Thursday, September 10, 2020

Coming Of Age In World War II-Torn America- With The Film “Summer Of 1942” (1971) In Mind

Coming Of Age In World War II-Torn America- With The Film “Summer Of 1942” (1971) In Mind




By Fritz Taylor

Seth Garth, the once well-known free-lance music critic for many of the big music and specialty publications that have come and gone over the years since he first put pen to paper some forty years ago, including the long gone alternative press where he got his start and first breaks (literally put pen to paper, forget beauties of the world processors then), had been thinking about the old days a lot recently. Had been, having the luxury of semi-retired status, also doing a run through of films via the good graces of Netflix that he had first seen when he was a youngster sitting in the dark every week for the double feature at the old Strand Theater in his hometown of Riverdale, a town a few dozen miles from Boston. Or else films that due to publication commitments that he had not run through when they came out in the 1970s in the days when he was determined to catch the wave of being a music critic and missed many of those films, left them by the wayside.

One night at Jack’s, his watering hole hang-out over in Riverdale that he increasingly frequented on his forays back to his old hometown to see if he could “channel” the past by being physically present on the old sacred soil (although not the Strand long ago turned into a condominium complex), Seth had mentioned to Brad Fox, an old friend from high school days who went through many of the experiences with him, that he had just reviewed a film, Summer of 1942, for Sal Davis the editor of Cinema Now who was looking for copy to fill a space quickly. The film which had been released in 1971 and was about coming of age, coming of sexual age during the early years of World War II. The big point he made to Brad, who had told Seth that he had seen the film when it came out but did not remember the details except that this foxy older woman played by Jennifer O’Neil had “robbed the cradle” and bedded a teenage boy, swore the film could have been about their generation, the generation of 1968 as easily as of 1942.      

Seth had mentioned, before giving Brad the details that he had missed about the film, he had started his review speculating on the fact that each generation goes through its coming of age period somewhat differently. “Coming of age’ in this context meaning after Brad had been unclear about what aspect of the term Seth meant, meaning the beginning the treacherous process of understanding all the sexual changes and commotions once you got to puberty. He said he had taken the one he, and Brad, had known about personally of coming of age in the early 1960s in the age of the “Pill,” of technology-driven space exploration and of some new as yet unspoken and undiscovered social breeze coming to shake up a lot of the old values, to turn the world upside down, from their parents’ generation. He said he tried to contrast that with the one before theirs, the one represented in the film about the coming of age of their parents’ generation. The generation that on one edge, the older edge went through the whole trauma of the Great Depression that brought barren days to the land and of slogging through World War II and at the other edge, the younger edge, missing the trauma of war and its particular stamp on those who survived went on to form the alienated youth who turned “beat,” rode homespun hot rods to perdition, grabbed a La Jolla perfect wave surf board, revved up hellish motorcycles to scare all the squares and come under the immediate spell of jailbreak rock and roll.

The funny thing at least on the basis of a viewing of the film on the question of dealing with sex, sexual knowledge and experiences there was a very familiar (and funny) sense that our parents who, at least in their case and the case of their growing up friends, went through the same hoops-with about the same sense of forlorn misunderstanding. (Of course in talking about parents and their sexual desire both Seth and Brad admitted they would have had a hard time linking up their own respective parents with sexual desire but their own kids if asked would probably say the same thing about them.)                  

Brad mentioned that his memory wasn’t so good of late and that although while they were talking he had been trying to dredge up some more facts about the movie other than the one he had mentioned earlier in the conversation about that sexy older woman cradle robber making Seth laugh that whatever the taboos were about intergenerational sex they both would have given their eye-teeth if some world-wise fox had come across their paths. Seth then went on to give Brad a rough outline of how the film had played out.

He told Brad that his habit of late was after viewing a film, particularly a film that he was being paid good dollars to produce a review on, was to go on-line and look up what somebody had to say about the film on Wikipedia.  Wistfully stated that service was something he wished had been around earlier in his career which would have saved him a lot of time in the library or looking at the archives of various publications of the time and allow him under the constant press of deadlines to be able to write better thought out copy. The story line of the film had been based on the essentially true-to-life experiences of a Hollywood screen-writer Hermie Raucher (played by Gary Grimes), coming of age 15, and his two companions, gregarious Oscy and studious Benji, known as “the Three Terrors,” three virginal teenage boys, who were slumming in the year 1942 at the beautiful but desolate end of an island retreat in the first summer of the American direct involvement in the Pacific and European wars after the Japanese bombings of Pearl Harbor. (The island had been Nantucket Island in the book published after the movie but had been filmed off desolate Mendocino in California). They like a million other virginal boys of that age during war or peacetime were driven each in their own way by the notion of sexual experimentation and conquest and so the chase was on.     

That chase had been on at two levels. The rather pedestrian one of seeking out young girls of their own age to see what shook out of the sexual tree and Hermie’s almost mystical search for “meaningful” love in the person of an older foxy woman, Dorothy, played by Jennifer O’Neil, who had been a young war bride staying on the island after her husband headed off to war. The “own age” part, funny in parts, driven mostly by pal Oscy’s overweening desire to “get laid” with a blonde temptress whom he finally got his wish with one night at the secluded end of the beach with his most experienced partner. On that occasion Hermie was shut out of any desire he had to do the same with her friend who was as bewildered by sex as he was. 

The “older woman” (in our circles she would have been a “cradle-robbing” older woman although she was only 22) notion of love is what drove him the moment he has set eyes on her when the trio was spying on her and her husband in their cozy cottage so he was “saving” himself for her. And after a series of innocent (and some goofy) encounters with Dorothy one night, after she has just found out that her husband had been killed in the war, she bedded him (there is no other honest way to put the matter). That was that though, for when Hermie subsequently went back to the cottage she had left the island and left him a more solemn young man.              

Having given Brad those details Seth mentioned that those were the main lines that got played out but what had made this film more than of ordinary interest to him was the whole lead-up, the whole “foreplay” if you will of the desire of the trio to be doing something about getting out of that dreaded virgin status. Said all the guys were fearful of being tagged with the “homo” tag and didn’t Brad remember how vicious teenage guys could be about the “manhood” question. Before he could go further Brad mentioned how when they were fourteen or fifteen he could not remember when how all the guys from around the corner that they hung on, including Seth used to “fag” bait him because he had refused to kiss Sarah Langley at a “petting” party and had actually run out of the house where the party was being held he had been so embarrassed. At the time he had been sweet on Jenny Price who had been at the party although nobody was aware of that situation. Nothing ever came of that desire and so he had spent some time living down the “fag” tag until he found Sandy Lee in junior year and she took him out of that status since she was something of a fox herself. Although nobody thought anything of calling another guy a “fag” as masculine craziness about sex and sexual identity erupted nobody seriously thought that the guys were gay or anything like that it was just a separation expression. Who knows who at the time really wasn’t interested in girls, wasn’t into “getting in their pants” although Seth speculated that some guys around the block must have since not a few guys lived at home with their mothers and were not seen with women companions.

