60s fashion

March 7, 1980


March 7, 1980

My favorite bridesmaid dress - for the Mary Bennett/Jack de Nove nuptials in 1980
My favorite bridesmaid dress – for the Mary Bennett/Jack de Nove nuptials in 1980

I served as a bridesmaid six times – all after being a bride myself – and this was by far the best dress. I was far crueler to the five women who participated in my wedding (below). The lace overlay, garden party hats, puffed sleeves – any one of these might be an unpardonable fashion sin – put them all together and this is what you get.

The dresses I forced my bridesmaids to wear (l to r - Joyce Knutsen Salter, Sandy Walker Hegwood, Janet Knusten McCann, Mary Bennett deNove, Denise Gail Williams) Picture on the left
The dresses I forced my bridesmaids to wear (l to r – Joyce Knutsen Salter, Sandy Walker Hegwood, Janet Knusten McCann, Mary Bennett deNove, Denise Gail Williams) Picture on the left

In my defense, the year was 1975 and I’d go with five different colors again today. I doubt my bridesmaids wore their dresses again aside from the occasional costume party.

Me as bridesmaid, Sam as flower girl, in emerald-green themed dresses.
Me as bridesmaid, Sam as flower girl, in themed dresses.

While it’s an honor to be asked to serve as a bridesmaid – and I don’t mind admitting I was miffed on a few occasions when I thought I’d be an integral part of the wedding party only to find myself seated on the brides’s side with the rest of her friends who didn’t rate – it’s not all fun and games.

Wedding

Engaging with the bride
Engaging with the bride
My sister Joyce put me in this dress for her 1980 wedding (with Denise Gail Williams)
My sister Joyce put me in this dress for her 1980 wedding (with Denise Gail Williams)

Standing up for your friend as she/he exchanges vows with the person they plan to spend their lives with becomes uncomfortable when you’ve got a strong intuition this union won’t survive the sniffles, forget until death do us part. I’ve been there and I’m usually right.

Other pictures of me in Mary Bennett's bridesmaid dress
Other pictures of me in Mary Bennett’s bridesmaid dress

Not always, though. No outsider can fully grasp another couple’s relationship because we don’t know what goes on behind closed doors. One of my cynical writing professors told me not to bother justifying why two mismatched people stay together in misery all their lives. “The same reason most relationships stick together. Inertia and fear of change.” Dramatically, he’s probably right. Realistically, he’s probably right about a lot of couples – but not all. I’ll never give up on the romantic ideal of people who promise “till death do us part” and mean it with their whole heart.

February 14, 1981

February 14, 1981

 Prom Party Invitation

John and I in Mexico-themed photo booth with Co-hostess Anne Kurrasch
John and I in Mexico-themed photo booth with Co-hostess Anne Kurrasch

The invitation for this party (reproduced above) explains it all.  I wore the dress I actually wore to real proms in the sixties when I thought it was the most beautiful gown I’d ever seen. The style failed to age as well as I hoped – the dresses worn by most of the other female guests fared better (but I still got to be Prom Queen, an opportunity denied me in real life)

Kirk Hulstrom and Arthur Everett in character.
Kirk Hulstrom and Arthur Everett in character.

In this case, the photos are worth a thousand words so here are some of my favorites.

