shades of shame

My father was a plasterer by trade and he built the home I grew up in. He actually made the cement blocks himself, and he and my mother laid them together, on weekends and after work. It took two years to build and another ten before they adopted first my brother and then me. My mother had plenty of time to decorate.

image found here

All rooms were wallpapered in patterns that would induce a migraine if I were to still live there. The lounge had four walls of embossed yellow daisies and one feature wall of black paper with penny farthing bicycles racing across the top of the piece de resistance – a pale blue and white fireplace shaped like a cloud and sprinkled with micadust.

image found here

The summer I turned 13 I begged to be allowed to paint my bedroom wall. Long nights were spent discussing this preposterous idea, my mother objected strongly, my father not so much but in the end I gained a hollow victory. Hollow because my father chose the paint, I believe it was called shocking pink.

image found here

I can’t recall how long I endured those walls but I think it was 1974 when I defied my mother and covered them with posters. My favourite was from a movie I’d never seen starring a dark and brooding boy called Mark Frechette

image found here

“Mark Frechette, the actor who seemed to carry into his private life much of the tortured soul he portrayed in Michaelangelo Antonioni’s 1970 film, Zabriskie Point, is dead at age 27. He was the apparent victim of a bizarre accident in a recreation room at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution, where he had been serving a sentence for a 1973 Boston bank robbery.

image of Daria and Mark found here

Frechette’s body was discovered by a fellow inmate early on the morning of September 27th pinned beneath a 150-pound set of weights, the bar resting on his throat. An autopsy revealed he had died of asphyxiation and the official explanation is that the weights slipped from his hands while he was trying to bench press them, killing him instantly. A source in the county DA’s office, which is investigating the incident, termed the circumstances “a little strange,” especially since the bar left no mark on Frechette’s neck.”

The video is a little long but it’s an interesting glimpse into the past. Daria Halprin lived on, married and divorced Dennis Hopper, and now involves herself in creative arts therapy. I still haven’t seen Zabriskie Point.

What happened to your teenage pinup crushes…..?

Published in: on January 30, 2010 at 7:54 am  Comments (50)  
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  1. in ’77 i pinned the dallas cowboy cheerleaders to the ceiling above my bed. i’d won the poster in a radio call-in contest -to this day the only thing i’ve ever won. me and tony salerno rode our peddalbikes to the station to claim the prize. the receptionist winked as she handed the poster to me. that wink got me through the early stages of puberty. two short years later i discovered pot, punk rock, and patty smith (no, not that patty smith. the one down the block and one grade above). after this football didn’t seem to mean so much. i spent all my energy trying to get layed, getting high, and pissing off grown-ups -in that order, pretty much. the poster is long gone, my interest in football never returned, but everything else is still in tact. i guess you could call that success or something? and tony salerno? he went up in ’85. shot some guy in the neck for messing with his lady or his motorbike. i’ve never been clear which. but the bike was a ’59 triumph belvedere, so… yeah, and an infatuation with sally fields came before the dallas cowboy cheerleaders but you probably already knew that. fucking sally, man…

    hm? whats that? insomnia, thats what. it always makes me chatty. full moon too. i’m taking the bike up the mountain now and with no headlamp. if i’m not back by sunrise i’ll be back by sundown. save me a plate.

    • You had the hots for Gidget? Or was it The Flying Nun?

      Either way I think you’d have been better off with Tazzy Bushweed.

      Plate of pesto linguine is in the warmer

      • carrie. smokey and the bandit.

        oh, tazzy, dearest tazzy. you heard about that, eh? jesus, how come everybody knows about me and tazzy.

        -and i’ve got a story about bono and my pal, jonbenet mellencamp, and a good amount of LSD. remind me sometime, tell ya all about it.

      • I’ll be waiting…..

  2. Interesting family tales, Nurse. I think you had good taste in pinup boys. Mine were, embarrasingly enough, Bono (from the chest-exposed Rattle and Hum era) and the actor who played Joel Fleischman in ‘Northern Exposure’.