Nowadays nobody would think twice about it although the usual baiting in school and among the jocks would still go on given the unchanged nature of certain heterosexual young males. Seth mentioned that he could not believe the pressure to “lose your virginity” that all the guys suffered through, although he admitted that it also took him a long time, long after the Christopher Street riots in the Village that began the serious modern gay rights movement to stop his calling gays “fags.” Not until his eyes were opened up when gay musicians and actors whom he interviewed and assumed were straight came out of the “closet.”  

Seth had laughed at the very realistic scenes when Hermie and Oscy picked up a couple of girls at the movie theater (playing Bette Davis and Paul Henried in Dark Voyage, a film that he actually had reviewed when it came out in a film retrospective at the Brattle Theater in Harvard Square for the old Avatar alternative newspaper). The scene which showed the guys “feeling up,” or trying to, had been amazing with Oscy grabbing his just met girl almost from minute one and Hermie, missing the mark thinking his girl’s shoulder was her breast. Jesus. Brad laughed but reminded Seth that no way would that kind of thing have happened in their days since everybody, or almost everybody knew the drill at the Strand Theater Saturday matinee double-header or Saturday night date it did not matter. Some ancient tradition, hell, maybe going back to 1942 for all anybody knew about the original of the practice made it clear that those who sat in the orchestra were not going to “make out.” If they were in the balcony then whatever went on, went on from “feeling up” to blow jobs. It was solely a question of asking your date where she wanted to sit. That sealed the deal, and in many cases meant a last date.

Brad’s reminder of the old “policy” reminded Seth of the time that he was cray for Rosalind Green in junior high, they had gotten along well, had been a couple of chatterboxes in English class about books by a bunch of foreign guys to show they were “hip.” One day after a few weeks after all this “foreplay” Seth had finally asked her to a Saturday matinee (the usual strategy for dealing with a girl you were not sure would accept your date by making in the daytime to soften the blow) and she accepted. When after paying for their tickets and hitting the refreshment stand for popcorn and sodas he asked her where she wanted to sit she had answered “silly, of course the balcony why else would I have come with you.” Bingo. Of such events decent youthful memories are made. Brad on the other hand spent many hours in the orchestra section once he latched onto Betsy Binstock (whom he eventually married and was still married to) who was “saving” whatever she was saving for marriage. Okay, too-now if it did have Brad pulling his hair out then.       

Seth quickly mentioned the scene, the awkward scene, where Hermie was helping Dorothy with storing some packages and he got sexually excited, okay, okay, had an erection, by her off-hand helping hand touch since neither man wanted to talk about those nighttime wandering hands that came down when they got an erection.  Nor did he spent much time on the scene where the three friends “discover” what sexual intercourse is all about through the good graces of Benji’s mother’s medical books since that scene rang false in their old neighborhood where sexual information was passed from older brother or sister to younger, a lot of it wrong, very wrong when the girl had to go out of town to see “Aunt Emily” (a street expression that she was pregnant and had to leave town during her term usually not coming back) in other works right out on the streets. Nobody back in 1942, or 1962 expected uptight parents who were assumed to probably not have had sex to give any serious information except some twaddle about the birds and the bees.  And of course the fumbling by the numbers (off-screen) when Oscy has his first sexual experience with the girl he had picked up at the movies. That scene had little over the top and as reticent about talking about sex as parents were guys and gals might give an inkling about what they were doing behind the bushes but a “free show” was off the charts.

The best scene of all though and it really showed the difference between then and now when the younger generations can grab condoms off the shelf at any drugstore or in some places right in schoolhouse restrooms (formerly “lav’s”) and who might not quite appreciate enough the scene where Hermie tried to buy “rubbers” at the local village drugstore from the jaded disbelieving druggist. Brad automatically remembered that scene once Seth recalled it. Remembered too, as he told a disbelieving Seth that night, his own confusion when he was in junior high and had found some condoms in a bottom bathroom drawer in his family house when he was looking for some band-aids. Had asked a kid at school, actually had shown a kid at school one and the kid had said they were like balloons you fill them with water and throw them at somebody. It was not until high school and he had begun his own sexual explorations (obviously not with his ever-loving Betsy) that he found out their real purpose and blushed silently about his parents’ sexual practices. Hence another example of the very general understanding about the young that their own parents never had sex. Whatever else being a youth today may be about in terms of trauma at least there is a hell of a lot of good information hanging out there on the Internet for the young to inquire into without embarrassment. 


Yeah, Seth gave Brad the word as they finished up that last round of drinks and began to head to their respective homes -watch this film and remember your own, either sex, torturous rumbling around coming to terms with sex.     

“To Be Young Was Very Heaven”- Sally Field’s "Hello, My Name Is Doris" (2015)

“To Be Young Was Very Heaven”- Sally Field’s "Hello, My Name Is Doris" (2015) 




DVD Review

By Sam Lowell 

Hello, My Name Is Doris, starring Sally Field, Max Greenfield, 2015  

You know if you watch enough movies and review them as well every once in a while a film will knock you for a loop. Take the film under review Sally Field’s Hello, My Name Is Doris. Now usually when the subject of a film is an older (oops, mature) woman who is involved romantically in any way with a younger man the natural assumption is (or used to be) that he was “her kept man,” “her handy man,” if you  want to invoke a blues expression, her rasping at faded youth, maybe a gigolo, maybe just looking for the main chance or she was on a lark merely “robbing the cradle” (the term used in my old corner boy neighborhood growing up but usually in reverse-guys around the corner once they got out of high school still sniffing around from “jailbait” if you get my drift). This one turns that idea, that 20th century older woman pursuing a younger man idea in the early 21st century on its head. Makes the whole thing of all things a romantic comedy-and socially okay.     

Now intergenerational sex (or sexual attraction as here) has always been a thorny issue as mentioned above. Here though mainly through AARP-worthy stalwart actor Sally Field’s extraordinary performance as the Doris of the title makes the idea the stuff of legitimate dreams.  (Field, who for the oldsters reading this will remember that she started as a flying nun in the 1960s, is thus no spring chicken). Takes the new-fashion idea that 60 is the new, let’s say 40, and runs with it. 