Ceiling stars and disco ball were more effective live than they appear in photos - I guess you had to be there.
Ceiling stars and disco ball were more effective live than they appear in photos – I guess you had to be there.
Joyce and John Salter (one of few people who look young enough to actually be in high school)
Joyce and John Salter (one of few people who look young enough to actually be in high school)
Bennett Traub with JJ Johnson - Danny and JoAnn Hill
Bennett Traub with JJ Johnson – JoAnn Hill and Danny
Kim Mistretta and Karen Hermann, the future Mrs. Art Everett (this was the night they met) & Ken Millikian and Steffani Graham
Kim Mistretta and Karen Hermann, the future Mrs. Art Everett (this was the night they met) & Ken Millikian and Steffani Graham
Some girls campaigned shamelessly to be elected Prom Queen (Anne Kurrasch and Bill Connell)
Some girls campaigned shamelessly to be elected Prom Queen (Anne Kurrasch and Bill Connell)
Don't judge Mr. Hulstrom too harshly. You'd be drinking too if you had to chaperone this thing. The photographer gets frisky with Joyce Salter and Denise Gail Williams.
Don’t judge Mr. Hulstrom too harshly. You’d be drinking too if you had to chaperone this thing. The photographer gets frisky with Joyce Salter and Denise Gail Williams.
You didn't hear it from me, but something's fishy with the Queen of the Prom ballots! (Diane Larson, Joyce Salter, Steffani Graham)
You didn’t hear it from me, but something’s fishy with the Queen of the Prom ballots! (Diane Larson, Joyce Salter, Steffani Graham)
Somebody dropped something! (Kathy Williamson, Kirk Hulstrom, Sharon and Russ Carpenter )
Somebody dropped something! (Kathy Williamson, Kirk Hulstrom, Sharon and Russ Carpenter )
Karen Hermann, Russ Carpenter, ??, Vicki Hill - Waiting to learn who will be crowned Prom Queen (me, Michael Wasserman, Melanie Sayler, Diane Larson plus people I can't identify)
Karen Hermann, Russ Carpenter, ??, Vicki Hill – Waiting to learn who will be crowned Prom Queen (me, Michael Wasserman, Melanie Sayler, Diane Larson plus people I can’t identify)
I was as surprised as everyone else when Mr. Hulstrom announced I was Prom Queen.
I was as surprised as everyone else when Mr. Hulstrom announced I was Prom Queen.
When you're a winner, you have to deal with the envy of others. (Sharon Grish, Father Dan) - Denise Trette, Gail Williams - a good time was had by all Joyce Salter, Michael Wasserman
When you’re a winner, you have to deal with the envy of others. (Sharon Grish, Father Dan) – Denise Trette, Gail Williams – a good time was had by all Joyce Salter, Michael Wasserman
Goodnight, John. Goodnight, Kathleen.
Goodnight, John. Goodnight, Kathleen.

February 8, 1969

February 8, 1969

Super Model

 This event was an anomaly, the farthest thing from a typical day in my life. My prior attempt to model a dress I made in 7th grade home economics came to a humiliating halt when I discovered I neglected to leave arm and neck holes in my garment. (How did this happen? When I failed to spot where I’d made a mistake, my teacher smirked and urged me to “model it for the class.” It was a lesson I never forgot.)

Super Model 2

How did I come to model chinchilla coats and wraps?  JoAnn aspired to be a model and her father raised chinchillas. In 1969 it was not politically incorrect to wear fur or raise animals to become fur. Almost six feet tall and gorgeous, JoAnn was the show-stopper. I tagged along because at 5’9” I was one of her taller friends.

Super Model 3

Somebody else did my make-up and hair. Never – not before or since – has my hair looked anything like it did that night.  Given my life has been one long bad hair day, I’ve got no right to complain – but still. Let’s just say my up-do hasn’t stood the test of time.

Super Model 4_edited-1

Much like my other insane early aspirations – trapeze artist, ballerina and cowgirl spring to mind – I daydreamed about a thrilling career as a model. I suspect a lot of girls did the same because superstars like Twiggy and Jean Shrimpton made it look so gosh-darn cool.  My one night modeling furs at the Hyatt House was as close as I ever came.

 

 

 

November 7, 1966

november-7-1966

 Judging by the amount of diary space allotted to the tragic break up with my first boyfriend compared to my conversation with Mrs. Seidenberg, it’s obvious where my priorities lay. By 1966, I had a burning desire to be a writer and encouragement from others fed that fire. Sometimes, though, I can’t help but wonder if praise from people ignited the fire in the first place. In other words, would I have wanted to be a writer if not for early positive feedback telling me I was good at it?

positive-feedback

In all honesty, writing wasn’t my first ambition. Far from it.  Long before I dreamed of seeing my name on the spine of a book, let alone a movie or TV screen, I wanted to be a trapeze artist. It didn’t occur to me acrophobia – fear of heights – might be a liability for a future trapeze artist.  Likewise, being born clumsy posed a serious challenge as did early evidence I’d be a 5’9” bruiser by the time I reached maturity making me a risky catch for all but the beefiest male aerial artist.

trapeze-artist

ballerina2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since flying through the air with the greatest of ease did not appear likely in my future, I aspired to a new dream – prima ballerina. Astute readers are probably ahead of me here. The same factors (with the possible exception of acrophobia) holding me back from swinging under the big-top demolished any chance I’d be dancing the lead in Swan Lake – not only did I move like a blind ox, relatively few guys – if any – could hoist me aloft and spin me for a romantic pas de duex. More likely he’d stagger under my weight and collapse, at which time I’d tumble after and crush us both.

