Saturday, July 05, 2008

Sunday Scribblings - Hanging with Celebrities

It was the summer of 1975 when I was 14 and boy crazy. My family was finishing up our three week RV vacation from hell. We had driven from CA to NJ straight across the good ole USA. Traveling home by way of Florida and the southern states. I missed most of the majestic views with my nose stuck in romance novels, bored to tears. My mom kept me well supplied with books throughout the trip to keep the peace between my younger brother and I. What do you get when you stick a bored 12yr old boy with his 14yr old sister couped up in a hot RV? Big trouble!

My mom decided she wanted to visit her aunt Booge in Newhall, CA on our way home. She owned a gun club in the boonies of southern CA. It was actually not very far from Hollywood but it looked like we were in the middle of nowhere at the time. Booge was an older woman that loved her gin, smoked and talked like a sailor. She didn't like kids and never had any of her own. She said what she thought and didn't care about tact. She didn't hesitate to ask my parents to leave me with her for the summer before we left. She said "just leave that one here and I'll put her to work" and mom mentioned my younger brother and she said "he's too young." I knew that with two working parents I'd be stuck at home all summer with my little brother. I begged to be left with this intimidating character called Booge and they reluctantly agreed.


The Oak Tree Gun Club was full of cute high school boys hired to pull skeet and trap for the summer. I was the only girl besides my aunt and felt as if I'd died and gone to heaven. Did I mention Magic Mountain was 3 miles away? We pulled skeet and trap for hunters and the very rich. Actors, brain surgeons and producers. They would tip us if we carried their caviar and champagne ice chests to the range. If we did not hit the button fast enough they would complain and get a new trap kid or a free round. I could not stand these stuck up men but I liked the tournament guys that were considered the good ole boys. They also liked having a sweet young thing like me at the range. I learned to shoot 12 gauge shot guns, but sported a bruised cheek for a week until I learned to keep my head down.


Do you recognise this regular? In 1975 he was know as Mr. Universe, who knew he'd be my Governor one day. Without the oiled skin he looked somewhat normal in shorts and a tank. I was ready to go on a date with the cutest trap boy at the range when my aunt called me into her office. Rolling my eye's I rushed into the office and there was this guy with her. My aunt said "Tammy I'd like you to meet a friend of mine" and she continued "Arnold this is my niece Tammy." He put his hand out so I did the same, but instead of shaking it he kissed it saying "Taaamy I'm very pleeeased to met you." I looked at him strangely and then looked at my aunt with eyes that begged to be excused. I responded with good manners and hurried off to my date. I pulled trap for Arnold later that week and because his muscles were so big, he could not bend them to pull the trigger. He could hit 17 out of 25 targets from the hip. Now that impressed me but Mr. Universe, not so much. He was a genuinely nice guy without an ego.



This guy was not just a regular but a family friend. He'd hang out after hours with his wife and stay for a BBQ. One day he asked me who my favorite movie star was and I swooned in my baked beans replying "Jan Michael Vincent." He chuckled and said he was making a movie with him called "Big Wednesday" and would try and get him to the range. I never got the chance to meet him that summer after all. Funny how these guys made it and my poor Jan Michael ended up a drug addict. Steven was also down to earth but probably doesn't remember that trap girl of 75.

That summer I was free to discover myself, learn a good work ethic, how to shoot and meet people that were really cool. Fourteen year old girls don't go gaw gaw for 30yr old actors and directors. Now if the guys from Teen Beat magazine were there shooting I would never have gone home. I wish I would have gone back every summer but high school and boyfriends became a priority. The summer of 75 rocked!

37 comments:

Jan said...

Your story is really cool...and the summer of '75 rocked for me, too...as that was the year i graduated h.s. Anyway, it sounds like an adventure of a lifetime that summer! I met Steven S. too, when my husband and I were involved with the grand opening of the National D-Day Museum in New Orleans...Of course Steven directed Saving Private Ryan, and therefore, Tom Hanks was there too. I was so crazy...I went up and took up their time talking and getting autographs and shaking hands...but surprisingly, they were both completely natural and didn't seem to mind a bit! Take care.

Robbin with 2 B's! said...

TOO COOL!

Giggles said...

Impressive Tammy. Love this story! But I love all of them. Although I have never been star struck I could imagine all the other fun that transpired . I was pretty boy crazy myself. Seems like you weren't too star struck either!! haha! I had been married two years in 75!

Hugs Sherrie

Devil Mood said...

Ooh that's pretty unforgetable, though you probably would have enjoyed it more at another age. It's funny how our interest in people is different in different ages. But Mr. Universe sounded like a nice guy :)

khambagirl said...

Way cool! I love your stories!!! I graduated from U of O in 1975, and went to Chicago to start PT school!!!

anno said...

Wow! I can see why this was a memorable summer -- and a great story to share! Loved the pic of the young Arnie. You're right, who would have guessed he'd end up as governor?

paisley said...

this was so fun tammy,, whatt a star studded walk down memory lane... and i was with you in the jan michael vincent thing...

Just Jen said...

What do you get when you stick a bored 12yr old boy with his 14yr old sister couped up in a hot RV? Big trouble!

