Reprise: I have a Pavlovian response, and when I’m feeling peaked I have to go to Palm Springs

When I was a youngster we didn’t spend much time there. My mother spoke of it disdainfully saying, “It’s fine if you’re a Republican or play golf,” neither the party or the sport interested her. I did, however, have an aunt and uncle who had retired young and decided to make it their year round home. I know that my uncle had something to do with record distribution in the 50s and 60s and my big brother told me later, after his death, that Uncle X drove around with a pistol in his dashboard, and that we had lots of cousins we had never met. I don’t mean to be obtuse, they were children that were born outside his marriage. My aunt had been one of those willowy beauties of the 1940s, freckles, red hair, and a killer fashion sense. She never finished college but fast-tracked to a career as a buyer for a big department store, and later, after my uncle entered the scene on a visit to Manhattan in his Army Air Corps uniform they — hooked up mighty fast.

Now, be patient. I’m looping back around to feeling peaked and Palm Springs. When I went east for college it was the first time I had experienced winter in all it’s snowy glory. London got cold, but it only snowed once while I lived there, and Los Angeles? Babies, we don’t know from snow. As a direct result of furthering my education in a town that often had 14 foot accumulations of fluffy-icy-stuff from December to April, I seemed to have a perpetual cold. Spring break would find me flying home and then being shuttled straight out to the desert to recuperate at my aunt and uncle’s. Oh god, it was so warm there. I mean, the HEAT of the Sun, you could feel it in your bones. There was an orchard of citrus trees on one side of their house and on the other, a huge, heated, pool.

I’d wake up in the morning, grab an armful of oranges or pink grapefruit, and get to juicing. Then I would lie by the pool, looking up at snow topped Mt. San Jacinto, sip my citrus concoction, and wonder whether I would swim first, or read a few more pages of some deliciously compelling book. My cold would dissipate overnight.

That novel I’ve been yammering about opens in Palm Springs, and I guess it’s natural that my creative impulses come from places I’m familiar with. Now that I’m master of my own writing dominion, wanna see a page or two of my novel? Or maybe I’ll read a bit out loud and link to it…

Why, the more I think about it…

Here you go, poppets, story time…click here to listen to me read.

photo(4) copy 2And, if you stay on that page to listen to the second recording you’ll hear about Palm Springs, and a few saucy bits that are definitely NOT for children.

Subscribe to Podcast


    February 21, 2014

    reading time! reading time!

    • February 21, 2014

      I’m afraid my tone of voice is very much what I used to use to read to the kid… but believe me, the subject matter is completely different!

  2. February 21, 2014

    Looking forward to it!

    • February 21, 2014

      Thanks Joan! I have butterflies, I hope that means the same thing in the UK that it does here 😉 .

      • February 22, 2014

        Yes iindeed, I am sure it will be fantastic.

  3. February 22, 2014

    It’s been a Palm Springs type of day here all day. My bones are warmed and I am ready….

  4. February 22, 2014

    Get out! An uncle with a pistol in his dashboard?! Marvelous!

    • February 22, 2014

      Yes, indeed! They also had a parrot in Palm Springs that perfectly mimicked my aunt as she chided my uncle… It was quite a scene.

      • penelopebianchi
        March 6, 2014

        I KNOW the word “Pekid” you spell it “peaked”….it is pronounced (I was just corrected I believe incorrectly)! (I spelled “pronounced” correctly I believe! )

        It did not correct me again! How the hell do you spell it! It is such a great word! I think it means : (I have not consulted a dictionary!)

        It means to me…”weak and feverish; feeble and feeling no strength”! You do NOT want to feel “Pekid or peaked……or whatever it is! !!” And the perfect place to go is Palm Springs!

        I love Palm Springs……..(I am not a fan of the millions of golf courses that have spread out towards Indio!)

        YUCK!! Instead of fixing up the lovely (a few lovely….(my personal fave is “Marrakesh”)..they just march on. Leave the tacky ones……and make them more and more expensive; and..(.I guess improve the landscaping…….no they don’t)

        Smoke Tree Ranch is where I grew up going! (No one in my entire extended family has ever played golf!) Smoke Tree Ranch is the “original desert”!!

        I met Walt Disney there! And I was little…..and he loved children……he spent a long time talking to me at 5; I will never forget him! The Bronze statue of him at Disneyland (he got into a terrible fight with his brother Roy about building “Disneyland”!!)

        He has a kind of a tie on…..and the insignia is SMOKE TREE RANCH!

        He was a darling man…and his wife, Lillian….a darling woman. They were just nice people we saw at “Smoke Tree”!


        I adore Smoke Tree!

  5. penelopebianchi
    March 6, 2014

    How old did the parrot live to be? (who mimicked your aunt chiding your uncle???) Sheesh! What color! What a fabulous drama!! Where is the parrot? they live to be 70 or 80! Lordy!!!

  6. March 7, 2014

    My dad used to say it all the time, and it’s an ancient word, pronounced like Chaucer’s English — and this is a poem he used to spin out every spring:
    Whan that Aprill with his shoures sote°
    The droghte° of Marche hath perced to the rote,°
    And bathed every veyne° in swich licour,°
    Of which vertu° engendred is the flour;
    Whan Zephirus° eek with his swete breeth…
    Boy, you make the memories tumble back. Speaking of which, you have inspired me and I’m looking at the Smoke Tree Ranch right now online. Now, that would be a get away!
    Ah, Ida, the parrot was ancient too, she first made her appearance in the 1960s!

Comments are closed.