Dead ballerina (if she was my weight) with dead partner she crushed.
Dead ballerina (if she was my weight) with dead partner she crushed.

On top of that, I’m positive both of the above professions require constant practice, consisting of strenuous workouts to stretch physical endurance to the max.  Prodigious sweat is probably involved. Not exactly my thing, once I remember who I am. So what attracted me to situations I was so ill-suited for?

Sam played a ballerina (well, the ghost of a DEAD ballerina, to be specific) in one of my TV movies. This is as close as I got to a career in ballet although I saw a ballet once (at least until it put me to sleep.) But I've still got to give it up for the costumes!
Sam played a ballerina (well, the ghost of a DEAD ballerina, to be specific) in one of my TV movies. This is as close as I got to a career in ballet although I saw a ballet once (at least until it put me to sleep.) But I’ve still got to give it up for the costumes!

The skimpy sequined outfits and tights, obviously. Lucky for me, I can wear the costume without the career. Since I write alone at home, I can wear anything I please. That said, I rarely indulge this professional perk. I can’t remember the last time I hit my computer keys dressed like this.

You never know, though. Maybe it’s just the inspiration I need.

ballerina-at-computer_edited-1

October 22, 1971

 

October 22, 1971

PROJECT ONE

 

Less than a month after I bought that splicer from Larry Kemp, he served as cinematographer for my award-winning Project One film. He also functioned as my AD, my confidante, driver, grip, sound technician and comic relief. He stepped up and played every role that I asked him to because he was the only guy who was there. That’s not a bad description of Larry and what he meant to me. He was the guy who was there.

LARRY KEMP, circa 71-72
LARRY KEMP, circa 71-72

He was the youngest of three boys and I was the oldest of three girls. He was from New Jersey, I’d been in California (by way of Iowa) most of my life. We both loved the Beatles and Simon and Garfunkel (okay, not exactly crazy choices in those days, but I doubt we’d have gotten along so well if he’d been into country.)
action

 

Laughter was easy with Larry. On the day of my shoot, we were both in hysterics when Larry leaned on Josie’s couch, causing her to almost poke her customer’s eye out with a tweezers. (Maybe you had to be there.)

Larry - Filmmaker2

Of course, it couldn’t be a real friendship without an occasional conflict or two. Larry met my Inner Brat and witnessed my pettiness up close and personal but he didn’t lecture, judge or reject me. It was the kind of friendship I expected to last a lifetime but we took different paths and lost touch after college.

Kathy - The Filmmaker_edited-1

 

We haven’t seen or spoken to each other since the 70s. We are Facebook “friends” but almost never email or message.  In other words, our friendship today is nothing like what it was – but we’re not who we were forty years ago either. The knowledge those days are gone doesn’t diminish the friendship that once existed. I’m happy just to know he’s alive and living happily ever after in LA – one of relatively few people I went to film school with who actually wound up working in the film business.

Time and location set for October 22, 1971 at UCLA
DATE AND LOCATION SET FOR OCTOBER 22, 1971 AT UCLA

If a time machine dropped me back in 1971, I’d buy Larry’s splicer all over again. It was worth every penny. I got the deal of lifetime.

 

 

August 28, 1967


August 28, 1967

 

MY FAMILY IN 1967
MY FAMILY IN 1967
CLOWNING WITH THE FAMILY AT DISNEYLAND
CLOWNING WITH THE FAMILY AT DISNEYLAND

I’d definitely pay to see that snippet of television tape one more time. In the summer of 1967, our family vacation was in Los Angeles – Disneyland and studio tours. We were able to get tickets to a taping of Let’s Make a Deal and were seated near the front so the cameras caught the entire family in the audience.1967 K Girls

What I remember most about the experience is being fascinated by a tall slender brunette girl in a black and white suit working behind the scenes. I had no idea then – nor do I now – what her job was. She could’ve been an intern PA, a script girl, or a producer. All I know is that she epitomized excitement to me – I couldn’t imagine a more thrilling career than working for a television show. This pre-dates my decision to be a film major at UCLA by a good two years – and I wasn’t thinking of writing at the time – but I think the show business bug bit me on the set of Let’s Make a Deal.

