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!