    • Bono was hot enough in his heyday

  3. Hi Nursemyra. Found you via Booby Rants and have been a long-time reader and finally now, a brief commenter. I love the stuff you find and the way that you present it.

    That video is somehow just a perfect vignette of the 70s.

    • Hey NickQ, welcome to the gimcrack. We love new commenters here…..

  4. I love the images you conjure of home life.

    My first crush was Donny Osmond, then followed years of huge embarrassment about this, but one day he walked into my kitchen and I discovered that I was cooking for him and my embarrassment went away because he was sooo delightfully lovely.

    • oh my god – wait until I tell 70s about this. She is going to be so envious

  5. i didn’t have any ‘crush’ posters. just van gogh’s “Skull with Burning Cigarette”. i was goth before there was goth…

    crush was Michael Nesmith from The Monkees. his ‘post-monkees’ career was much more interesting… he was a music video pioneer, executice producer for a few movies (including “Repo Man”), and became a novelist. i’d still do him…

  6. Ahhh, Sophia Loren – – – – Bridgette Bardot – – – – Jane Fonda – – – – Dreams – – – – wet!

  7. Do you know, I never had any; just a travel poster captioned “Come to Middle-Earth” with cover are from the Ballantine edition of Lord of the Rings. I fantasized about getting away. And at least your room was shocking pink — they inflicted a “pretty” pink on me. Can you say out to lunch?

  8. I love this post! Ah, to think in our world of not knowing where anything came from that your father basically made the blocks of your house… My grandfather who recently died painted the rooms of his house the brightest, boldest green, red, yellow, blue, and orange you could ever imagine. It broke my parents’ heart to have to paint over them to get the house ready to sell. …U2 posters adorned my bedroom walls in high school amost 20 years ago. And I still love ’em.

  9. I was truly democratic, falling in love with every girl I met regardless of race, creed or colour. Even ‘gingers’. But with film and tv being not very accessible, I was highly susceptible to voices – and routinely collapsed into a jelly-like state at the sound of popsters such as Louise Cordet and Marianne Faithfull. When I finally saw pictures of the latter, I was hooked for ever. Were she to ring me today, I would still leave home for her.

    • Marianne is still extraordinary, I haven’t heard of Louise Cordet

  10. My first crush? It was Beatrice the sister of one of my friends, she 13 and we were 10 years old… It was a frustrating love affair!

  11. Kathy Ireland put out a clothing line for KMart and got eliminated in one of the seasons of Dancing with Stars I think.

  12. My parents had to build an addition onto our small house when I was five giving me my own room. With that they let me choose my room color. I had to live with bright green until I went away to college.

  13. hehe, interesting blog, the only poster i ever had on my wall was sebastian bach from skid row… just coz he was sooooo beautiful, when he was young, not from gilmore girls days… i actually got to see him playing long after skid row broke up, by himself in a bar, he was rude, used the f word every second word, and actually spit into the crowd… 😦

    • Hey Elaine, welcome to the Gimcrack. I once saw Bob Geldof playing in a pub after his gig at the Metro didn’t sell enough tickets. Boy, was he pissed. I don’t think he said much more than fuckitty fuck fuck all evening. Good show though

  14. I think my favourite was a Playboy centrefold from the early/mid-’70’s. It was my favourite because the centrefold girl (I don’t recall her name) bore a strong, uncanny resemblance to a girl who was either in my grade or a grade higher. And who was similarly endowed in the breastage department.

    Alas, nothing came of it.

    • I just watched the interview video. I’m reminded of the interview that Joaquin Phoenix did with David Letterman where he refused to talk about his acting, preferring instead to talk about his music, which he didn’t talk about either.

      • thanks for watching the video, I know it’s a bit long but I found it really interesting, especially the body language

  15. A decorating nightmare Nursey – gives me a headache just to think of it. Are you minimalist now? …… enquiring minds need to know ……

    I can’t go into crushes I’m afraid, it would upset me and the TG too much …… tee hee

  16. Must see Zabriskie Point again …… *makes note*

    • So you’ve seen it once? What did you think? As good as Blow Up?