The rest of the entry is typical teen angst. I was in the throes of unrequited love, having been dumped by my boyfriend John earlier that year. (This is a different John than my husband John.) My goal,when he called, was to act cold but I could never pull it off.

ME AND MY ANGST AROUND 1967
ME AND MY ANGST AROUND 1967

I wish I’d been mature enough to put teen heartbreak in perspective but every song a woman sang on the radio glorified shattered hearts and faithless love. (Vicki Carr’s “It Must Be Him” set the bar in ’67. The Supremes stayed on theme – “The Happening”, “Love is Here and Now You’re Gone”, “Where Did Our Love Go”, “You Keep Me Hanging On”. With the notable exception of “Respect”, Aretha Franklin mostly sang about unrequited love. Even Grace Slick got into the act – “Don’t you want somebody to love?”)

It’s impossible to explain, let alone justify, such willing victimology in today’s feminist, politically correct world but – take my word for it – as late as 1967, far too many girls chose the wronged lovesick girl as their role model. Like Janis wailed, “Love is like a ball and chain.”  Or an anchor.

Anchor and Chain

I’m not suggesting this was  psychologically sound or healthy – quite the contrary. But that’s the way it used to be for me.

June 20, 1964

 

June 20, 1964

Cousin Connie at Janet's left w/her two little sisters and my Grandma O
Cousin Connie at Janet’s left w/her two little sisters and my Grandma O

Here’s a tip for anyone asked to read a piece of creative writing by anyone else – a relative, friend, co-worker, neighbor. No matter how savagely the writer deprecates their own work, in their secret heart they believe it is a masterpiece. They don’t want your nit-picking notes, your criticism or your suggestions for cuts and improvements. As they see it, no improvement is possible. Every word is perfection precisely as placed. So why did they give it to you to read and ask for your “honest opinion?”

Unconditional Love

Thumbs Up!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What they’re looking for is love, unconditional love and approval for their very existence. Anything less than a flood of admiration will, at best, fail to satisfy. You don’t want to be responsible for “daunting a dream,” do you? It was more than a little galling to be so cavalierly dismissed by a cousin at least two years younger.

Perhaps the need for validation is more pressing for amateur (unpublished or unproduced) writers. Professionals like myself have learned to suck it up, absorb a torrent of “notes” from well-meaning but clueless production executives and remain standing.  No one survives in this business without a thick skin.

Who’s kidding who? Professionals yearn for love and approval every bit as intensely as my 6th grade self craved it from my cousin Connie. A little love and approval goes a long way.

My family with Connie's family except - where's Kathy? Hiding and crying her eyes out, that's where. Is it my imagination or does Connie sport a self-satisfied smirk?
My family with Connie’s family except – where’s Kathy? Hiding and crying her eyes out, that’s where. Is it my imagination or does Connie sport a self-satisfied smirk?

Case in point. I did my best work – above and beyond the call of duty – for a producer who started every conversation with five minutes gushing about the brilliance of my last draft before easing into that minor matter of a few “tiny” fixes. His praise was so addictive, so intoxicating – and, at least for me, so unusual – I’d hurl myself into yet another unpaid rewrite just for another taste of the sweet stuff.

Just to be clear, I do not advocate manipulating writers. But Thumper’s mother got it right in Bambi – especially when dealing with the tender heart of an amateur. If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.

animated-bambi-image-0009

June 17, 1966

June 17, 1966_edited-1

San Jose Train Station

Vania in backyardSadly, I would lose that bet – as anyone who’s following these diary entries (is anyone following them?) will discover next week when I do something death-defyingly dumb – maybe my single most idiotic move in a field of strong contenders. For a supposedly smart person (not a genius, mind you, nor a “gifted” child like my sisters, but reliably fast-tracked at my middle class public school) I repeatedly demonstrated awesomely poor judgment and impulse control.

At the time, this “adventure” merely seemed like a waste of time but reviewing it today, I’m horrified. Guys trying to force us into their car? Barb wielding her knife to fend them off?animated-knife-image-0007 What the hell were we thinking? That Paul Revere and the Raiders might make a top secret unpublicized appearance at a San Carlos high school? Really?