Here’s the play. Doris is a holdover from an old-line company which got bought up by some tech-savvy outfit. One day John is introduced to the staff as the new art director and thus starts Doris’ flights of fancy (although she had already “met” him in the elevator coming up). Now Doris is starting out kind of dowdy, definitely not “hip” having lived her pedestrian life caring for her now departed aged mother on Staten Island. And like dear mother had turned into an inveterate pack-rat. But she is smitten by John and come hell or high water she after attending a “power of positive thinking seminar” is ready to rock the boat of her humble and dreary existence and make her play.   

This fantasy though would only be a fantasy without the help of a feisty thirteen year old granddaughter of Doris’s best friend. You automatically know you are in the 21st century because the way Doris will attempt to hook her man is via that feisty granddaughter’s use of Facebook to find out what makes dear John tick and that otherwise Doris would have been clueless if not for this timely intervention. Problem: a young good-looking upwardly mobile guy in New York City is not going to “friend” some dowdy AARPer so, like a lot of people on the Internet they make up a fake profile for Doris. Bingo it works. 


Works better when she finds out what his musical interests are and forms a live friendship through that association. Problem” John is already “spoken for” by a beautiful younger woman. Problem solved: that younger beauty breaks it off with John when she suspects he is fooling around with some assumed to be young woman on the Internet. Uh, Sally of course. Sally makes her big move but no way is John going for her except in her dreams (and maybe at the end). What makes this one worth watching is how Sally Field takes a tough subject and makes it seem totally normal and without overdoing the sappy pulling for emotion part. Attention all AARPers see this one-younger folks better ask your parents’ permission.   

The Last Thing On My Mind-With Folksinger Tom Paxton’s Signature “Last Thing On My Mind” In Mind

The Last Thing On My Mind-With Folksinger Tom Paxton’s Signature “Last Thing On My Mind” In Mind






By Guest Writer Lester Landry

Eric Long didn’t know exactly how it had happened, didn’t know how the whole blessed thing fell apart after so many years together. Didn’t know that his sweetie, his “sweet pea” his pet name for her, his Mona, was so radically dissatisfied with their lives together the night that she laid out her future plans, future plans that did not include him. Had to take some journey of discovery to find her spiritual being Mona called it. He could never quite figure out what she meant by that since the “spiritual,” that New Age business that she lived by and for and he was leery, very leery of, was totally foreign to the way he operated in the world, the world of hard-boiled radical anti-war politics and taking heed, being guided by in fact, the notion that this was a dangerous world and watch out, watch your back (and she fragile and defenseless against the villains watch her back as well, maybe watched it too much and smothered her ability to breathe on her own). Could never quite talk the same language with her on those issues where to use an expression that she had come to use more frequently to describe their relationship of late they were like “two ships passing in the night,” could never get the idea that she was drowning in some Mona-made sea, that she was unsure of her place in the sun, and worst of all not sure of who she was. For him who knew exactly what he was about, well, maybe not exactly as it turned out but at least for public consumption he appeared to be driven by a set of specific tasks and orientations and so could not follow her on that path she has set for herself.  

Funny the night in question was their “wine date” night, a time they had established a couple of years before as a way to be together and share whatever there was to share, usually day to day stuff and not such a decisive split. That too had been predicated on a prior series of misunderstandings and falling apart that was only staunched for that precious moment by his willingness to join her in couples counselling (That “willingness” subject to his understanding that he was under the gun and that if he had not done as she had asked then that first lowering of the boom would have been the last and they would now have been separated for about two years now.)
Although at first he was as leery about this process as he was about the more outlandish and bizarre New Age therapies he actually had come to as he called it see that this was significantly different from what he had expected and had embraced the process whole-heartedly what he called “being in one hundred per cent” (they had unsuccessfully done the procedure many years before both agreeing then and now that the counsellor was not particularly helpful). The thrust of this new procedure was that it was less driven by trying to figure out what in their mutual troubled childhood pasts had made them both attracted to each other but also too scarred by those experiences to let the past slip away against their love for each other. So the counselling would spent each session looking for “today” ways that they could relate to each other and hence the “wine date” idea. Simple but effective since they previously either had a going out date or they did not really relate to each other in the vast amounts of time over the previous few years when both have effectively retired from the workaday world. Eric found the sweet wines a way to relax (a problem that as we shall find was the crux of what went south in the current lowering of the boom).                

Oh sure Eric as he told his friend Peter a few days later when the initial shock had worn off a bit he and Mona had had their problems over the previous few years but they were supposed to be working on getting closer like with that wine date business. For several years before that they had definitely been drifting apart, had become in his term “roommates” and hers “ships passing in the night” until one day on U.S. 5 just outside of San Diego he had exploded at her in the car telling her they couldn’t keep going on the way they were going, something had to give. The underlying reason for his outburst though was that he had kindled up a relationship with an old high school classmate whom he did not know in school but whom he had met on-line when he was searching for information about his high school class reunion that was coming up. In the back of his mind he was half-way ready to quit the whole thing himself. After that incident it had gotten pretty heavy with that old classmate but when push came to shove, when he was confronted with the thought of total separation and good-bye with his sweet pea he had backed off. The price for that thought, the price that he was willing to pay to stay with Mona was to go into couples counselling in which he gave what he thought, and more importantly she thought, was good faith effort to reconcile their differences, her grievances against him. That was the source of the wine date idea provided by the counsellor as way they were to make connections in a quiet and cozy environment. Eric thought when Mona lowered the boom on him this time that a lot of what was driving her as much as her need to find her own path in life was deep and unspoken continued resentment over that “affair” with the old classmate.   


The couples counselling went on for about a year until around the time they had gone to Paris, a place that she had never been to but had desired to go to since she was a young girl like a lot of romantic young girls sniffing the wonders of that town. They had had a great time there. But about a week after they came back Laura lowered the boom on him the first time. She wanted out under similar conditions to the latest episode. The result of letting him stay was for him to go into individual counselling which he agreed to do. He committed himself to a year in her presence but the year had not been up before this fatal night. That separation had been the last thing on his mind. Once he thought about Mona and his loss despite his good intentions Eric  couldn’t finish his story to Peter that night and maybe ever ….      

