and had two sons. We've both managed to stay married and except for the intense years when our children were young and our careers surging at full force, we've stayed in touch.

Peggy has maintained the luminous essence of her youth. We weren't maidens back then–we shirked that veil with joy–but curiosity about the world and our part in it, is still there. Not all of my friends have that quality. Some of them have rushed into cronedom with relief, it seems.

Our afternoon came to an end all too soon, and we met up with her daughter and two of her girlfriends. "This is my friend, Sandra," Peg said, introducing me to the young women. "When we were roommates she used to walk around the condo naked." The young women studied a crack in the sidewalk. She wasn't finished. "Sandra is an author and her book won two prizes, plus she was on a list with Sonia Sotomayor!"

"Nudist's Who Know It All," I said. They looked stunned. "Just kidding, guys. Her autobiography and my historical fiction were on the same top 10 list." They'd been holding their breaths and laughed with relief. I said goodbye so Peg wouldn't volunteer any other info, and believe me, she knows too much.

I used to rollerskate at Venice. Now, it's all about skateboarding.

 Shadow of a skateboarder about to take flight.

Only female skateboarder that afternoon.

On the walk back to my truck, I stopped at a Vintage Clothing store. The rack of jean shorts brought back memories. Short shorts were the rage back-in-the-day and under the hot desert sun. I texted Peg to tease her. "Remember your thong jean shorts? Those babies were just a seam and lots of air!"

Not sure she'll share that piece of history with her daughters. 

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