Again, Wednesday’s blog is arriving on (just barely) Thursday.Â Hopefully, this is NOT a trend!
I’ll continue my journey with Roddy where I left off…
The main thing I wrote over those years, from the time I was about thirteen until I was seventeen, were letters: letters to Roddy McDowall.Â I wrote often, pouring out my teenaged heart to a man Iâ€™d never met.Â Sometimes I wrote several times a week.Â The letters were pretty innocent, especially by todayâ€™s standards, but they were probably also somewhat disturbing to Roddy, or whatever assistant was helping him with his mail during those years.Â I never received a response, although Iâ€™ve since known many fans that did.Â When I learned after Roddyâ€™s death that all his personal papers and correspondence were locked in some archive at Boston University for one hundred years, I imagined that many or mine were in a ‘crazy file.’Â Itâ€™s been nearly fourteen years, so there only eighty-six more to wait.
I HAVE written stories about it though, but that wouldnâ€™t happen for MANY years, and Iâ€™ll tell about that in its own time.
I almost ran away to see Roddy, in the late spring of 1976, just before I turned sixteen.Â One of the days when I was home “sick” watching him on Hollywood Squares, the host, Peter Marshall, announced that Roddy would be touring in the play Charleyâ€™s Aunt, which would open in Ann Arbor, Michigan soon.Â This was before the Internet, so such stalking activities were much more difficult, but I knew the name of the theatre, so somehow I found information on ticket prices, and the even more important bus ticket to get me there.Â Iâ€™m not sure what I thought would happen, and I know now that manyâ€”MOST!â€”of my fantasies were pretty unrealistic, but I felt somehow that this was meant to be, and it was my chanceâ€¦
It was a chance I didnâ€™t take though, and now I donâ€™t even know why.Â Perhaps I was afraid.Â Perhaps I didnâ€™t want to take the risk of seeing that my dreams were only that: the imaginings of a lonely, lovesick girl.
I have regretted this decision pretty much ever since.
Except on those occasions when Iâ€™m thankful I still HAVEÂ my untainted-by-harsh-reality fantasy.Â It has gotten me through some difficult times (but more on that next time).
I had similar thoughts the next summer when my family went on a vacation that included New York City.Â I didnâ€™t know if Roddy would even BE there, but it was a chance, and I think this time I might have actually taken it, and somehow given my family the slip.Â Unfortunately, we got out of the car only ONCE during our day in Manhattanâ€”and that was to board the ferry to tour the Statue of Liberty.Â There was no missed opportunity this time, because there was NO opportunity at all!Â This was probably a good thing, since although I thought of myself as pretty street-wise and clever, I was still VERY sheltered and naÃ¯ve.
And for some reason, I never even tried to find Roddy againâ€¦
I didnâ€™t stop thinking ofÂ Roddy though.Â He was still a big part of my life even after my best friend had moved on to other, more age-appropriate, interests, and I took my own feelings underground.Â I played the NORMAL game, partially because my parents were so concerned with my withdrawl from the “real” world, the one that wasn’t AT ALL real to me.Â Â IÂ began goingÂ out with groups ofÂ schoolmates, and even went on a date with a REAL BOYâ€”although it turned out it be a bit more complicated than thatâ€”when I was still sixteen.Â When I was seventeen, after the ill-fated New York trip, I dated frequently, had one boyfriend, then another, then some who werenâ€™t even boyfriends, and what we had couldnâ€™t have even been called relationshipsâ€¦
Outwardly, I had moved on, but my heart stayed locked tightly, with Roddy safely inside.Â The world didn’t know about my feelings, so the world couldn’t be worried about them or touch them.Â The world couldn’t stop me, or force me to give him up, as long as I played my role, as long as I lived the life I was supposed to live.
I would play that role well over the next nearly thirty years…
See you again on Saturday, with this week’s installment of ‘The Words, yes,’ AGAIN, about Roddy.