The Last Thing On My Mind-With Folksinger Tom Paxton’s Signature “Last Thing On My Mind” In Mind

The Last Thing On My Mind-With Folksinger Tom Paxton’s Signature “Last Thing On My Mind” In Mind






By Guest Writer Lester Landry

Eric Long didn’t know exactly how it had happened, didn’t know how the whole blessed thing fell apart after so many years together. Didn’t know that his sweetie, his “sweet pea” his pet name for her, his Mona, was so radically dissatisfied with their lives together the night that she laid out her future plans, future plans that did not include him. Had to take some journey of discovery to find her spiritual being Mona called it. He could never quite figure out what she meant by that since the “spiritual,” that New Age business that she lived by and for and he was leery, very leery of, was totally foreign to the way he operated in the world, the world of hard-boiled radical anti-war politics and taking heed, being guided by in fact, the notion that this was a dangerous world and watch out, watch your back (and she fragile and defenseless against the villains watch her back as well, maybe watched it too much and smothered her ability to breathe on her own). Could never quite talk the same language with her on those issues where to use an expression that she had come to use more frequently to describe their relationship of late they were like “two ships passing in the night,” could never get the idea that she was drowning in some Mona-made sea, that she was unsure of her place in the sun, and worst of all not sure of who she was. For him who knew exactly what he was about, well, maybe not exactly as it turned out but at least for public consumption he appeared to be driven by a set of specific tasks and orientations and so could not follow her on that path she has set for herself.  

Funny the night in question was their “wine date” night, a time they had established a couple of years before as a way to be together and share whatever there was to share, usually day to day stuff and not such a decisive split. That too had been predicated on a prior series of misunderstandings and falling apart that was only staunched for that precious moment by his willingness to join her in couples counselling (That “willingness” subject to his understanding that he was under the gun and that if he had not done as she had asked then that first lowering of the boom would have been the last and they would now have been separated for about two years now.)
Although at first he was as leery about this process as he was about the more outlandish and bizarre New Age therapies he actually had come to as he called it see that this was significantly different from what he had expected and had embraced the process whole-heartedly what he called “being in one hundred per cent” (they had unsuccessfully done the procedure many years before both agreeing then and now that the counsellor was not particularly helpful). The thrust of this new procedure was that it was less driven by trying to figure out what in their mutual troubled childhood pasts had made them both attracted to each other but also too scarred by those experiences to let the past slip away against their love for each other. So the counselling would spent each session looking for “today” ways that they could relate to each other and hence the “wine date” idea. Simple but effective since they previously either had a going out date or they did not really relate to each other in the vast amounts of time over the previous few years when both have effectively retired from the workaday world. Eric found the sweet wines a way to relax (a problem that as we shall find was the crux of what went south in the current lowering of the boom).                

Oh sure Eric as he told his friend Peter a few days later when the initial shock had worn off a bit he and Mona had had their problems over the previous few years but they were supposed to be working on getting closer like with that wine date business. For several years before that they had definitely been drifting apart, had become in his term “roommates” and hers “ships passing in the night” until one day on U.S. 5 just outside of San Diego he had exploded at her in the car telling her they couldn’t keep going on the way they were going, something had to give. The underlying reason for his outburst though was that he had kindled up a relationship with an old high school classmate whom he did not know in school but whom he had met on-line when he was searching for information about his high school class reunion that was coming up. In the back of his mind he was half-way ready to quit the whole thing himself. After that incident it had gotten pretty heavy with that old classmate but when push came to shove, when he was confronted with the thought of total separation and good-bye with his sweet pea he had backed off. The price for that thought, the price that he was willing to pay to stay with Mona was to go into couples counselling in which he gave what he thought, and more importantly she thought, was good faith effort to reconcile their differences, her grievances against him. That was the source of the wine date idea provided by the counsellor as way they were to make connections in a quiet and cozy environment. Eric thought when Mona lowered the boom on him this time that a lot of what was driving her as much as her need to find her own path in life was deep and unspoken continued resentment over that “affair” with the old classmate.   


The couples counselling went on for about a year until around the time they had gone to Paris, a place that she had never been to but had desired to go to since she was a young girl like a lot of romantic young girls sniffing the wonders of that town. They had had a great time there. But about a week after they came back Laura lowered the boom on him the first time. She wanted out under similar conditions to the latest episode. The result of letting him stay was for him to go into individual counselling which he agreed to do. He committed himself to a year in her presence but the year had not been up before this fatal night. That separation had been the last thing on his mind. Once he thought about Mona and his loss despite his good intentions Eric  couldn’t finish his story to Peter that night and maybe ever ….      

Wednesday, September 09, 2020

When At First You Practice To Deceive- Once Again, He’s Been A Bad Boy-John Heard And Goldie Hawn’s “Deceived” (1991)-A Film Review

When At First You Practice To Deceive- Once Again, He’s Been A Bad Boy-John Heard And Goldie Hawn’s “Deceived” (1991)-A Film Review



