Another year is about to slip into the past. And what a year of fire and passion the dragon breathed! I’ve turned a landmark age…oh hell, let’s just get it out of the way: I’m 50! I took a new lover and have gotten closer to finding an agent for Silky.
I’m preparing my ball gown and paste jewels for a New Year’s Eve celebration with my friend and her soon-to-be ten-year-old daughter. The birthday girl has requested tiaras and I’ve enjoyed preparing my outfit for our big night. Naturally there will be champagne for the grown ups.
This week’s photo shows Sylvia and Douglas Fairbanks celebrating an occasion at the Biltmore Bowl in Los Angeles. The Bowl was an elaborately decorated ballroom in the downtown Biltmore Hotel where the 9th Academy Awards were held in 1937. Silky and Doug are dressed quite formally but the folks behind them seemed to be dressed in daywear, leading me to believe the Bowl was perhaps a stop before or after another event. They are most certainly and openly a couple, which means this shot would have been taken after their marriage in 1936.
I enjoy any opportunity for a celebration (especially one that calls for champers and fancy dress) but the changing of the year has come to feel less important to me than it used to. Rituals and resolutions are ways to mark the passage of time and honor our life’s progress, but sometimes the pressure and expectation can prove overwhelming. I think it’s appropriate to take stock in gratitude and set goals, but also to allow for fate’s gentle fingers. It’s important to realize that we are in some ways less in control than we would want to believe and that letting go is also a healthy resolution.
How do you know when to hold on and when to let go? I mean, when do you give it all you’ve got and when should you close up shop and move on? I’m speaking of relationships, but really, the questions can be applied to any conflict or circumstance. I’m no quitter, but sometimes it seems as though I’m banging my head against a wall…and for what? I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: there are no guarantees…in anything…ever.
How did Silky have the tenacity and courage to stick with a famously married man, not knowing if she would ever find her happily ever after? Always settling for second fiddle. Is love really that blind? Is love a lot like faith—you have to have it before you can get it?
This week’s photo shows Sylvia and Doug enjoying an afternoon skate on a frozen pond in the Alps. Far from the incessant gossip, prying reporters, and Mary Pickford’s reach, they glide along the ice, just happy to be together. (I adore Silky’s fringed chamois gloves!)
One thing I’ve learned and that’s that love changes you. How can it not? You become willing to do all sorts of things you might have scoffed at before. To always consider another’s feelings, thoughts, needs and ideas without completely sacrificing your own. The endless compromises you make willingly because–believe it or not–someone else’s happiness has become as important as your own! I suppose that’s a kind of emotional compass to let you know you’re onto something. Its needle always points “true.”
I’ve been trying to keep up with my movie going in order to be prepared for this year’s Oscars. It’s going to be a tough year with so many phenomenal films. One of my favorite aspects of the holidays is hiding away in a darkened theater and being transported to another time and place, experiencing the joys and sorrows of great, complex characters–our foibles and our victories reflected in their stories.
This week’s post is a shot of Sylvia and her forth husband Clark Gable at a charity premiere of The Mudlark at Grauman’s Theater in Hollywood. This gala screening benefited St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica, which is sadly where Silky received her cancer diagnosis twenty-five years later.
Despite the current teaming masses and decay of Hollywood Boulevard, I am still dazzled by the grand dames of movie houses like Grauman’s Chinese and The Egyptian. They are an homage to the art and grace of the moving picture, fortress-like museums that house our culture’s treasures.
I’ve been feeling a little land locked lately. One friend just returned from learning tea ceremony in Japan and another is currently in Peru experiencing the brutal magic of the Amazon. Meanwhile, I’m gearing up for the holidays, keeping the home fires burning and editing my manuscript…AGAIN!
This week’s photo shows Silky and Doug on one of their many trans-Atlantic cruises. They were both avid wanderlusts and spent a lot of time seeing the world together. Travel was such a different beast in those days. Note the burled wood paneling on the wall of their luxury liner.
I’m not complaining–I’m happy and healthy and truly enjoying this level of the writing process. It’s just sometimes I get an itch for adventure and a wild hair to abandon my comfortable little routine. I have faith that my turn will come when the time is right. Fortune cookie says, “There is travel in your future.”
Things are not always what they seem. In fact they rarely are. There’s what is happening in reality, in the physical world, then there’s what’s going on inside one’s head. They are completely different ballgames, usually.
During her brief marriage to Clark Gable, Silky was under the impression things were going fine. I believe they spent so much time doing publicity that she began to believe the story that was created, blind to the downward spiral that was actually happening. For his part, Clark probably wasn’t a super communicative sort of guy. And they both had expectations. He was hoping for another Carole Lombard and she was seeking a replacement for Douglas Fairbanks.
Expectations are the death sentence of any relationship. People cease to see each other for who they truly are and instead, believe their own character outlines and imaginations. Or worse yet, try to make their partner fit the mould they’ve created, finding nothing but disappointment when the other person doesn’t shape up.
Having recently taken a short, blissful foray into romantic relationship myself, I’ve watched myself do the very same thing. It takes work, real honesty and diligence to keep from falling into the expectation trap. And that takes a huge amount of letting go. It’s the antithesis of one’s gut reaction…at least mine. It feels so wonderful, so special, so unique—I want to hang on for dear life.
Doris Day said it best in her song: Que sera sera; whatever will be, will be. That state of mind requires real trust and no expectations.