      • I can hardly remember it actually …… twas an awfully long time ago ……. I seem to recall it had a very enigmatic ending ….

  17. of course over at my place the only true icon was Donny … however, I did have secret crushes on Paul Michael Galser (from Starsky and Hutch ) and Jan Michael Vincent .. mm I seem to have had a thing about ‘Micaels’

    JMV has not worn very well

    Unlike Donny

    • 70s! Did you see Lulu La Bonne’s comment above?????

      • O-M-G I am weeping with envy … 😦

  18. I never put any posters up in my room. I don’t think I really ever had an actual crush on anyone, but I did like Micky Dolenz of the Monkees. 🙂

    That was one difficult interview. Good thing he had Mel Brooks there.

  19. That cringe-making interview must have been done well before perfect teeth were de rigueur in the great U S of A. He was pretty cute though — can’t believe he resorted to crime after his movie debut!

  20. As a Massachusetts native, I can tell you some VERY strange things go on in the MCI.

  21. at first glance, i read your father was a pleasurer instead of a plasterer.

    my teenage crush was tom cruise in risky business. then it was josh harnett in the virgin suicides. i was into guys with leather jackets. i liked movies like pretty in pink. my favorite was the breakfast club. i liked sitting in the dark.

    • I still like sitting in the dark. Or rather I like sitting in dim light. As for teenage crushes on pop stars, Donny Osmond briefly, followed by David Cassidy for much longer. Did I just say that?

  22. I had a poster of Raquel Welsh…yeah! I also had several posters of Frank Zappa to annoy my parentals.

  23. I love when you give us a little glimpse into the mysterious life of Nursemyra!

    I had a thing for Madonna when I was 13 and she just came out with ‘Like a Virgin.’ Needless to say, it took be awhile to get over my dislike of Sean Penn. I also had a thing for the younger version of Demi Moore, when she still looked soft. I guess I would have had a shot after all if only I’d followed my dreams and moved to Hollywood. I think that plastic surgery has taken away some of her natural beauty though. But still, if I had a chance…….

  24. OK I bench that much and sometimes more while working out and if it were to slip from my hands it would hit my chest before my neck. That’s not an easy target to hit. I don’t buy the official explanation at all and don’t even believe the bar with the weights could stay balanced on the neck all night as they say. And you bet your ass it would leave a mark.

  25. Unless it was a suicide.

    • …that was one theory

  26. And I love hearing the nursemyra stories of yesteryear by the way.

  27. I like this. 1974 was a strange year. If you look at what albums and movies came out and other events…

    My pinup memories are a disjointed agglomeration of varying influences, from Sophia Loren to Mary Tyler Moore to my mom’s Vogue magazines to the girls on The Price is Right…

    • 1974 is etched on my brain. I was 14 and moved from England to Australia with my family. I was most put out and wanted to know why I had been brought to the suburb of the universe. Thankfully Australia has changed. And so have I. 🙂

      • That’s funny, in 1974, my mother and I moved from our hometown of Pittsburgh to a crappy strip mall of a town in Ohio. Worst six years of my life.

        Ohio probably hasn’t changed much and thankfully, I haven’t been back.

  28. When I was 4, I had an Andy Gibb poster on my wall. Satin jacket open to his navel, harry chest prominently on display. Yup, those were my tastes at 4.

  29. (I meant “hairy”. No idea who “harry” is.)

  30. 1968, Sajid Kahn, Bobby Sherman, Davy Jones, etal. Their full page spreads were torn from “Tiger Beat” and tacked to my lavender walls with shiny silver and purple wallpaper. Ah, those were the days.

  31. So what became of the poster?

  32. i cant remember a childhood crush specifically but if i hd to guess, he wouldve had long hair…i always went for the long hair dont ask me why.

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