DVD Review
By Laura Perkins
Deceived, starring Goldie Hawn, John Heard, 1991
I believe every woman when she gets married, or these days becomes part of a “significant other” relationship, wonders deep in her mind whether the man she is marrying is who he says he is.  Has not been if it came right down to it a psycho murderer like the hubby in the film under review Deceived.  (Men can make their own judgments going the other way, but I am talking specifically about women here.) This is not normally how I would start a film review but the subject matter in this one strikes close to home so I felt compelled to open up with this line of inquiry.  When Greg Green assigned this film to me, a film I did not see when it was first released in 1991 and so did not know what it was about, who or what was being deceived, and I mentioned how I wanted to start the review he balked, although finally he let it pass through under some kind of catharsis theory, mine. Even my long-time companion Sam Lowell balked at my strong statement against the whole male half of the human race perversely interested in marriage or its facsimile. But I prevailed.
The reason for my strong reaction to the plotline of this film was that long before Sam and I got together I had been married, mercifully for a short time, to an American pyscho type like Jack Saunders, Frank Sullivan, Daniel Sherman or whoever he was, played by seemingly rationale John Heard, although he didn’t have a predilection for murder if he didn’t get his way in the world. (That was my first marriage my subsequent one although not successful was more a matter of a parting of the ways, of two ships passing in the night too long.) I had met a man through a close friend, who in the end would be almost as shattered at I by the experience as I was, back in the 1960s during the Vietnam War when many weird things were happening not all of them fitting into the “newer world” we were seeking. We fell in love, he, Francis, his real name, and me, at least I did, and we were married shortly after we met and subsequently moved to Washington, D.C where he claimed he had a job offer from a high ranking governmental official.  (I won’t give specific details and names since this is not about them and they were totally unaware of what was happening.). This after Francis allegedly had been honorably discharged from the military through these connections since he had otherwise been scheduled in that hated year 1969 to go to Vietnam as an infantryman (as I would later learn through Vietnam veteran Sam really “cannon-fodder).
We went to Washington where I had assumed he was working for that governmental agency and while times were tough as they can be for newly marrieds I thought things were going okay. Then we had a burglary in our small apartment and almost all our items of value were “stolen.” We filed a police report but nothing ever came of it, burglary then, maybe now too, a fact of life in big cities and small, mostly unsolved. Then a few weeks later the other shoe dropped when I got a call from a collection agency in Silver Springs up on the border in Maryland telling me that Francis had forged a company check while he was working for them and that they were going to prosecute if they were not made whole in the matter (their legally-based expression). Which we did pay back after Francis came home and told me that the government job had fallen through and he was afraid to tell me. Had gotten the collection agency job on the fly in order to have money coming since we were just scraping by since I was only working in a department store at the time. Having no particular reason to be in Washington where neither of us had roots we headed back to Albany and stayed with my parents for a while.      
That was when the final straw broke. During all those several months down in D.C. Francis’ mother was getting calls from the FBI looking for Francis who they claimed was AWOL (as part of his lies he had told me that he had to go to Fort Dix to be discharged after his connections pulled their “strings”). Francis said nothing to me about it until one day his mother called up and told him that she had given them our address so he could straighten things out with them. That is when he told me that he indeed was AWOL, had been all along since he did not want to go to Vietnam (and weirdly had worried that he would die if he went over there and had never been married). Francis in a moment of candor also told me that he had staged the Washington burglary to get money for us to live on since he was broke and the collection agency job didn’t pay much. He also admitted to many other lies about his life and achievements. On the advice, solid advice, of my pious parents I filed quickly for divorce on mental cruelty grounds and started a long and expensive process to have the marriage annulled by the Catholic Church so I could marry again without flak from the Church (in those days I was a serious practicing Catholic). After the FBI came to my family’s house and took Francis away I never saw him again although he called several times trying to get back together. Jesus. I would go a number of years without male companionship due to that horrible series of deceptions so don’t tell me I don’t know about such men. That I am being crazy for stating that every woman also harbors such deep concerns when she starts a serious relationship.        
As dear sweet Sam says in his reviews here’s the story-line. Young artsy Adrianne, played by Goldie Hawn, meets and marries Jack Saunders in New York City (as already telegraphed he had other aliases but let’s stick with this name), an art curator played by John Heard and they have a child. They go along for several years until the wheels begin to fall off for reasons never made clear except greed and avarice on Jack’s part when forgeries and missing items start happening in his department with him as a prime suspect after a curator had been murdered for no known reason. To get out from under he tells Adrianne he needs to go to Boston for an auction. That is a turning point since a fellow worker of Adrianne’s on hearing from her that Jack was in Boston mentioned that she thought she had seen him entering a hotel bar. He talks his way out of that even when Adrianne finds out things that place him in the city during that period. Shortly after this Jack “dies” in a car accident.
That is a tripping point for when Adrianne goes to try to collect on Jack’s Social Security contribution she is shocked to find he was not really Jack Saunders who had died a number of years before but his closest friend Frank Sullivan. Then Adrianne becomes a snoop, a detective tracking down the real deal including finding Frank’s mother who tells her that Frank was a bad son (an understatement under the circumstances). Presto Jack/Frank pops up at his mother’s   New York apartment after luring Adrianne there. Tells her some cock and bull story about being blackmailed by a guy named Daniel Sherman and he needed to “die” to get out from under but this Sherman was looking for a very valuable ancient necklace to make things go away.
This is all bullshit since Jack/Frank is also Daniel with another family out in the suburbs to boot. He wants that damn necklace for whatever reason and he will kill if he has to even though allegedly he doesn’t want to hurt Adrianne or their daughter. Given his murderous track record, the curator, the hitchhiker who took his place in that car accident, his mother, and who knows maybe even beloved Jack Saunders Frank is a sure bet to kill Adrianne for that freaking amulet. And he almost does except by an interesting and inevitable sleight of hand Adrianne does him in by her own deception. This film has too many moving and unresolved moving parts to be a highly recommended thriller but is first-rate evidence for my contention that every woman worries about what kind of hell she might be getting into when she goes down the aisle. Remember my story if not this one.        

The Battle Of The Titians-Ernest Hemingway’s “The Sun Also Rises” Vs. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “This Side Of Paradise”

The Battle Of The Titians-Ernest Hemingway’s “The Sun Also Rises” Vs. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “This Side Of Paradise” 








By Zack James


No question as Josh Breslin has seemingly gracelessly aged he has become more perverse in his greedy little mind. That trait has exploded more recently as he has finally hung up his pen and paper if one can do such a feat and stopped writing free-lance articles for half the small press, small publishing house, small artsy journal nation. All this hubbub boiled over recently when he told his old friend from his growing up in Riverdale days, Sam Lowell, about his “coup,” his term, in upsetting the applecart of the American literary pantheon by claiming on very flimsy evidence that F. Scott Fitzgerald’s early work, the one that gave him his first fame, This Side Of Paradise, could be compared with his masterwork The Great Gatsby. The perverse part came when he told Sam that he had only  written the article as a send-up of all the literary set’s fretting about who and what works belong in, or don’t belong in, the pantheon also based on as very little evidence.       

The whole faux dust-up came up because now that he was retired he could write a little more freely since he had neither the pressure of some midnight deadline from some nervous nelly editor waiting impatiently for him to dot that last i before rushing off to the printer nor the imperative of reining in his horns to insure that he could keep up with the gathering payments for alimony, child support and college educations for a three ex-wives and a slew of well-behaved kids. The latter being a close thing that almost broke his spirit. He had accepted a free-lance at-your-leisure assignment from Ben Gold, the editor of the Literary Gazette, who told him he could write a monthly column on some topic that interested him. As long as it was about three thousand words and not the usual five or six thousand that had to be edited with scalpel in hand and arguments every other line about its worthiness as part of the article.         

Josh admitted to Sam that he was intrigued by the idea and after thinking about the matter for a while decided that he would concentrate on reviewing for a 21st century audience some of the American masterworks of the 20th century. The beauty of this idea was that he would no longer have to face the dagger-eyed living authors, their hangers-on and acolytes every time he noted that said authors couldn’t write themselves a proper thank you note never mind such a huge task as writing a well-thought out novel that they had forced him mercilessly to review the relatively few times he entered the literary fray. He had made his mark in the cultural field by reviewing music and film mostly but would when hard up for dollars for those aforementioned three wives and slew of hungry kids take on anything including writing bogus reviews of various products like dish detergent and mouthwash although more recently a spade of reviews on technical gadgets like things for computers which he frankly didn’t know or give a fuck about. Couldn’t even figure out how to attach the damn things to the computer. Now he could leisurely delve back into the past and cherry-pick a few bright objects, write a few thousand words and move onto the next selection.

