sixties fashion

December 13, 1970


I met Luke on my first day of classes. Prior to this entry, we’d been together, give or take a few brief break-ups, for 18 months – my longest relationship ever at that time. Our friends  expected us to get married. Our parents prayed we wouldn’t. He was so much a part of me, I feared I’d shatter without him.


Although Luke was an art major, he was as much a writer as I was; he kept voluminous journals in spiral-bound notebooks.  We talked about movies, literature and life for hours. On the day we met, we talked for 11 hours straight. He was a year ahead of me in school with a natural air of authority. I took everything he said as gospel.

His help with the play was invaluable – there wouldn’t have been a play without him. He didn’t stop there. He had no interest in learning Swedish, but he drilled me on my Swedish vocabulary anyway. He’d already read the classic Greek plays, but he read them again – aloud, with me – which brought them to life. He didn’t write my papers, but he read them and offered suggestions to go deeper.


We were college students with few responsibilities and endless hours to get to know each other. It got harder in post-UCLA real life. It takes time to trust people, let alone get close to them. It’s probably no coincidence I met my husband of 41 years when we were in college (he was in law school, I was in grad school). We were young and free with hours of free time to spend together. With every passing year since then, when hit with life’s inevitable disappointments and betrayals, I bolster my defenses. That’s not to say I’m a rock or an island, as in the famous Simon and Garfunkel song.  Family life with three children forces me to be flexible.

Luke and I didn’t have that glue to keep us together. We could walk away from each other and never look back – and we did. We haven’t spoken or seen each other for decades.  We loved each other once. How did it go so wrong?

Anais Nin writes,



I don’t disagree – but each death is a little bit different.  I’ll dissect this demise in future diary blogs. Do I sound cold and cynical?   That’s to hide the hurt. Don’t get me wrong,  I believe my life worked out the way it was meant to. I love the man I’m married to and wouldn’t have it any other way. Still, even after all these years,  I miss what Luke and I had, I miss the way we were. Maybe  I miss the girl I used to be.


October 10, 2014


the-trouble-with-trouble My absolute all-time favorite game growing up was dress-up (today, it’s called role-play but it’s the same thing.)  I was up for a part in any fantasy – princess, boarding school, teen-ager, Rapunzel and Bonanza were perennial favorites. The only role I couldn’t relate to was horsy. Then as now, the appeal of prancing around pretending to be a palomino eluded me. For starters, playing horsy pretty much precludes costumes unless you count tucking a fake tail in the rear of your pedal-pushers (I don’t).these-bitches-need-some-class

I have only two requirements for a good game of dress-up.

  1. I play a human (no horsys!)
  2. I wear a costume – and hopefully a wig.

Beyond that, anything goes.

shopping-for-more-useless-stuffIt’s a shame that dress-up tends to be cast aside before adolescence. It’s all but forgotten by the time we’re adults. IMHO, this is a real shame. Luckily, like riding a bike, the requisite skills reside inside you, ready to resume active duty if called. If you can get past your self-consciousness for a  trip into fun and silliness, dress up is even more fun to play as a grown-up.


Technically, each of us gets only one life to live. Dress up role play lets you dabble in as many lives as you can make up. If – like me – sometimes you get sick of being yourself, take a break. Cut loose and be somebody else – someone without a mortgage, congested kids, or pets pooping on the rug. All you’ve got to lose is your dignity. Isn’t it about time?


If you’re over 18 or past the age of consent: Dress-up role-play is unlikely to be hazardous to your sex life, if you get my drift. Enough said.


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?”

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.


May 10, 1969

May 10 1969















I’m not sure if I’m revealing myself (and – guilting my best friend Sandy Hegwood Walker by association) as a typical high-spirited high-school girl or a pathological liar. In our defense, we didn’t distort the truth for an unfair advantage – we just couldn’t resist any opportunity to try on a new identity. An only child, Sandy’s fantasy life and active imagination meshed perfectly with mine. We were naturals when it came to playing off each other and improvising.  We had our own secret language for awhile, but that was kids stuff. When we matured, so to speak, pretending to be aspiring rock stars was one of our favorite gambits. When we really got it going, we could go into elaborate detail about our set list and who sang lead on what song. I’m surprised we never got around to printing up band cards. (But what if somebody wanted to book us?)

