WORDS AND PICTURES – AND MEMORIES….

By ROSEMARY LORD

NEW YEAR PIC2

It’s fun, isn’t it, to start a new year? We rush in, brimming with scintillating ideas – relieved to see the back of last year, when all did not go according to plan. We had some wonderful memories, but – nah – let’s look forward.

I think we enjoyed this Holiday Season – Hanukah, Christmas, New Year festivities and the like – as a chance to take a deep breath, chill out and set our course on totally new horizons.

Speaking of ‘chilling out’ – I spent Christmas in England with my siblings. For the first time since we were teenagers! And the Kent countryside was so beautiful – like a winter wonderland painting. But it was freezing cold! For me, anyway. Used to California temperatures, it was a shock to my system, since I’d not been there in December for decades. London (where I stay with my brother, Ted) was not much better – only fractionally warmer. I was wrapped up in a long, quilted coat over a leather jacket, a fleece jacket, sweaters, vests (!), thermal underwear including long-johns. I wore gloves, a huge warm scarf, woolly hat and – the best bit: faux-fur earmuffs. The obligatory face mask actually helped keep my face warm!

Big Ben

So my brothers Ted and Phil, brother-in law Peter and sister Annie and I had a wonderful old-fashioned, cozy Christmas filled with lots of laughter over childhood memories. Christmas lights everywhere and hours ‘mucking in’ together in the kitchen, preparing endless delicious meals to fill tables groaning with food. It was especially meaningful, as Annie and Peter had moved into this spacious, welcoming house last March – in a truly delightful ‘Miss Marple’s style village – during the Covid lock-downs. So we gave the house a wonderful Christmas launch.

They had moved from a picturesque, 18th century cottage further out in the country, with 4 acres of fields with stables. With no horses, those stables became the repository for all sorts of boxes, trunks – and assorted exercise equipment.

One of those trunks was mine. With my roaming all over, from the moment I left school,  before I settled in Hollywood, California, my Mum had saved my ‘stuff’ from my childhood bedroom, from my travels and beyond. And when Peter and Annie downsized for their house move – a whittled down version of my ‘stuff’ came with them. So, some of this Christmas was spent going through this large box of my life. I’d forgotten I’d saved all my old 9×12 inch diaries, filled with all my appointments, interviews and auditions from leaving school through my early acting and journalism years. There were letters from big-time film directors that I had naively written to, asking for an acting job! In those days they actually wrote back to me! Alfred Hitchcock, Fred Zinneman, Elia Kazan, Bryan Forbes, Carl Foreman, Delbert Mann and so on. Wow!

rosie-and-the-hollywood-sign    I found my old, long-forgotten scrapbooks, filled with pictures of sunny Hollywood, palm trees, movie studios. Photos of the movie stars I wanted to emulate – Audrey Hepburn, Olivia DeHavilland, Irene Dunne, Gene Tierney, Grace Kelly. And those gorgeous actors that made girls swoon – Tyrone Power, Clark Gable, James Stewart, Gregory Peck. Pictures and articles of them all – and how they had accomplished their dreams. And now I have that large box of diaries, letters, several scrapbooks, that Mum had watched over for me – and that my sister had stored for me.

Looking through this treasure trove of memories, I reconnected with that skinny little girl with pigtails and freckles who had Big Dreams. Dreams of living and working in Hollywood, after devouring all those black and white Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire movies on the telly. Bette Davis, Greer Garson, Gene Kelly, Cary Grant. That was the world I wanted to inhabit. And so I did.

I remember, not long after I had made Hollywood my home, I was having coffee with Tony Hopkins (as you do!) at the luxurious Beverly Hills home he and his wife Jenny lived in. He was giving me a ‘pep talk’ about following my dreams. He said that before he became an actor, living and struggling through life in a small town in Wales, he had dreams of becoming an actor and living in America. So he kept some pictures cut from magazines of the life he aspired to. Including a beautiful home in a sunny American setting. Many years later he moved into this beautiful home, where we were sitting, and realized that it was the same house that he had kept a now dog-eared magazine picture of all these years.

It’s amazing the things we keep. Especially us writers. We hang on to notes, scribbles, pictures, photos, pages that pique our interest. And what a good thing that we do. For this is often where we glean our ideas and inspiration.

69a16-hollywood2bthen2band2bnowLos Angeles Then and Now new cover

My first published writing in England and America, was about the Movie Stars I had interviewed. About the city of Hollywood and the Movie Studios. I wrote for magazines and newspapers – all about Hollywood. Especially the Golden Era of Hollywood. That led to my first published books on the history of Hollywood and Los Angeles. And it all started because I had kept cuttings, articles and pictures of the life I wanted to live – in Hollywood.

So now I have a whole new box of memories to plow through, that will inspire many more stories. Although now they will not only be about Hollywood, but inspired by all the other places I have visited on my journey here. With a murder or two woven into my stories along the way. Boy, am I glad I kept all that ‘stuff.’ Stuff that now feels like a goldmine to me.