Or so he thought. Josh had made Sam laugh, had made himself laugh as well, one night when they were at Sam’s favorite watering hole, Teddy Green’s Grille over Lyons Street in their old hometown after he had finished and Ben had published his first “thought” article in the Gazette. He had admitted that his take on the issue was perverse, was a low-intensity tweaking of all those in the literary racket who labored long, hard, and winded to specialize in “deconstructing” some famous author in order to make hay in their own bailiwicks, making their own cramped careers out of the literary mass of real writers. He had stirred up the hornet’s nest by his “innocent” comparison of the two Fitzgerald works.                 

Josh told Sam that he had been rather na├»ve to think that the literary gurus would take his little heresy as mere grumbling of an old man and pass it off as so much blather. He had reasoned that one could get passionate about who would win the World Series or the Super Bowl, one political candidate over another, some worthy cause but that the almost one hundred year old vintage of a couple of books set in the Jazz Age 1920s by a now unfashionable “dead white man” author long since, very long    since, dead should be passed in silence. Not so. No sooner had the Gazette come out than some silly undergraduate English major had e-mailed Josh about how wrong he was to compare the “juvenile antics,” her term, of privileged white college boy Amory Blaine over up from nowhere strivings after fame and fortune of one Jay Gatsby when all the old-time money and position was against him. Of course he had had to defend his position and sent her a return e-mail summarily dismissing her championship as so much sophomoric half-thinking “politically correct” classist claptrap that has overrun the college campuses over the past decades, mostly not for the better.  

End of debate. No way since thereafter a couple of academic heavyweights, known Fitzgerald scholars, had to put their two cents worth in since an intruder was invading their turf, an odd-ball free-lance music and film critic well past his prime according to one of their kind as if he himself had not been pan-handling the same half dozen admitted good ideas for the previous forty years since he had gotten tenure. In any case no sooner had that undergraduate student dust-up settled down than Professor Lord, the big-time retired English teacher from Harvard whose books of literary criticism set many a wannabe writers’ hearts a-flutter took up the cudgels in defense of Gatsby.

Pointed out to ignorant Josh that  the novel was an authentic slice of life about the American scene in the scattershot post-World War I scene and that Paradise was nothing but the well-written but almost non-literary effort of an aspiring young author telling, retailing was the word the good professor used, his rather pedestrian and totally conventional youth-based comments. Those sentiments in turn got Professor Jamison, the well-known Fitzgerald scholar from Princeton, Scott’s old school, in a huff about how the novel represented the Jazz Age from a younger more innocent perspective as well as Gatsby had done for the older free-falling set who had graduated from proms and social dances to country club and New York Plaza Hotel intrigues. So the battle raged.   

Josh laughed loudest as the heavy-weights from the academy went slamming into the night and into each other’s bailiwicks and stepped right to the sidelines once he had started his little fireball rolling. Laughed harder when he, having had a few too many scotches at his own  favorite watering hole, Jack’s outside Harvard Square, thought about the uproar he would create when he tweaked a few noses declaring Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises as the definite Jazz Age novel and put Gatsby in the bereft dime store novel category by comparison.


It was that idea that Josh wanted to use Sam as a sounding board for, a guy to tussle out the pieces with. After Josh had received the response that he did from well-paid hucksters in the academy to the first article in his monthly column he decided to change tack and actually act as a provocateur, a flame-thrower, and rather than placid kind of educational pieces he would go slightly off-the-wall dragging some of those in the literary pantheon through the mud. So that throwaway idea of pitting two titans like Hemingway and Fitzgerald together to fight mano a mano for kingpin of the Jazz Age literary set began to geminate as the fodder for the next article for his column. Hence, Sam, Sam as devils’ advocate, since Josh and he had had many go arounds over literary subjects ever since they were in high school English classes together. Watch for the bloodless blather from the literati on that one when he gets done.     

The Gang That Couldn’t Rob Straight-Owen Wilson’s “Masterminds

The Gang That Couldn’t Rob Straight-Owen Wilson’s “Masterminds



DVD Review

By Sam Lowell

[Sometimes even a well-oiled, hard-bitten film critic or heck even somebody just into the cinema will get caught out by a big name star in a production or some actor that you really like for some personal reason. The “forget” part is that not everything these favorites do on screen is pure gold (except maybe in their pockets if they are bankable and the film really needs their name to float, or not go under). A whole separate branch of the criticism business could be devoted to some of the reasons why established stars wind up as in the film under review below playing in “turkeys.” Maybe it is just money, maybe the lure of their names always on the marquee, maybe after reading the script they really believe the thing can work. I am too close to retirement to figure the motivations out but some younger mind could make a nice career out of working that racket. S.L.]         

Masterminds, starring Owen Wilson, 2016

Sometimes when a friend recommends a film it turns out to be a dud, turns out to be less than expected and in the case of the film under review, Masterminds, make that much less than expected considering the cast. Makes one wonder why a great comedic actor like Owen Wilson took the job, took the chance to work on a funky film that had a chance to go in one of two directions, a straight line comic look at a true story or a farce that bombed. It took the latter. The direction toward the farcical led the vehicle astray when all is said and done.  

Here is the skinny, here is why the title of this piece can be called the gang that couldn’t shoot straight taking a page from an old Jimmy Breslin book. The story line based on a true incident about the doings around one of the great cash robberies in banking history, the Loomis heist in North Carolina in 1997 for seventeen big ones-17 mil, okay not chicken feed then nor now. David Scott Ghantt, a security guard on a Lommis armored truck was hook-winked, no make that bewitched and bewildered by his sexy armored truck partner, Kelly, who had walked  out on the job over some harassment. A while later she wound up working hand and hand with a low-life short end of the stick criminal Steve, played by Wilson, who wants her to con, I am being kind here since this is a family sensitive outlet, David into being the inside man on a big heist of the company’s loot. David balked at first but Kelly lured him with her charms despite the fact he was two minutes to midnight away from getting married to another woman.       

