Essay: Free Spirit

Feb 2, 2018

It was the end of the nineteen-sixties—that decade of conflict and liberation—and I was  working in Chicago.  Young and single, I enjoyed being on my own, being a free spirit.

Then a boyfriend asked me to visit him in California.  Ray was renting a house west of Hollywood where he and his roommates were waiting for their “big break.” Everyone I met seemed to be waiting for a big break—as an actor, a director, a screen writer.

“Move out here,” they said.  “You’ll love it.”  I did love the weather and the lime tree in the back yard, the mountains and the ocean.  But the guys at Ray’s house spent their days drinking gin and tonics and watching old movies.  Nobody seemed to have a job.   

When Ray said we were invited to a party, I asked,  “What shall I wear?”

A foolish, old-fashioned question, as it turned out.  The hostess ran out to greet me wearing only her false eyelashes and crying, “Sagittarius!”

Now, it’s true that I’m a Sagittarian but I decided I wasn’t a Californian.  I was a Mid-Westerner with a strong work ethic and maybe not as free as I thought.

Was I disappointed?  No and yes.