While it’s true that I succumb easily to peer pressure and Vania was the Raiders fanatic, not me, I saw no flaws in this plan as presented – and that’s entirely on me. My appetite for excitement – the desire to do something different for a change – trumped common sense – and not for the first or last time.KicksThe thing is, I was straight. Just stupid.

June 15, 1966

 

JUne 15, 1966

English Award

Was I an optimist or what? From the sound of this entry, I sincerely believed that merely winning the outstanding English student award in 9th grade would be enough to give me confidence when my faith in a writing career – always a risky endeavor at best – faltered. Even my father, possibly my staunchest advocate, regularly handed me clippings he just “happened to see” about expanding career opportunities in library science among other liberal arts fields besides creative writing. It’s not that he didn’t believe in me, he just thought it would be prudent to have a real job to fall back on. To his credit, he never pressured me to choose a more sensible major than film-writing but that’s another story.

Apparently, I believed the 7th grade and my freshman year of high school were the nadir of my existence. Little did I know that all the things that made me so “neurotic” and turned the year “hideous” were trivial beyond belief compared to some of the real life problems awaiting me down the line.

Two of three female students in photo above (Literary Magazine) are named Cathy/Kathy. Cathy Hoover and Kathy Knutsen. Also pictured, Tal Pomeroy , Erin Heinlein and Gail Kaiser.
Two of three female students in photo above (Literary Magazine) are named Cathy/Kathy. Cathy Hoover and Kathy Knutsen. Also pictured, Tal Pomeroy, Erin Heinlein and Gail Kaiser

Minor note, but one I couldn’t help but be cognizant of in those days – whenever I mention a girl named Kathy/Cathy, it’s accompanied by a surname. That’s because in every single class in my public school Santa Clara life, there were at least five Kathys – me, Kathy Kerr, Cathy Hoover, Cathy Silva, Kathy Kane, Kathy Scott, Kathy Reid, Kathy Locey, Kathy Kramer or some similar combination. I envied girls with unique names like Krystal Woodward and Joell Funkhauser. Today, while Kathy and Kathleen have fallen below the 500 most popular name mark, Krystal and Joell are on the rise.   What’s in a name? Nothing, really, but I would’ve preferred something more distinctive.

Three of the six female students pictured above, myself included, are named Kathy (Kathleen or Catherine)
Three of the six female students pictured above, myself included, are named Kathy (Kathleen or Catherine)

June 11, 1966



June 11, 1966

Sandy Walker (Hegwood) in her yellow polka-dot bell-bottoms
Sandy Walker (Hegwood), on her apartment balcony in her yellow polka-dot bell-bottoms
Me in another original hand-made dress - pink paisley or polka dots - in what I thought was a cute pose - on a day I'd be well-advised to duck into a store!
Me in another original hand-made dress – pink paisley or polka dots – in what I thought was a cute pose – on a day I’d be well-advised to duck into a store!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sandy’s bell-bottoms were yellow with white dots – it’s odd the details that stick in one’s memory. I think mine were pink. I have no recollection of the day the Lovin’ Spoonful descended on Valley Fair but I assume it did in fact happen as I was nothing if not painfully accurate in my somewhat reportorial diaries. I confess to lingering curiosity about what the “Dutch Masters” hearse might be – it sounds kind of cool but knowing me and Vania, fishing for dimes with gum on a pen, maybe not.

Vania Brown

In 1966, Valley Fair – an outdoor mall – was the daylight weekend spot to run into people from high school or meet new people from other high schools. More often than not, I ran into someone I didn’t want to see – a guy who’d just broken up with me, for example, with his gorgeous new girlfriend on a day when two new pimples popped out of my nose and my hair looked like a Brillo pad – at which point I’d duck into the nearest store and play hide and seek (some people call it “Stalker” but I think that’s unkind).

Valley Fair Ad 1967
Valley Fair Ad 1967
New cars at the time
New cars at the time

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Valley Fair Circa 1966
Valley Fair Circa 1966

I don’t live in Santa Clara anymore so I don’t really know – did Valley Fair survive the 70s, 80s, 90s, and the millennium? Is Macy’s still the anchor store? Does anyone else recall the Lovin’ Spoonful at our very own Valley Fair?


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