The heist was a piece of cake for an inside job and David was told to lay low in Mexico until the coast was clear. The false lure to get him to go minus the dough was Kelly joining him soon, yeah, soon. The idea Steve thought though was that David was to get the short end of the straw, was the odd man out as he, Steve, was not going to share the dough with anybody but his loving wife and two unlovable kids.


Meanwhile David was still forlornly expecting Kelly to join him in Mexico. Sucker. Double sucker because Steve threw the Feds onto him and he led them a merry chase before he got wise to what Steve, and Kelly, were up to. Steve in a panic, putting greed before good sense ordered a hit on David by a screwball hit man who couldn’t hit right-as was to be expected. They wind up switching their identities (it’s a long unfunny story so just go along with me) so that David wound up at Steve’s over-the-top mansion ready to get even. And he does in a way after the Feds got definitive proof that low-life greedy Steve and not pure-heart David was the evil mastermind behind the caper. Steve did 11 years, David pure-heart drew seven and Kelly a bunch too. With that enticing story-line it was a shame that the film was marred with so many unfunny slapstick jokes, some much low-rent bathroom humor and such a waste of an obviously talented cast. Yeah, what was Owen Wilson thinking. Some day when they do a retrospective of his work this one will not be included, I hope.      

Yeah, Cowgirl In The Sand-With Neil Young (and Crazy Horse) In Mind-Take Two

Yeah, Cowgirl In The Sand-With Neil Young (and Crazy Horse) In Mind-Take Two  





By Sam Lowell


[I come by this remembrance of Zack James not directly but through my friendship with his oldest brother, Alex, with whom I had been a corner boy in our old growing up hometown of North Adamsville south of Boston. A corner boy for those not in the know since you do not see such sights around small towns and urban neighborhoods anymore was a guy who hung around with other guys at some variety store, pizza parlor, bowling alley or some such place with a corner for a young man, young men, to stand against on weekend nights when cash, cars, and cuties were as sparse as hen’s teeth, maybe sparser. Alex and I had been brought together in ninth grade in high school by a mutual friend the late wild man Peter Paul Markin known as “The Scribe” back in the day and the three of us and a few others were bosom buddies for several years before we went our separate ways.     

I recently reconnected with Alex around the commemoration of the Summer of Love, 1967 which San Francisco and other places is making a big deal out of in its 50th anniversary year after he had come back from a trip there, a business trip, and tried to get all the old corner boys still standing together to honor the Scribe. He had seen an exhibition at the de Young Museum there called the Summer of Love Experience and had flipped out. His idea was to put together a book of remembrances in honor of the Scribe and had contacted his youngest brother Zack, a writer, to edit and spruce the thing up.

The reason for the book of remembrances?  See the Scribe is the guy who went out to San Francisco during the early spring of 1967 and after a few months came back and got a bunch of us, Alex and I included to go back out with him. The Scribe wound up in the hellish Army the next year, and would serve in Vietnam which fucked up his sweet short life for the few years he had left after that experience but Alex and I stayed for a couple of years. While Alex and I were cutting up old touches he mentioned this story about Zack just so I would know a little about his youngest brother who way too young for me to even remember when we were corner boys. Sam Lowell]   
****** 

Zack James when he was younger, much younger back in the early 1960s younger, now too for that matter was, well, how can we put it, maybe women-addled would be best. Ever since the end of high school, the beginning of college except for one short period he had always had some kind of woman relationship to confuse his sweet ass life (he hadn’t been very successful in high school too shy and too poor to make a hit with any of his female fellow high-schoolers so the end of high school seems the right place to start his women-addledness [sic, I assume]). Of late that streak had taken a sudden stop his latest flame of the past few years, Loretta, had flown the coop, had given him his walking papers, had decided that they had drifted too far apart, that she wanted to find herself, see who she was and what she would do with the rest of her life. Fair enough although the pain of her departure for parts unknown left a big hole in his heart, left him bereft for a while. But had also given him time to see what he was about, where he wanted to head.   

A lot of what Loretta had said about the need for her to cut Zack loose was dead-on, was right as she had been usually right about what ailed Zack. He always found himself behind the curve when it came to what Loretta was thinking about, what he was able to reflect in the lonely hours that he had recently spent in the house they had shared together over the previous several years. Had had to agree that the last year of so as his health had declined with some fairly serious medical issues which had required that he take some medicines that seem to pile up on each other and had made him, well, grumpy and cranky, a grumpy cranky old man if the truth be known especially as those medical problems dove-tailed with his turning three score, turning sixty to not be cute about it. Had made him aware as never before of his own mortality and instead of taking it easy, instead of increasingly relaxing, instead of being at peace with himself, instead of trying to put out “the fire in his head” he was more driven than ever to find his place in the sun, to have his life have meaning at the end. As to his relationship with Loretta he had let himself drift apart, left her unattended, and okay left her to seek her own newer world.

During some of those lonely hours in that desolate house which creaked eerily to his ears Zack began to think through his whole life, who was he kidding his whole relationship with the women who had festooned his sweet ass life, had made life bearable for him. What he had found out, was trying to think through is that he really needed, very much needed the companionship of a woman, and if it was not going to be Loretta, hell, she essentially left no forwarding address all he had was her cellphone number so she could be anywhere, then it had to be somebody else. Rather than go right out and jump into the “meat market,” that is what they called it when he was younger and if they had a different name for the process it was still the same ordeal he decided that he had better take stock of himself and where he has been, and what he wanted out of a relationship now. Any reflection on his apart about failed relationships, and there were plenty, always, always, always led him back to the “cowgirl in the sand,” always led him back to Mariah Welsh, back when he decided  he wanted his first serious relationship.      

That “cowgirl in the sand” was no cute inside joke and it still pained Zack to even think about Mariah and how she led him a merry chase in that one summer, the summer of 1976, they had stayed together. See Mariah was actually from the West, had grown up on a big cattle ranch just outside of Cheyenne out in Wyoming country and had some certain set western ways for a young woman of twenty. He had met her down in Falmouth, down in the Cape Cod area of Massachusetts about fifty miles from where he lived, down near the beach in the summer of 1976 just after his sophomore year in college. He had been renting a place with several other fellow college students for the summer who were as dedicated to partying as he was and that was that. He had actually seen her a couple of times on the beach at Falmouth Heights near where they had rented the cottage and thought that she looked very fine in her skimpy bikini (then skimpy which today would be considered modest) but was not sure how to approach her. One day he decided to go up and invite her to the weekly weekend party that his cottage put on and see what happened. (That weekend party almost literally true as the party would start early Friday afternoon and end at some Happy Hour bar early Sunday evening inevitably a few people, including Zack, would carry over until Monday or Tuesday if the spirit moved them or they had some hot date that kept the fires burning that long).

