San Clemente

Walking on Beaches at Night with Men.


J and T had dinner on the pier. J remembered that it was not in her best interest to order capellini pomodoro, so she ordered the clam-chowder-sour-dough bowl and vowed that if she had to share the oyster crackers, she would. T had the rib eye, creamed spinach and, when offered the basket of warm rolls, refused. The conversation ranged from the discovery that Einstein was right ­– relativity is real – to the proper way to fold a fitted bed sheet – Martha Stewart’s version is difficult for a dyslexic to get past step one.

After the Lava cake and some mighty espresso, the two ventured down to the sand. The moon was a slice short of full; seagulls were foraging for the buried remnants of PBandJ sandwiches on organic wheat bread and Dorito specks. J and T stepped over abandoned buckets then moved closer to the moveable line between dry and wet.

J stepped on a plastic rake, causing her to lose her balance [all those Pilates classes didn’t help at all] and fall on the knee-from-hell. Then, as if it had been waiting for her, a wave aimed its foamy fingers at her and struck with such force that her glasses sprang off her head.

T tried to help, but not if his Gucci 1953 horsebit crocodile loafers would be baptized by a primal sea. He waited until the water drew back, grasped J’s hand and lifted her out of the sand.

“My glasses. Can you see them?”

T was at a loss. Had she been wearing glasses? He hadn’t noticed.

J vowed that never again would she walk on the beach in the moonlight, after dinner, with a man on the first date.

She would consider lunch.

Photo: Myra Alex

“They Dragged Me From The Pond . . .”

One character trait I never had – even in motherhood’s dysfunctional days  – was Stage Mother. I only provided transportation as my daughters danced, ice skated, soccer’d, sailed and jumped over fences on beloved horses.

I thought I was above helicopter parenting.

I was wrong.

Call for auditions.

Call for auditions.

This summer, my daughter enrolled my six-year-old granddaughter in a two-week theater camp.

The libretto for Shrek The Musical arrived the Friday before camp.

Monday Auditions

My eyes glazed over like Goofy’s in Motormania. I used bribes [which I am still paying for] to get my granddaughter to stand still as I played “This is the Story of My Life” – jabbing the air to indicate when the Sugar Plum Fairy sings “They took my magic wand.”

She was perfect for that part.

Ugly Duckling. Baby Bear. Happy Villager

She got three. Not the part we wanted, but amazing for the youngest member of the troop. [Why am I saying “We?”]

My hair began to fall out and my blood pressure entered the danger zone over the following 13 days. I knew the entire score for Shrek, and could recite or sing any part.

My personal favorite was the Ugly Duckling’s woeful soprano trill, “They dragged me from the pond . . . “ My little performer could do it in her sleep. [How do I know this?]

Opening and Closing Performances

Parents were given four tickets and told that seats could be saved an hour before each of the two performances.

I was the oldest ‘parent’ in line, an hour and a half before the first performance. I realized that all the years of priding myself as immune from pointing an offspring toward my personal dreams had been a lie.

Moment of Truth

Happy Villager, Ugly Duckling and Baby Bear had a couple of wardrobe malfunctions, and demonstrated to the older members of the cast why it’s dangerous to perform with dogs or small children.

A month has passed. Friends and family have begun to speak to me again now that stage grandmother has taken her last bow.

Not entirely. I think I’ll audition for a part in a teeny theatre production.

Anything but finish my novel.

Recycling is a sport.


Winning the CR8 Contest at Lobo School in San Clemente is an honor. The contest is on and some students are more proactive than others.

This explains why the “No Students Allowed Inside” signage  on the trash bin.

Any other explanation would be disturbing.