Written in the Stars
Today marks what would have been my mother and father’s 72nd anniversary. Talk about a love story! They met acting in summer stock at the Boothbay Playhouse in Maine. As Dad put it in his memoir, Any Way I Can; 50 Years in Show Business:
“My third summer at the Playhouse required the usual mundane chores before the season began. One morning, while painting a garage door on a ladder in my ragged old yellow terry cloth robe, a car appeared in the driveway. Out of it stepped a knockout blonde ingénue, Barbara Meyer. Her parents had driven her up from New Jersey to be certain it was a safe environment for their daughter. Having already seen her black and white publicity photo hung on a wagon wheel in the lobby, I eagerly awaited her arrival. She glanced briefly at me and assumed I was a maintenance worker.”
Together they starred in many plays that summer and the next, and married on May 7, 1949. But Ozzie, my mother’s father, and his friends had some reservations:
“In the men’s room at the reception, one of Ozzie’s friends actually came up alongside me at the urinal and asked, ‘How do you intend to support Barbara?’ It really floored me. Together, Bobbie and I had saved a few hundred dollars. I don’t remember what I muttered in response, but I thought the question on this night, on this occasion, at this place, was insensitive. The truth is all of her family’s friends were concerned that Bobbie was marrying an actor. The poor girl. God, what a terrible thing to have happened.”
After cutting their honeymoon short for my mother’s appearance on a television show, John and Bobbie continued to audition and cross their fingers. It wasn’t long before their dreams came true:
“Harvey Marlowe, the man who saw our audition in New York, called to say WOR, Channel 9, had signed us to do a domestic comedy in the fall. They wanted a fifteen minute show, five nights a week. ‘Who will write them?’ I asked.
Fifteen minutes? Five nights a week? All we had was the ten minute audition sketch. Impossible. And I’m not really a writer. I called Harvey Marlowe immediately.
‘We’re thrilled with the offer.’”
After a few years on television with many scripts under his belt, Dad started getting writing jobs, which replaced acting as a means of support. Eventually, a lucrative Hollywood offer brought my parents out to California. Dad wrote the film, “Run Silent, Run Deep,” and his career turned into solid gold. Mom left acting to have me, then my brother, Larry, and then my sister, Liz. But as soon as we were all off to college, she went back to the stage, performing at the Nine O’Clock Players children’s theater in Hollywood.
Through it all, Mom and Dad held on to each other as soulmates. They believed their stars were meant to collide. On their anniversary, I step out into the clear, dark night and feel their love for each other illuminate the sky.
As Father’s Day approaches, I think of my father and how much he inspired me. An artist captured this picture of him many years ago, living the Hollywood dream. What people didn’t know was his key to success wasn’t just talent or luck, it was adhering to a strict routine. Here’s a link to my blog this month if you feel like some motivation:
This month’s blog is for those of you parents who are having trouble finding the right sport for your child with ADHD. Does your child get easily distracted right in the middle of a game? Does she have problems following the coach’s rules? Do you find yourself pleading with her to give the sport just one more chance? Follow me as I set out to find answers, only to miss the one staring me right in the face.
This month’s blog is for all the moms who’ve ever felt like the world’s worst mother at one time or another. And, it’s especially for those of you struggling to parent a young child with ADHD or any other difficult challenges. Balancing your needs with those of your...