Do you ever wonder about the people whose blogs you read? What their backgrounds are? How they came to be doing what it is they are doing? I do. And here is my story……well, the beginning part anyway….
|My mom , myself, and my brother at The Grand Canyon. Boy was I chubby!|
I started off life as a child in the Hollywood of the 1970’s which is very different than it is today. My brother, myself and I lived in a little bungalow that Gary Cooper had once lived in, tucked off of Sunset Boulevard, near the corner of Sunset & Vine. My dad was a sound editor at the local movie studios and my mom was a budding artist. Funnily enough, they had both hitchhiked to California, my mom to San Francisco to be a hippie, and my Dad to Los Angeles to catch a boat to Japan to take photographs, which he never did. They met on the beach in Venice beach.
We were warned as children not to go up to Sunset Blvd. There were girls walking up and down the street there, wearing short shorts and big high heels. I thought they looked like Barbie dolls.
|My dad, myself, and my brother in the 1970’s|
My mother didn’t really sew much, although she knew how. Her generation had been taught in school in Home Economics classes. Those classes had been cut out of Los Angeles public school curriculum by the time I was in middle school. However, my mom did have a small business making and designing screen printed punk rock T shirts for a local boutique in Hollywood called Poseur down on Melrose. I used to love helping her hang her creations outside on the line to dry. Sid Vicious, The Clash….she made the coolest T shirts! Mom stopped making her t shirts around the time she and my dad split up when I was 12 or 13 when she went to work full time as a curtain and drapery designer.
My mom did have an old sewing machine and as a 13 year old punk rocker, I wanted to make a cool skirt I had envisioned. So I got her old Kenmore out and proceeded to jam the whole thing up. I was so frustrated I put it away and didn’t pick it up again until I was 18.
I had signed up for a beginning sewing class at my community college. My crowning achievement in that class was a straight skirt with a zipper and a detached waistband. I was so proud of myself!
|Me as a punk kid in the eighties.|
When I was 20 my world was shattered when my brother Ian was shot and killed by some local gang members in a random drive by shooting a few blocks from our home. I had to identify him in the morgue of the hospital so my mom wouldn’t have to.
His friends who were there and the neighbors who witnessed the incident were afraid to come forward to identify the killers because they were afraid of retribution from the street gang. But one of my brothers’ friends who was there was brave and did come forward. It was known that there were several gang members involved but only one could be positively identified by my brothers’ friend. This brave and loyal friend and his entire family had to go into a witness protection program and moved away. I didn’t see them again until my the trial of Ian’s killer.
After I ran into my brothers’ killers’ twin brother at the local car wash one day, I decided to leave LA for what I though was for good. I sold my car, dropped out of college and moved alone to Florence, Italy at the age of 20. I now realize that I was suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome, but at the time it seemed like the only logical thing to do.
|The car I sold so I could move to Italy|
While in Italy, I studied Italian and art history at the local Italian University. It was just what I needed. To get away and forget for a little while.
When I came back the following fall for the trial, I knew that what I wanted to do with my future was design clothing. So I signed up for a program at FIDM, a fashion design school in downtown LA. Somehow I made it through. Although my brothers’ killer was convicted for life, I still have to visit the prison every five years for his parole hearings and relive the incident all over again. It’s always so surreal to see this guy, around my age, who is spending his life behind bars for what he did to my brother.