Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Tangling Paths

Aimée Crocker and I sort of cooled off after I returned And I'd Do It Again to the library and graduated from college. I focused on big changes I had going on. I had a new(ish) boyfriend in Los Angeles, I decided to head south and pursue teaching...and my "MRS" degree. My BFF also lived in LA, and I was crazy about the weather, so there were a few things drawing me south. I later learned Aimée also left Sacramento & San Francisco to move to LA. Great minds think alike! Though our reasons were quite different.
When I think of Aimée and Los Angeles, two stories come to mind, though I only knew of one when I moved. The first, the one she told about in her memoir, was her honeymoon with her first husband, R. Porter Ashe. They took a train from the Bay Area, which wrecked at the Tehachapi Pass. It was a devastating wreck, perhaps an omen of what her other LA journey had in store? 
Chapter 3: A Train Wreck of a Marriage
Aimée Crocker's Refined Vaudeville
Kevin Taylor & Aimée Crocker, 2009
The other journey was another sort of train wreck altogether. After five years of marriage, The Ashe couple dissolved. I'm sure dividing up wealth was a messy issue, but it was trumped by the custody battle over their daughter, Gladys (then known as Alma). Porter Ashe kidnapped the girl from Margaret's fancy LA mansion and a nasty legal battle ensued. 
Read Aimée Crocker's Refined Vaudeville for details of the
kidnapping/custody/divorce saga...
it's a divorce with a (fairly) happy ending!
Despite not being a tattooed, bohemian heiress, my life in LA runs circles around a train wreck and a divorce. I landed a fantastic job teaching 2nd grade in a darling public school. I have great friends. I live a short drive from world-class beaches, hiking trails, shopping, yoga studios, museums, and great restaurants. Life is good.
Hanging with Alice at Disneyland
I'm a hopeless hopeful romantic, plagued with wanderlust. I used to envy people taking "the red eye" because it meant their tomorrow would be someplace far away. My first red eye was spring break of 2009, LA boyfriend and I went to DC. Later that summer was my first visit to New York, to meet up with LA boyfriend during his business trip. Other than road trips and a few visits to Hawaii, these were my first real tastes of traveling far from home.

I quickly fell in love with the east coast, especially New York. I wandered through Central Park, enchanted. I gazed at shop windows. I treated myself here & there. I loved walking the grid, block after block. 
Cyndi Lauper, 1983
I wondered about past residents who have influenced me...Jack Kerouac, Marilyn Monroe, Andy Warhol, Cyndi Lauper...Aimée Crocker. There are so many! I imagined what the cityscape looked like in each of their days, how people dressed, traveled and spoke. 
Madison Avenue of long ago
Most of Aimée's memoir was about her exotic world travels. She briefly named some of her New York friends toward the end, and told about the birthday party she threw for a 12-foot boa constrictor named Kaa. Other than my vague recollections of her vague recollections, I knew nothing about Aimée's life in New York. But it didn't stop me from daydreaming about her exciting days (and nights) in Edwardian New York as I wandered through the glittering city.

Soundtrack: Cub "New York City"

No comments:

Post a Comment