Posts Tagged ‘1956’

Lacey (name changed) sat behind me in secretarial class my senior year, 1956. I knew the stories she whispered to me could not be true, yet they seemed so real a part of me believed. Lacey and I weren’t close friends, didn’t run around together, rarely saw each other outside of the two hour secretarial class, which left a lot of time for those who were one with the manual typewriter. Lacey and I were.

The first whisper was about how cool she thought Russ Tamblyn was. He was a rather short standout dancer in movie dance groups like Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. His rather unruly hair had a red tint and his face was what we called cute back in the fifties.

Lacey’s fervor for Russ Tamblyn was so strong I began to look forward to her little fantasies. One day she became very excited and had to be hushed by the teacher. When the coast cleared she took a deep breath and told me Russ stayed at her house last night in a spare room. I don’t remember the circumstances of his implantation into her physical life from the screen, but it was so real to her. I could hardly wait for secretarial class the next day. Lacey was beside herself with her idol present in her own home and I began to feel how real it was. She never mentioned conversations or meals with him and the family, just seeing him, knowing he was sleeping beyond her bedroom wall.

One day Lacey burst into class extremely calm, but I could see she was boiling underneath. When the chance came, she leaned into my ear and whispered, “Russ and I did it last night.” This story needs a large piece of white space here because that’s what the time and room became for me. Everything was so real for Lacey—and for me. Your first time was a big event in your life and Lacey had experienced it with her idol!

I sat bolt upright and faced the front of the class. What was I thinking? Of course, this was all a fantasy in her head. Russ Tamblyn didn’t come to our little town. Lacey didn’t sleep with him.

“We met on the living room couch during the night like I knew we would. The look was in his eyes earlier,” Lacey said, “it was wonderful.” Then Lacey went into a sort of trance.

For several days after that Lacey first gave me that knowing smile and nod and said they met again. Sometimes she added they were almost caught by her mom.

* * *

It’s 2009. I haven’t seen or thought of Lacey in years, but I did today. Amber Tamblyn was featured in the Parade Magazine. I’ve followed her because she was Russ Tamblyn’s little girl, so I read a celebrity piece, which I rarely do. Amber is asked how it feels to be an only child. And there she discloses that she learned she is not an only child, that she has an older sister her father produced in the sixties. Suddenly for the first time in years I think of Lacey. I know Lacey’s tale was spun in 1956 and Amber’s sister was born in the sixties so there can be no connection. Yet I hear those breathless whispers and don’t know where fantasy ends and reality begins.


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