My Dear Friends and Family,
In another week I shall celebrate my 89th birthday.
Who’s going to win the Golden Ticket? The person that is the first to say, “You know, you don’t look it!,” wins. Believe me, there are days I not only look it but feel it, too. Yeah, like mortgage rates the numbers keep going up.
On and off over the years, I threatened myself that one day I would write a memoir.
As long as I was still performing, I didn’t take me seriously. When I slowed and eventually stopped performing, I searched to find a replacement for my overflowing creative juices. Writing these blogs fulfilled that outlet. I think that is when the idea of a memoir moved slowly from my subconscious to my conscious.
As this birthday nears, I came to the realization of if not now, when?! So many stories always bubbling up inside me and I am just not the kind of person (ask anyone who knows me) that can keep anything under cover for long. If I want to write this book, and I do, I need to limit and focus my energies.
All to say, this is my final Blah, Blah, Blog… for now.
It is with sadness that I tell you this. And just to keep you close to me I shall conclude with an excerpt, in its infancy, from the memoir.
As it progresses I will periodically share a story as it makes its way into the book. I do not want to lose touch.
Here is a piece from A Piece of Eight. Please don’t hold me to that title. We know all too well that the only constant in life is change.
Right??? Of course, right!!!
Love, Sally-Jane ❤️
A piece from A Piece of Eight...
I was born in 1933. The roost I was born into was ruled by a 5-foot strong, willful, super mom who for her own reasons raised her children in the belief she knew everything and about everyone. I was most puzzled how she knew about people she had never met. However, my survival instinct was very strong and I knew enough never to challenge her. The division of labor in my household was distinct and written in stone. My mother was judge and jury, anointed by divine proclamation. My father, a la sentorian oration, laid down my mothers rules and regulations. He was majestical. He was a 6-foot handsome man possessed of a resounding, basso voice. These pronouncements engendered just enough quaking fear to keep the family, well, at least the girls, on the straight and narrow. From a very early age, I knew boy children, aka Princes, were the preferred sex in my household down to their extra portions at the dinner table.
Whatever talents my four brothers possessed were enthusiastically supported. Piano lessons, violin lessons, chemistry laboratory, model airplane workshop. Before the depression, no expense was spared. After the depression, the family made do with second hand clothes, tools and tutus.
I grew up in two families. The first five, by age, Raymond, Allyn, Marilyn, Elliot, Lucille were born before the depression. The last three, by age, David, Sally-Jane, Arlene were born after. The depression took a big bite out of the family budget. Yet, even then, my parents sacrificed to provide the best teachers and classes for their eight talented children.
When I was very young, my three sisters and I were also encouraged to explore our talents as well… until… drum roll… MENSTRUATION.
If life is about anything, it is about timing.
After the death of a gazillion patients, Joseph Lister sanitized surgery.
After the death of a gazillion patients, Arthur Fleming discovered penicillin.
After a gazillion unwanted pregnancies, Margaret Sanger promoted birth control.
My mother, expert in all things, informed her girl children that Sanger and her methods were nothing but ‘’dirty smutty dirt smut.” Her law would be all the birth control her daughters would ever need. Her words terrified me. She was the reincarnation of all the movie monsters that frightened me to death; Frankenstein, Dracula, Wolf Man. Was this the beginning of my neurotic, anxiety ridden life. Just think about it. I loved my mother, or so I dutifully thought. And here she was swearing she would be the death of me. At the very least, her words confused me.
Like a cobra, my mother hissed at me. All right already, so I was never in the same room with a cobra. Sue me!
My mother preached the horrors and evils of sex. I have to tell you, after those lectures, I never would have married if I thought there was any other way to escape. It doesn’t take much to remember her words:
“If any of you do IT, I will know. If you do IT before you are lawfully wed as a virgin, or, God forbid, you get pregnant before you are lawfully wed as a virgin…”
(At this she lifts her eyes to heaven like Charlton Heston on the Mount receiving the Commandments, without the beard nor in a clean white sheet)
“… I swear on my dead mother’s grave to which I will force you to go with me next time I go to the cemetery, I will send you to that Island in the middle of the East River where they keep the insane and diseased city poor.”
All that glorious preaching fell on deaf ears. I didn’t know what IT was. I didn’t know any of my body parts. Where they were. What they did. After my mother’s curse, I didn’t understand what got a girl pregnant. Could I get pregnant from a hug? What about playing Post Office or Spin the Bottle? Safe to say, my thoughts and feelings about sex were deeply affected. Ask any of the men in my life. That might be difficult. At my age most of them are dead. Being an actress of some ability, along with scores of other women, I was able to fake it. Meg Ryan’s fake orgasm in When Harry Met Sally was good. Mine was better.”
TO BE CONTINUED…