Tuesday, November 4, 2014

There Went My Summer of Love

We met a dormitory dance at UCLA where I was playing with my trio The 1930 Four, which was forever trying to add a fourth member. Mari came up to me between sets in her Cher hair and scandalous miniskirt and said, “Will you teach me to play drums?” Overhearing, the keyboard player mused, loud enough for me to hear, “Who’s going to teach him?" We’d never liked each other.

I knew she had a boyfriend in her native San Mateo, but nonetheless let her wrap me around her finger. I left Original Girlfriend, who I thought would be the only girl ever to love me, for her. She had panache. She was a dance major, and lots hipper than I. Her boyfriend was in a group that sang four-part harmony on covers of obscure UK bands' B-sides and bought their clothing at the extremely hip Town Squire on Polk Street in San Francisco, whereas I was still getting mine in the mod departments of department stores. She was embarrassed by my persisting in wearing Beatle boots six months after the release of the High Tide and Green Grass album, on which the Rolling Stones sported much chicquer kicks.

I of course suffocated her in that enchanting way I had as a boy. She endured it somehow, and we witnessed side by side the miracle of The Who at the Fillmore Auditorium two nights before the Monterey Pop Festival, which we also attended together.

I went home to LA while she stayed in San Mateo. I parked cars at a Polynesian restaurant in Malibu at which I was supposed to turn over my tips at evening’s end. The price of a phone call to San Mateo would somehow remain in my pocket every night, at the end of which I would be on the phone, demanding that she reaffirm her devotion. She got sick of it and disclosed that her heart had come to belong to David Somebody, who bought his clothes at the Town Squire. When I hitchhiked up to San Mateo to try to change her mind, she wouldn’t even see me. And there went my Summer of Love.

Three years later, David Somebody left her, and she phoned in tears to ask if she could come visit me in Hollywood. I was still wrapped around her finger, and agreed immediately. If being the consolation prize was what I had to do to regain her sweet, sweet love, then consolation prize I was prepared to be. She looked better than ever, and trampled on my heart, my masochism having inspired her contempt. One evening when we were supposed to go out, she left a note saying only, “You’re here and I’m not.” I stood for it. 

I saw her again four years later, by which time I’d entered my Glamorous Rock God phase and she’d acquired rather a lot to sit on. Payback time! To make her jealous, I lowered the boom on a pretty brunette at Wooey Looey Fooey Gooey, or whatever the name of that restaurant on Jackson Street in San Francisco’s Chinatown where I’d once taken David Bowie, though only around 80 of the 751 Bowie biographies have mentioned it.

We saw each other 27 years later, in May 2013. More accurately, she saw me. She and a companion were lined up outside CBS studios here in LA for a taping of The Bill Maher Show right behind me and Spousie. Twenty-four hours later, she sent me a message on Facebook — on which she proudly displays photos of her gorgeous grandchildren — to say she’d had the feeling the older rock-type dude in front of her had been I, as indeed it had. It was probably better we hadn’t spoken. 

Today is the 48th anniversary of her asking me to teach her to play the drums. Time flies when you're having fun, and when you're not 


  1. Everyone had a boyfriend in their native San Mateo.
    oh wait. You meant something else.

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