Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Who's That Girl?

Quien es esa nina, who's that girl
Senorita, mas fina, who's that girl
Quien es esa nina, who's that girl
Senorita, mas fina, who's that girl - Madonna, "Who's That Girl?"

One morning a few months ago, I opened Facebook and saw the photo on the left.

Published recently on FB by Australian photographer John Gollings and taken many years ago. Captioned quite aptly, "a baby kate juliff doing a bit of 60's modeling".

I didn't know her. I looked closely. Stunned. Was that really me? My god.
Certainly Wilde was right when he said, "Youth is wasted on the young."

A closer look and I recognize the setting. Macarthur Place, Carlton. The era? "The summer of love". The guy trying to look like Pride and Prejudice's Mr Darcy? I have absolutely no memory of him.

I remember the dress though. I made it myself - yellow and white gingham - right down to the fabric-covered buttons. Despite what the millennials think of us baby boomers now, we didn't have it easy. No lattes for us. We drank tea we made ourselves in teapots. Ate meals we cooked at home. Or didn't.

Who's that girl? What was I thinking when the photo was taken? Trying to look virginal and demure. Sadly, I was probably both...

Who's that girl? What did she eat for breakfasts back then? Was she happy? I know she had a lover. Where is he now? In Spain I think. I left him in London. In the grey suburb of Golders Green. I remember he was sad when I told him I was leaving. I also remember being rather puzzled. "Why was he sad?" I wondered. Unfeeling girl.

Had I no compassion? No feelings?

No, that wasn't it. I just didn't "get" love.

I have thought about that scene, the leaving-my-first-love scene many times over the past too-many decades, and I always come to the same conclusion as to why I didn't "get" his sorrow.

It was,  I firmly believe,  because I was brought up fatherless. The little I remember of the brief periods when my parents were together was of late nights when they were screaming at each other.

I remember my mother at midnight, digging like a mad woman in the garden. Burying some record she'd bought for my father - hiding it  because she had found out he was screwing my third grade teacher.

I thought there were no happy marriages. That it was all come and go, with the emphasis on the go. I didn't think that men had feelings.

Who's that girl?
I try to get inside her mind.

I sit in my Manhattan apartment, thinking of her. She was beautiful and innocent and had her whole life ahead of her.

Who's that girl?

I don't know that girl.

I wish her well, and adieu.

MacArthur's Park is melting in the dark
All the sweet, green icing flowing down
Someone left the cake out in the rain
I don't think that I can take it '
Cause it took so long to bake it
And I'll never have that recipe again
Oh no! - Richard Harris, "MacArthur Park"


Anonymous said...

She's the girls who's sitting in her NY apartment wondering "I wonder what colourful print I can purchase for my wall to brighten up my apartment" :-)

kate said...

Ha Ha. I don't live in CA my friend! NYC is not a circus!

Fred said...

Good read Kate. I suppose we were all like that - absolutely no idea of who we were

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