Do other writers and readers out there keep ‘stuff’? Do you save articles, pictures, notes that have later inspired you to write something wonderful? Did you ever make those Vision Boards filled with inspiring words and pictures? And did anything ever come of them, I wonder? And what would your visions be now, today, for your future? Have you accomplished your childhood dreams? And have your earlier desires and ambitions changed? To what? I see another story emerging here….

(Posted for Rosemary Lord by Gayle Bartos-Pool)

19 thoughts on “WORDS AND PICTURES – AND MEMORIES….”

  1. Rosemary, Your enthusiasm for telling your own story is catching. I’m working on my own autobiography right now, because everybody has a story. I hope others get the urge to dig into their own past and let us know who they are. Great post.

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    1. Thanks Gayle! I can’t wait to read your story – about your days as a Private Detective, packing heat!! And, as you say, everyone has a story – whether it’s their whole life or just one episode or incident. Let’s keep on writing!
      By the way: I’m still having big problems responding on this site. It keeps rejecting me and saying I don’t exist! Its Rosemary!

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  2. Such amazing memories you have, Rosemary! You certainly made your move to Hollywood particularly fun and prolific. It’s great that you have souvenirs and more to go through now. And your visit to England now, including London, to see your family also sounds fun. I especially love London, since that was where I saw my first Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

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      1. I meant Linda! Sorry Linda! My mind is still frazzled from not being able to post under my own name!

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  3. Rosemary,
    So many memories, and some of yours match mine. I have boxes of press clippings and, of course, photos, the old-fashioned kind rather than those from an iPhone. My daughters constantly ask me to write my memoir but first I have two books to complete, one a biography of a Brit, the other my next mystery of which I wrote 1/4 two years ago. Thanks, Rosie, for the memories.

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    1. Jill – I know you have had such an interesting life with all your travels and special writing projects. That’s one I want to read!

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  4. As someone currently housebound and yearning to travel, ‘visiting’ England and your life brought much joy. And yes, I have saved many items from my past, in part because my mother saved them for me. I actually have a box of birthday cards sent to me, beginning with my first. Very vintage now. I’ve saved correspondence from family and friends, going back nearly fifty years. I even kept my diary from Junior High, which brought a chuckle to me – how unimportant those ‘important’ things I wrote about seem now. I’ve debated tossing them; the only reason I haven’t yet is because I’ve saved them all these years. Silly, but they’re still here. Thanks for the memories, Rosemary.

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    1. Funny, isn’t it – how some things seemed so desperately important when we were very young – and now, we hardly remember them. Miko, I’m glad you’ve saved all those things. You might be inspired by something in that pile to write a new story – or find a way to share some it with today’s young people. So they can see how our life was at their age!

      And it’s still me, Rosemary – aka Anonymous….

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    2. I’m glad you enjoyed my little sojourn into an English winter, Miko! It felt strange being in bustling London crowds again. And I’m glad you’ve kept those things because they may trigger a memory that inspires a new story. And you can always share some it with today’s young kids to show them how your life was at their age.

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  5. Okay – so I still have a gremlin on this page that deletes what I just wrote – then brings it back 10 minutes later, after I’ve re-written it! Oh well… that’s techie and me for you!

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  6. WHERE ARE THE PHOTOS OF YOU IN FAUX FUR EARMUFFS?!?!?!! I can’t wait to hear all the details about your “stuff,” never a dull moment with you, and THANK GOODNESS, no one has time for a boring life. xo

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    1. So glad you stopped by, Glory! I think we all have adventures in our lives that we should share with everyone! As you say – never a dull moment!Yay!
      It’s still Rosemary here!

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  7. Thanks for sharing your exciting memories, Rosemary, and keep treasuring them.
    My husband and I sold our house and moved to a retirement community last fall. We had to downsize, but I insisted of moving about three dozen photo albums, covering five decades of our lives. So far, I have had no time to enjoy looking at a single one. Life here is too busy with going to meetings, all sorts of entertainment in the recreation hall, afternoon games as well as game night, and excursions. I’ll start a line dancing class next Monday. Stealing time to work on a new book I started writing is also on my agenda.
    One day soon I’ll get to those photo albums!

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    1. Alice – I wondered where you had gone! What a great new adventure you have both embarked on! What fun things you are doing: more fodder for your writing, whenever you get back to it.
      And, yes, hang on to those boxes of photos for the day you have time to look at them. You’ll be glad you did!

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  8. Another excellent blog. Sis. I’ve always described you (with pride) to my friends as an example of someone who followed their dream; from Berrylands, the epitome of suburbia, where nothing ever happens, to Hollywood where you have achieved your your ambition and become part of the fabric of Tinseltown.
    I’m sure you will spend many happy hours ploughing through your box of memories, and be inspired to many more flights of fancy and creativity.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Loved your post, and as I read, my heart warmed. I often enjoy “my life” through sharing the memories, events, and emotions of others… Now that I think about it, part of my desire to write…sharing life(lives) lived–but in a fictional setting…mmm…you’ve got be thinking. Loverly post, Rosemary.

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  10. So glad to help get your writing mind stirring again, Mad. Have you ever written things inspired from your early days? Were those spent on the Route 66 path? And glad to share the snowy Christmas world that you probably don’t experience in the desert! Cheers!

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