Most of my family still lives back home in Illinois. There seems to be a huge barrier between me and a vast majority of them. I’d been plotting my escape for as long as I can remember.
I always knew I was different.
A conversation with my mother about weekend plans bid many questions… and resounding answers.
I’m beginning to wonder if I was adopted.
I grew up in Suburbia Illinois in 2 small towns located in the tri-county area of Chicago. You may remember them from such highlights in movies as: two crazy convicts fleeing from Joliet Prison and a marching band (that was my high school) in some 80’s cult classic about some kid who ditched class and ended up on a parade float.
I wasn’t that far from culture. In the multiple cities I’ve lived in, I still to this day do not believe there is anything comparable to Chicago. I have to say that though. I’m bound by my Italian blood to be tied to a town that hosts Capone’s ghost, real pizza, and the most amazing hot dogs.
I was raised on comic books and holiday season overdosings of the Nutcracker and Gone With the Wind.
So how the hell this even happened is mind boggling to me. But it went something like this:
Mom: So what are your plans for this weekend?
Me: Well there’s a gallery show that’s closing in Hollywood that I think I’m going to.
Mom: Oh really? What’s the show on?
Me: It’s a tribute to Bettie Page. All the pieces are inspired by her in some form or another.
Mom: Bettie who?
My jaw dropped. Two thousand miles away and I think she could hear the thud.
Me: Mom do you seriously not know who Bettie Page is?
Mom: No I don’t. Who is she?
Me: She’s a pioneer in womens sexual revolution. She was a famous pinup model.
Mom: What’s a pinup model?
I nearly dropped the phone. I was so flabbergasted with her lack of knowledge on the subject I started to stammer. How the hell do you explain what a pinup model is to your mother? How the hell do you subtley touch on the fact that your daughter is a bit of a deviant without having to hear that “You really need therapy” bit again?
Mom: I don’t know what happened with you. I slept with two people and married both of them.
Yeah, mom well… no wonder.
How the hell did my mother miss out on the tale of one of the most iconic and pivotal women in sexual history?
Me: Mom, she was… very ahead of her time. The things she did back in those days were not “allowed.” She was a brave woman who faced much adversity for being confident in her sexuality. This didn’t make her a bad person however. In her later years, she devoted herself to church…
Mom: I still don’t get it.
Me: Well the stuff she did was racey. It was…
…just google it.
Mom: Well the weather is wonderful here…
I wonder if she’s seen the image above. I’ll watch my inbox for the self help book in the mail I suppose.