This fantasy sounded so cool Sandy and I struggled through a few guitar lessons  before we realized our talents were better suited to shopping for dramatic stage costumes, not learning to play an instrument. Years of piano lessons, during which I fell progressively further behind my younger sisters, had alerted me keyboards might not be my forte. My next hint I might be musically challenged came when our church choir director eliminated my half of an upcoming duet with the lame excuse a Natalie Nilsen solo served the music better. I told myself she just didn’t want to show preferential treatment to the pastor’s daughter but I was devastated. While I didn’t want to “toot my own horn,” I didn’t want to hide my light under a bushel either.

I took my case to my father. “I have a beautiful voice, don’t I?” I asked.

He paused and said, “Kathleen, we all have different gifts.”

Even I couldn’t spin this response. So what if I’d never be a real life rock’n’roll icon? Thanks to Sandy’s and my living theater, I knew how it felt to strut the stage and blast away on my Stratocaster. Just to prove that sometimes fantasies do come true, Sandy’s parents bought her a drum kit which she housed in a black light room. It didn’t get much better than that.

If you’re worried about all the gullible people we deceived, rest easy – I don’t think we fooled anyone.


May 8, 1968


May 8 1968

Girls Swimming

I’m not sure today’s millennials could survive the sixties high school experience. While searching for a photo of the frigid Wilcox High swimming pool, I unearthed an impressive array of “Mermen” shots – but this was the sole illustration of girls in the water. (I’m so disappointed I couldn’t show you the hideous dark green maillots we wore.)  In fact, this was the only photo I found depicting girls in any athletic endeavor. Based on my Wilcox yearbooks, athletics and team sports were a “Men Only” preserve – not that my consciousness was high enough to perceive this slight at the time. Until I sought a photo for this blog, I never noticed the omission. Although Friedan’s Feminine Mystique was  published in 1963, feminism wasn’t on my radar.

In addition to an outdoor pool in the dead of winter, the class of ’69 was the last to be subjected to a dress code – which meant girls wore dresses every day. If your hem failed to skim the floor when a teacher ordered you to kneel, you were sent home to change. Once a year – on “Grub Day” – girls were allowed to wear pants to school. The top photo of me with the rest of the Literary Magazine staff illustrates typical Wilcox style. For the epitome of high school fashion, see the photo below of the pair my class voted “Best Dressed”.

Best Dressed

High school has loomed large in my writing career and I will revisit aspects of my experience in future diary-blogs. If you recognize yourself in a photo, please tag it!

Class Picture


Feeling Fat? Don a Poncho!

Kathy in Poncho

Sadly, I felt fat A LOT because this brown and white poncho is featured in numerous photos from the mid-sixties (b/w photos) until the mid-seventies (the sole color photograph, with college boyfriend Tom, in suede jacket.) Truth is, I might still have that old wool poncho, although I haven’t worn it in a decade (which is not to say that I haven’t felt fat. Just not fat enough to don the poncho.) As you can see, it conveniently conceals the entire mid-section and – at the time – I truly believed it epitomized hip.  Is the poncho due for a fashion comeback?


It’s Not Too Late to be a Model in my Sixties Fashion Gallery!



As part of a reference/research project for my novel, I’m assembling a gallery of sixties fashions. Rather than reproduce the same old iconic sixties fashion shots we’ve all seen a million times, I want to feature real life baby boomers in the real sixties ensembles we all actually wore. I’m not too proud to post my own humiliating fashion faux pas, so why not join me? I’ll post your name and any comments you offer with your photo if you like, or you can be anonymous. You can send sixties photos of yourself to me at my domain – (where you can also view the galleries as they grow) or you can email them to  MALE AND FEMALE FASHION PHOTOS WANTED!!!


I’ve broken the gallery into three sections – early sixties (roughly up until the Beatles), mid-sixties (Beatlemania until ’68-69), and late sixties, which in my opinion extends until 1973 fashion-wise, so please note where you think your fashion photo should fall (if you don’t, I’ll take my best guess). Right now, almost all the photos in the gallery are of yours truly, so please save me from my narcissism and send some of yourself in your sixties glory. (And truthfully, is there a baby boomer alive who doesn’t wish that you looked as good now as you did then? Show off your former self! Release your inner model!) Thanks in advance to any and all responders.