Just like that RV movie with Robin Williams...LOL

That`s so cool! That`s an awesome thing to do at 14! My son is 14 and there`s no way I`d let him do anything like that but this is now...LOL...back then I also learned to `keep my head down` and not shoot from the cheek and with rifles-don`t shoot from the shoulder..ouch!...LOL

That`s neat that you met the who`s who before they were really who`s who...and that story of Arnold...hahahaha
I got a good laugh at his shootin!

um, I hate to admit this but I was 3 years old in 1975...lol

danni said...

every girl needs an aunt booge in her life to get things in gear and help with some of the growing up --- and they absolutely MUST! be a character, i think - i had my tante helen and i loved her to death, especially when she was being outrageous --- you lucked out that you got one! - i so enjoyed reading your memoir of such an important time in your life and that it was so fun for you!!! --- thanks for stopping by and leaving your message at my spot - you really got it - bless you!!!

rebecca said...

wow! look at you rubbing elbows with the big guns! but as a 14 year old, you weren't impressed, huh? yeah, they were too old for you to care back then (i wouldn't have been either -- at 14 i was into the monkees and the partridge family). but boy, i bet you now you have some appreciation for it!

scary aunt or not, i bet you that was the best summer of your life! awesome.....this was the best story i read for this prompt....look at that little gem you had hidden up your sleeve!

Granny Smith said...

This is as enjoyable read as I have had in a long time! So fun, too, to see our governor when he was a body building champ. I went through a phase as a teenager when movie stars and even movie directors were the center of my existence. I think I would have been super impressed with meeting Steven S. And I think your Aunt Booge must have been a double for my Aunt Emma.

I learned early to shoot rifle and pistol, but I my first experience with a shotgun was much like yours.

What you seem to have captured here is essence of summer, youth, and a sense of the freedom one feels when first out of the sphere of their parents' influence - even if Aunt Booge kept your nose to the grindstone. A very nice grindstone!

fearfullymade said...

I was a bump in my Mummy's tummy in the summer of 75!
Anyway, cool story! Your writing is totally turning up a notch. Not that it wasn't always great but this is awesome!

Robin said...

What a great story and great read! Definitely the stuff memories are made of...

Remiman said...

Tammy,
Holy Smokes girl, that is a totally awesome memoir. If I'd have met Arnold (or in my case Reg Park, the era before Arnold) I'd have choked on my tongue.
Arnold's poster has a place of honor on the wall in my gym.
My almost thirteen year old grand daughter is the personnification of the 14 year old Tammy you've described here. When she's not swimming or playing games with her uncle Jacob she's got her nose stuck in a book.
rel

gautami tripathy said...

Great! I loved the narration. And I envy you!

defining boundaries

lucy said...

you really know how to tell a story and keep us all glued to the screen! What fun memories to share Tam! In 75 I was 16 and also boy crazy like crazy! haha :))

Geraldine said...

This was just great Tammy! What a story of fun and excitement. I agree withyou, 75 DID rock! Thanks for sharing this with all of us.

www.mypoeticpath.wordpress.com

THE BLUEST BUTTERFLY said...

I am glad that you have been able to change the number of years that you have battled to 17. The only thing that would make me happier was if there was a cure.

linda said...

wow, how cool was that for a teenager like you...I'll bet they thought YOU were pretty cute! And your aunt sounds like she was a hoot!

thanks for sharing....it was a fun read!

Mary Timme said...

Wow! my closest brushes with fame were sharing an airplane with some awful comedians. I was super unimpressed. I can see why your summer of 75 rocked. Nice stories!

THE BLUEST BUTTERFLY said...

That was fascinating. :-)

emmapeelDallas said...

What a great story! Summer of '75 I was 25 years old and pregnant with Alex...

:)

paris parfait said...

Great story, wonderfully told, Tammy! xoxox

Kay said...

What a great account ... amazing. Summer of 75 has such a nice ring to it - for me literally, as that was when I got engaged!

Gill said...

I loved reading about you rubbing shoulders with the famous. What a memorable holiday!

Brian said...

Great memories Tammy and I'm glad you remember with such fondness.

I hope to see you back this Friday for the next Rockin' Chair Writers prompt.


((((((hugs))))

daisies said...

:) what fabulous memories you have of 14!! took me back to my own teenage summers though i must admit there were no celebrities involved, tee hee

Nancy said...

Again, you drew me in. I could almost feel like I was right there with you. Your descriptions and story telling are just fab!!

Love you,
Nance

Jennifer Hicks said...

lovely memories and what chance!

JP/deb said...

What an awesome trip down memory lane ... I love your writing, Tammy ... I feel like I'm right back there with you in the summer of '75! xx, JP/deb

turquoise cro said...

I bet Steven would remember YOU!!! tee hee probably the Govenor of Calleyfornia would too! 1975 was a very GREAT year for me, I had my my son Damon in August of that year! WOOT! What a GLORIOUS year!

Inland Empire Girl said...

I have not been able to visit blogs lately, but I loved coming back to read this charming story. How fun.. I couldn't even think of a story worth writing! I love the picture on the side of you and your grandchild (?).

tinker said...

How cool, Tammy - you met the Governator AND Steven Spielberg?!
That was some summer adventure!
~xo

Annie said...

Arnold was to-die-for in his hey day. Gulp. He was sure yummy. A total guilty pleasure. **sigh**

bella said...

I love getting to have this window into your life.
what a summer.
and you write of it with such rich imagery, taking me right there.

one more believer said...

whadda gal u r... who would have known you were so adventurous...!!!.... appears as if your aunt was a blessing in disguise... yepppers... another keeper.. thanks for sharing...

Giggles said...

Tammy I read this on google reader in a rush, and didn't comment. But thank you so much for sharing this great story I loved it!

Hugs Sherrie