As Zack approached her she had brought him up short when she saw him coming and shouted out “Here comes the boy who had been checking me out, checking out my shape as far as I could tell and who knows what else he was thinking about, but was afraid to come up and say hello.” Yeah, that was the kind of girl, young woman, Mariah was all through that hot summer relationship. She claimed one night when they had gotten better acquainted that unlike uptight people from the East Coast people from the West, from cattle country, were more plainspoken, less hung up about speaking out about what they wanted-or who they wanted. Needless to say Zack and Mariah spent the rest of that afternoon talking about this and that, mostly dreary college stuff since Mariah was also a student at the University of Wyoming studying art. (She was an exceptionally good artist, had drawn a couple of charcoal drawings of him which he had kept for years afterward even when he was married to Josie, his first wife, and Josie had asked who had done them and he had foolishly told her and he had to hide the damn things. Josie had later when they were separating torn the works up-yes, it was that kind of breakup).

As they talked Mariah made no bones about showing off her very fine body, slender, small but firm breasts which he was attracted in woman, well-turned long legs and thin ankles, blondish brown hair, sea blue eyes and a wicked smile that would melt butter on a cold day. They made that primal connection that said they had something to do together what it would be who knew but something.

Mariah had told Zack that she had come East with a couple of her college girlfriends since none of them had ever been east of the Mississippi and had been thrilled when they first saw the ocean, had frolicked in the waves and one girl had almost gone under when a sudden riptide which they were totally ignorant of started pulling her down. But that scare was soon over since the girl had allowed herself to drift until the current subsided. They were staying for the summer over on Maravista a few blocks away from the beach (and maybe half a dozen blocks away from Zack’s cottage) in a tiny cottage in back of the landlord’s yard which he usually let out to students who worked in the restaurants and such places for the summer. As the hot tanning sun began to fade a bit by four Zack then popped the question of whether she and her girlfriends were up for a party that weekend. All Mariah asked about though was would there be booze and dope there. When Zack answered yes Mariah said they would surely, her word, be there and she had better not see him talking to some other girl when she arrived. Bingo.

That booze and dope stuff needs a little explaining since Zack and his fellows were all under official drinking age (as were Mariah and her friends at least in Massachusetts) so they “hired” an older guy who was living with a bunch of his older friends up their street to “buy” for them and he would get a big bottle of liquor, usually scotch, as his service charge. The dope thing was a little more problematic since dope, marijuana, maybe some speed when a connection could be made, were not that widely used then by the youth fresh college generation he hung around with although that movement was beginning to build up a head of steam. At that time “booze heads,” representing a more working class ethos and “dopers” were at loggerheads something that would get settled out later. Jazz, one of his roommates at their cottage and at school, had connections in Cambridge and so they never lacked for dope although more than a few girls would back off once they smelled the dope and didn’t know what the hell they were in for. So Mariah already was ahead of that crowd.      

As they were getting ready to part company after Zack gave Mariah his address and had told her to come by anytime on Friday afternoon or later Mariah told him to wait a minute until she put her street clothes on and they could walk off the beach together toward her car (Zack had walked over to the beach since he unlike several of his roommates did not have a car and was driven down by Willy another roommate). Zack was shocked, mildly shocked anyway, when Mariah put on her blue jean shorts, a frilly lacy cowgirl-type blouse, and, get this, her cowboy boots, and her cowgirl hat what he would later find out was called a Ladies’ Stetson. She looked like she had just gotten ready to go to the rodeo, or the state fair. Something told Zack that this was going to be an interesting ride indeed. Mariah must have sensed that because as they approached her car for her to leave she asked Zack whether he liked her outfit, and then said in her plain spoken Western way, “Maybe you can play cowboy with me if things work out.” Giving Zack a soft sexy look like if things worked out she would give him a ride he would not forget. Whoa!                            

That Friday evening Mariah and her two girlfriends arrived, guess what, dressed up very similarly to the way Mariah had been dressed as she and Zack left the beach a few days before which caused a sensation, a sensation at the novelty of the garb in Falmouth in the summer and also that the two girlfriends were “hot” as well. Zack fortunately was alone when they entered (he had earlier been talking to Cissie, an old flame whom he figured to rekindle a flame with that night since he had frankly given up the idea that Mariah was going to show, it would not have been the first time, or the last, some young thing had promised the moon to him and never showed up. Mariah came right over and asked if he had a joint, a joint she said to calm her nerves, make her feel good among the party-goers all of whom were eying her the guys for obvious reasons the women also for obvious reasons if they were with a guy.

Zack called over to Jazz who delivered a huge joint from the bag of dope he had “connected” with only that afternoon which made Mariah eyes widen and after taking a few “hits” said to Zack “You may be playing cowboy tonight after all.” In that instance her statement proved not to be true because she got so “wasted” that she fell asleep but the next night’s party, or really a continuation of Friday’s party she and Zack got it on in one of the empty bedrooms upstairs (not his room, the room where he had all his possessions, but nobody was particular about such arrangements when a “hot” date needed a place to put her head down).                         

What struck Zack about Mariah (beside that Western plain-spokenness that he was not used to with the local girls, mostly Irish girls who descended on the Cape with as the saying went “ten dollars and their virtue” and left with both intact or standoffish WASPish girls from the better colleges who were sometimes more trouble than they were worth in trying to get next to them if you were not seriously looking to be upward mobile after your college hijinks) was how sexually experienced and into doing sex she was even that first night when she did a lot of stuff that most other girls he knew were not into, like giving a good blow job. When they talked about it later Mariah told him that those cowboys out in the West, the ones who worked for her father broke her in early at thirteen and she liked it, liked it enough to read books in high school about various sexual positions and practices from a manual. (It turned out to be the Kama Sutra, the ancient Indian bible of sex for those who are clueless).

So for several weeks that summer Zack and Mariah were what would be called an “item” today, were almost inseparable. Went to the beach, partied, had great sex (mostly based on her knowledge and Zack’s willingness as a subject) and Zack assumed would find some way to continue their relationship at summer’s end. When that time came though Mariah told him straight out that theirs was a summer fling and that she was heading back to school in Wyoming and back to her boyfriend. The night they parted though, despite Zack’s futile pleading that they stay together some way and then giving up when she cut him off which she said was also a Western way, she gave him a parting sexual bout that he still remember forty years later. Yeah, Zack was women-addled, always was being played by them. Praise be.