Three Punched Tickets to Hollywood
A classmate from high school left our hometown for acting school with dreams of working in the movies. She married a man who later became a world-renowned Hollywood star, and she became a film editor. Years later their adult child died. I asked C. how she survived this. Without the slightest pause she replied, “I never look back.”
Many of us were movie lovers back in high school and enjoyed fantasies of being discovered one day, even though our hometown was on the opposite side of the continent. A rebellious classmate with long black hair did more than daydream about it though, and dropped out of school in order to hitchhike to Hollywood to “get into the movies”. She was so strikingly beautiful that it seemed likely we would see her on the big screen one day. However, Barbara was murdered, and her body dumped along a faraway western highway; her killer never found. Not a week goes by all these years later that I haven’t thought of Barbara and the thousands of others drawn to Hollywood but somehow lost or discarded along the way.
A close family friend, (and my mentor), wrote a big, fat novel about his Army service in the jungles of WW2 Burma. It was made into a major film, and he left the woman he’d lived with for years (and all the rest of us) behind. He took off to mingle with some of the fanciest and most high-profile people in Hollywood. He had numerous adventures out there that he would report back about to us by telephone. However, getting caught up in the fast life destroyed him. A fire in his room, probably started by smoking in bed, woke him up but he couldn’t see through all the smoke and darkness to escape. His bloody handprints were found all over the broken mirror of the dresser as he struggled to find a way out of the hotel room.