You have to indulge me today because it’s my birthday, and, love found me thirty-one years ago. Since it’s nearly Valentine’s day I thought I’d share a few memories of my and The Mister’s courtship.
Once upon a time, on a very grungy set, a set in an abandoned industrial building beneath a bridge in downtown Los Angeles (that was coated with decades of filthy cloying dust) yours truly was hard at work. It had fallen to me to wrangle the hero prop in a scene that involved plastic crucifixes being fed onto a conveyor belt and sent by a lead actor (a doll, who later became a director, and believe me I do not take the descriptor “doll” lightly). Where was I? Ah, yes. The actor was then to pluck said crucifix from the conveyor belt and hide it under his coat. Easy! Well, it was easy for the actor. I, on the other hand, had to crawl under the conveyor belt through an opening in the wall that only I could fit through into a empty dirty cavern of a room hauling a crate of crucifixes behind me.
And there I sat, take after take, listening to the prompts of the first AD and the director (roll sound, roll camera, speed, clap, action) setting out crucifix after crucifix on the decayed, wheezing, conveyor belt… All the action was going on in the other room. I listened to the voices of the crew as dust motes drifted through shafts of grimy light and wondered how many takes I’d have to share with the beetles and other assorted species. At one point my beloved, on set, in the other room – shouted out, “Vickie! Vickie where are you!” Now, it should have been apparent to everyone on set that the conveyor belt was not miraculously moving, or being set with gleaming crucifixes at regular intervals, on its own. However, the future Mister was inquiring as to my whereabouts…
“I’m right here with the dead rats, the same mummified rats I have to crawl over every time I load up the conveyor belt (indeterminate sputtering). I’m right here!”
I vowed then and there to make his life miserable. I married him. Mission accomplished.
Look at this picture of one of my favorite directors (Preston Sturges) swinging Barbara Stanwyck up into the air. I’d probably be safe in assuming he had a strong back. To be young again… I remember when I, the 98 pound sprout, could lift my husband, the 165 pound gorgeous young man about two inches off the floor. I have no idea how that worked. Young love? Adrenaline? Just thinking about it now hurts.
The Mister can still hoist me off the ground and carry me (something I could never do with him) but I would only expect that in the event of an earthquake. Actually, when we did have that earth rumbling event in 1994 (under the Hollywood sign) I woke to the sensation of being on a rocking boat, and the only thing that clued me to reality was the fact that The Mister was shielding me with his body as the bed pitched below us, the windows rattled above, while I heard, “I’ve got you, everything’s all right.” That’s what being married in Hollywood is all about.