Carolyn, my friend, partner in menopause, outer Lucy to my inner Ethel–
Thanks for yet another opportunity to claim my fifteen minutes of fame. Alas, I may be able to squeeze only sixty seconds out of this one.
True, I went to school with the Jacksons back in 1974…75? 76? Somewhere in there. However, dear Carolyn, I fear your excitement may have colored a few of the less salient facts, albeit ever-so-slightly. First of all, the Jacksons and my family did reside in the same county, but not in the same neighborhood. Nooo, that would be like saying Secretariat and Penny Chenery lived in the same house. (Secretariat=barn; Ms. Chenery=rambling country estate, if you get my drift).
Neither is it wholly accurate to suggest I hung out at Michael’s house, because…well, I didn’t. Never saw the place. My brother did, though. Once. Michael wasn’t there, but knowing my brother loved pinball machines, he invited Matthew to play in the Jackson’s home arcade.
They were an extremely generous family. During one lunch period at school, Michael and his brothers treated us all to a performance of Dancing Machine, complete with The Robot. By all appearances, Michael was a pretty normal kid back then. He was fifteen, as I recall, handsome in those pre-plastic surgery days.
Now, lest you begin to think I knew Michael only peripherally–oh my, no. In fact, I like to think I provided the muse for his ultimate greatness, the way Forrest Gump helped give Elvis his wriggle. (Yes, I know Forrest Gump was fiction; you’ll have to reach your own conclusion about Michael and me.)
Michael and I had art class together. In fact, we hung out with the teacher quite a lot, because we both loved to draw. Michael was a very, very good artist, and he had opinions about my work. After examining one of my drawings carefully, he would invariably raise his hand in the air and say in his soft voice, “Your drawings need more of this–” –he’d spread his fingers and curl them into a claw “–do you know what I mean?”
Well, actually, Michael, no I do not. More…what? Fingers? Claw-like appendages? What?
I was only twelve at the time; it took a few years to figure out that he meant depth and perspective, and by that time I’d Goodwilled my charcoals and moved on to writing and acting. So, I like to believe those moments in art class had a more profound effect on Michael than they did on me. I believe that, one seminal day, he looked at his own hand raised in the air and thought, “Hey, I ought to put a glove on that thing.”
Now, as for throwing out the drawings Michael gave me: You flatter me, Carolyn. “Wendy threw out…” implies an assertive approach to household organization. Should I suggest to.. oh, say, my husband…that I possess such skills, he would convulse so hard with laughter he might swallow his tongue. No, better to admit I lost the damn things.
So…no drawings to sell for a small fortune; I don’t even have the yearbook that showed us side-by-side. All I have are my memories and with menopause rapidly disintegrating those, I better hang onto that photo shopped pic of me and George Clooney if I want to claim “fame.”
Yeah, back to trying the win the Pillsbury Bake-Off. Anybody have a stellar recipe utilizing canned frosting?