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Sisters

Sisters

Me and Mini Me
OR My Life Was Being Stalked by a Midget

Linda is three years younger than me and is one of the kindest people I have ever known. But back then, what a pain in the neck! She followed me everywhere and was a self-appointed spy for my parents. She'd jump out of the bushes where she'd been hiding, watching me and my best friend Jeannie have a tea party with our Barbie dolls in Jeannie's back yard. I used a "dirty" word once when I spilled tea on my blouse.
"I'm telling mommy what you said!" she screamed and ran through Mr. and Mrs. Cotton's back yard braving their sticker bushes just so she could get home before me and "report" me.

It was all about deep imagination then, tied to epic emotions; betrayal, love, incredible vanity, revenge, and bitter, heart-rending disappointment. Our lives settled down, but for women who have sisters the life-and-death level of drama remains.


Same Place, Different Time

Same Place, Different Time

Here we are again in the side yard where the grass was always greener than in the front or the back of the house. The baby tree behind us was planted by our father because both Linda and I loved the scent of mimosa. We weren't getting along well with dad at this time and the tree was a kind of peace offering from him. It didn't work. The cultural divide between parents and children was almost unbridgeble then. Behind our long hair, we were probably whispering about the war or the civil rights movement, two verboten subjects in our home.


Queen Mary

Queen Mary

My college roommate, MaryAnn, was from a ridiculously rich family, her father having made his money marketing frozen seafood. Maryann was arrogant, proud, romantic. In our senior year, we rented an apartment together on Beacon Hill. For this very posed photograph, she bought the artificial flowers and the vase and found an appropriately regal chair at the Salvation Army store. I am looking at the camera, but it is the camera that looks at MaryAnn. Though I admired her she also frightened me with her sense of entitlement. She had burning ambition as well. I was wrestling with politics, feminism, love, and the purpose of art as well as trying to pare down the meaning of life into something small enough to be energizing rather than paralyzing. Such considerations never bothered MaryAnn. I think it was the money. After graduation, we never saw each other again.


Playboy Bunny, moi! (Where did I get those eyelashes?)

Playboy Bunny, moi! (Where did I get those eyelashes?)

Here I am, back in the day, a Playboy Bunny and a card carrying member of the AFL-CIO! A great job in many ways, not at all what I thought it would be. In addition to learning the Bunny Dip, the Bunny Perch, the call-in order, the high-carry and the low-carry, I met women (yes, we called ourselves "women", not "girls") of every nationality on the planet. Plus single moms, students, rich, poor and everything in between. Our Bunny Mother called us a "little UN."


Hotel on Ice

Hotel on Ice

It was January and we were shooting a movie of the week at a beautiful hotel on the Upper East Side. I was the stand-in for the lead, Deborah Raffin. In such small rooms, packed with lights and huge, heat emitting equipment, the windows needed to be kept open and the radiators turned off. It was FREEZING! I wore my down vest in every setup shot. The crew seemed immune to the cold but I and the rest of the stand-ins would jump under the covers whenever we weren't working.


Who was this guy?

Who was this guy?

I don't remember. You spend weeks and weeks on a set, pretty much giving up your own life to join a band of movie gypsies because you work ridiculous hours under very trying circumstances. You eat with them, socialize with them, and very often wind up in a romantic relationship with someone. You shoot in a NY hotel one day and a shopping center in central New Jersey the next. The non-stars on the set don't get to hang out in their private trailers so you learn good survival techniques like jumping into the bed with everyone else who's cold. If the director and lead actors set a tone of conviviality, there's nothing like it. I take that back. Working on a theatre piece is even better, because it's grounded in reality.
Deborah Raffin was wonderful. a woman with class, which is a word people rarely use, or understand, anymore. At the end of the shoot, she gave me a porcelain box from Tiffany's along with a very gracioius "thank-you" note. There was another shoot later that same year, with a different blond leading lady and I wanted to throw the porcelain box at that woman's head!


Me and Alan

Me and Alan

Taken on the back porch of my duplex apartment on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Four of us lived there - pocket doors, a fireplace (not working but very pretty), studio space for my artist roommate, 2 1/2 baths, a terrace and invaluable 19th century structural beauty. We paid $250.00 each per month. On this warm spring day, my college friend Alan stopped by to say hello. He was thrilled to be living in Manhattan openly as a gay man. In 1992 he died of AIDS.


Park Guell, Barcelona Spain

Park Guell, Barcelona Spain

I'd sailed to Europe on a student ship but when we docked in South Hampton, my boyfriend and I took off together to the continent. In Barcelona the brilliant but disturbing architecture of Antoni Gaudi, dominates the city. Like all good artists, he provides a road map to the unspoken, and the unrealized in ourselves. I rediscovered this photo last week and I thought how sad and austere I appeared to be; rigidly posed, hair pulled back, stark white top unadorned with color. Glued to the back of the photograph, I found a poem I wrote. I don't know if it's from the same time period, but serendipity makes it so. This is it:

Time is nothing but forgetting
Healing plays no part.
Wounds are opened over and over,
And we all die from a broken heart.

Underneath the poem I wrote,"The meter is suspect, the sentiment weak." Reading it now, I kind of like it.


It's not Harvey, it's me

It's not Harvey, it's me

I was a Bunny for two years, so twice I had to sit for a photo that would be kept in the Chicago office files. Somewhere they have a yearbook of everyone who ever worked for Playboy. I was a budding feminist then, proud to be marching in the stiletto-heeled army of Gloria Steinem and Deborah Harry. Strange confluence but it did work.