There are so many things I can talk about regarding being sixteen. If I sit and close my eyes I can still recall the feel of a pristine smog-free breeze, the perfume of fresh green earth, the inner workings of my teenaged mind (mostly focused on boys and clothes). I can still hear the music of the time, navigating the rhythm of my life. John Hughes was my hero. Nadia (Comaneci) my mentor. Everything was so much safer back then, or at least the dangers were less highlighted, and my anxieties were sub par. I was naive but brave, determined, and so excited. I had nothing but growth ahead of me. My life was void of the anvils of “have to’s” that currently rest on my shoulders and weigh me down. Every day was a road trip with the windows down and no traffic. Freedom.
Now, don’t get me wrong. We all need to remember that we clearly had problems back then, as no one’s life is perfect. But 16 year old worries and blankety blank year old worries are vastly different. Why is that? I so badly want to let- go and just live, and do so well into my 90’s. It must be doable. I feel like when I look around, not everyone seems stressed. At least not at first glance….
I was very close to my grandmother when I was sixteen. My mom’s mom. Unfortunately my father’s mom passed when I was younger- though I have some amazing memories of her sense of humor and her fortitude, which I hope to share some time. At sixteen I didn’t have a lot of close friends, as I felt a bit out of place with the other girls in my grade. Though Grandma could be judgmental and definitely had no filter regarding telling me her thoughts, she was fun. We played rummy-cube a lot, and art designed fantastically imagined parties.
One day I accompanied Grandma to Severance (the mall close to her home). She needed to pick some things up at Woolworths, a local drugstore housed in the mall. Honestly I think Woolworth’s may have actually been the original “Five and Dime”, a variety store like Target. While Grandma shopped her list, I browsed the VHS movies that were on sale. (OMG VHS! hahaha). I was intrigued by a movie entitled Gidget. Cute surfer boys, the ocean, and a smiling blonde girl on the cover. This is who I dream of being!!! My grandma happily agreed to buy me the film. In hindsight, it was an amazing gift. I was truly captivated, smitten by all things Gidge. After watching the movie a couple hundred times, I started watching re-runs of the TV show staring Sally Fields. Also adorable! The young Fields was even more sassy than Sandra Dee. Like Barbie, Gidget departed from the traditional female role models seen in 1950’s films and on TV. Despite all the slack Sandra Dee got in Grease, I admired her optimism and zest for life.
Life Lessons Learned From Gidget:
- Who cares what other people think. Stay true to you and HAVE FUN DOING IT.
- Its always good to partake in an outdoor sport.
- Don’t second guess your curiosity. Embrace your inner adventurer.
- Leave the Man-hunts to the Man-hunters.
- Maintain a good attitude by looking for the silver lining, the lesson, or the solution.
- Its ok to be happy and to show your happiness. Demure isn’t always necessary.
- You can learn almost anything from books.
- A smile makes the face beautiful.
- A real woman brings out the best in a man (and vice versa!).
- A man that serenades you is the most romantic thing in the world.
- The bigger they are, the dopier they get.
- Malibu is AMAZING.
Gidget’s positive outlook and love for life is most definitely 90% of the reason I moved to California. I figured living by the ocean must enhance happiness, and if I was going to start fresh and launch my own business (hair/makeup), SoCal was the place to be. In case your curious, the remaining reasons I moved to SoCal are attributed to The Beach Boys, my college room-mate (Monica), and the possibility of marrying Michael J. Fox. (yeah….riiiiiiight).
How The Heck To Dress Like Gidget:
What better time to dream about being super beachy than mid winter? To dress like the original Gidget, think high waisted shorts, cropped tops, a-line dresses, and soft summery cardigans. Unfortunately Danielle is really against Gidget Garb, so most of my 50’s inspired pieces are gone :(.
I still love Gidget. Sometimes when I’m down or blue, watching the film is just the spark I need to rejuvenate my soul. It reminds me of what brought me to LA in the first place and to not take everything so seriously. It reminds me of my true goals of a simple happy life, and sparks a rebirth in my determination. Though I upgraded to the three disk DVD version of the movie, I still cherish the original VHS tape my Grandmother bought for me. Its one of the few things I still have that reminds me of her.
If any of you have a chance, here’s a link to a streaming version of the film: Gidget Original Movie
Let me know if you think it still holds up…..