Tag Archive | Pattie Boyd


Abbey Road 45 years later

Abbey Road 45 years later

Something about seeing that Pattie Boyd turned 70 yesterday made me feel – not old, not nostalgic, not sad – grateful? Happy to have lived when I have?

Pattie Boyd, my childhood idol and living Francie doll.

Pattie Boyd, my childhood idol and living Francie doll.

Can’t quite put my finger on what that something is, so I’ll blog it out. She’s the girl about whom George Harrison wrote, “Something in the way she moves attracts me like no other lover …,” from Abbey Road (across which we walked on our recent trip to London). She’s the same girl about whom Eric Clapton wrote the tortured “Layla” and the adoring “Wonderful Tonight.”

She’s the girl on whose every (ghost)written word I hung as a 9-11 year old when she had a beauty and advice column in 16 magazine. Her hair and makeup tips were memorized by yours truly, amusing considering I couldn’t touch cosmetics until I turned 13.

She married a Beatle, for heaven’s sake.

Jean Shrimpton was my favorite model in those days, for sheer beauty, glamour and – just look at her.

Her highness of beauty, Jean Shrimpton

Her highness of beauty, Jean Shrimpton

But Pattie was a regular girl, accessible, with an attainable look and darling clothes. (Or so she seemed, despite marrying George, then marrying Eric and having those songs written about her.) She transcended glamour.

As frivolous as it might seem, I’m glad I was affected by her.


A few people have asked me to write about our trip, but that’s not something I really feel like doing at the moment, other than to mention the books I read on our trip – and one inspired by our trip that I ordered the last night we were in Paris.

I told myself I could not take Michael Chabon’s Kavalier & Clay with me – it weighs too much and I’d waited all these years to read it and another week wouldn’t hurt me. Kav&Clay

I was about halfway through and could finish it when I got back, I told myself repeatedly – and I already had a beat-up used copy of Special Topics in Calamity Physics, by Marisha Pessl packed – I’d been saving it for the trip since Julia told me I must read it immediately.

But the day came to leave and I couldn’t leave my comic-book-creating boys behind. I stayed up late nights on our trip to finish the tale Chabon wove so well. I won’t give anything away, but if you like World War II history, comic books or just excellent writing in any form, read it.

CalamityPhysicsBookCoverBut I didn’t let myself start Calamity Physics until our very long return-travel day – made do with magazines after the heartbreak of finishing K&C. I almost finished CP in that one day – what a great, weird book it is. After we got home and real-life ensued, it took me a few days to finish the little bit I had left.

Can’t tell you anything, really, except you’ll never read anything else quite like it. Pessl blew me away with her first novel. The first-person narration, by a college-age girl, is accompanied by self-annotation, a fascinating device and not distracting at all from the top-notch mystery that the book really is.

Just as I finished it, the book I ordered from our hotel room in Montmartre arrived. (Stayed up late the last night of our trip to find a good used copy of a 2013 book, which took some digging. I feed my addiction with used books when possible; my iPad is loaded with classics, travel books and books for work, but turning pages is part of the experience for me.)

thepaintedgirlsI’d read about The Painted Girls, by Cathy Marie Buchanan, a while back and thought I’d probably read it when it came out in paperback. But after seeing Little Dancer, Aged 14 at the Musée D’Orsay, then talking to a very nice lady from Port Arthur, Texas, at lunch at the D’Orsay (she and her husband, a retired firefighter, were at the table next to us and accents required chatting), I revised that to “I’ll read it now.”

She brought it up and said she was back at the D’Orsay to visit the statuette after reading the historical novel, based on ballet dancers near Montmartre, including Marie van Goethem, who modeled regularly for Edgar Degas and was captured in Little Dancer and many paintings.


Degas’ “Little Dancer, Aged 14”

The book is good, not life-changingly great, but solidly good and very interesting historically. Buchanan craftily weaves two true stories into one –and it was cool reading about events on the streets we’d walked and hills we’d climbed. I’m very glad I read it.

Montmartre and Sacré Coeur from one of the clock windows at the Museé D-Orsay – the setting for much of

Montmartre and Sacré Coeur from one of the clock windows at the Musée D-Orsay – the setting for much of “The Painted Girls” and where we stayed our three nights in Paris. (Taken with an iPhone, I might add, which did better than our Canon aim-and-shoot.)

their_eyes_frontBut now I’m reading Their Eyes Were Watching God. Once I got used to the dialect, I find it hard to put down. I started it to fill a gap in my English-degree reading. Thank heavens I did!


One last something to write about, in the photo department – and some things I noticed: My passport is expiring, so I had to go get a new picture made. Things I noticed: I often have the non-drunk drunk eyes Daddy had in many photos, and they show up well here. Ten years age you a lot. Passport photos have gone up quite a bit – 10 years ago, I think it was about $10. Yesterday it was $16+ with tax.

And check out the hair – mainly the bangs. Sixties’ influence much? Some things never change.

Pattie Boyd, Jean Shrimpton, I feel your bangs.

Pattie Boyd, Jean Shrimpton, I feel your bangs.

Bang bang

For some reason, mothers in the late ’50s and early ‘60s seemed to want their young daughters to look like tiny Bettie Pages, at least in the bangs department. Kelly and I definitely had mothers who were scissor-happy, but it was just a matter of a few years before Kelly and I declared war.

The big bangs bang-up. I won my battle much sooner than Kelly did – her work-around was to grow her bangs out. But let me back up a bit.

Kelly is my furthest-back lifelong friend. We met as toddlers at Dorothy Donaldson Dance Studio, located, in, of all places, the Villa Marre. We tapped on those historic floors in the late 1950s. If I’m remembering correctly, Alva Jean Morgan was our teacher, and the well-known Mr. Joel, Joel Ruminer, was a student teacher.

Anyway, we became fast friends, as did our mothers and fathers. After the Cartwrights landed in North Little Rock when I was starting first grade, Kelly and I always lived in the same neighborhood until we left home. Our parents still live near each other.

Kelly and I looked like negative images as young children. She had the blackest hair a white girl could have and the whitest skin this side of Snow White. I was a dark-skinned cotton top. But we both had Bettie Page bangs.

This had to be first grade because I still have baby front teeth.

By fourth grade, though, we were beginning to rebel. Cher had hit the big time and made long, long bangs ever so cool.  I hung on every word Pattie Boyd (soon to be Pattie Boyd Harrison) wrote in her “Letters from London” in Sixteen magazine. 

(This “Beauty Box” entry is from a month after my 10th birthday, in October 1965. I remember it well almost 47 years later.)

We’d beg our mothers not to scalp us, then resort to wetting our bangs and trying to stretch them. I can still see us in front of the bathroom mirror tugging and hoping.

Somewhere along the line Mother relented. She was always fashion-conscious and wanted her daughters to follow suit. But I also remember her fussing mightily about my bangs hanging in my eyes and semi-laughing and shaking her head at how I had to tip my head up to see past them during the height of my rebellion.

At least my hair was white, then blonde, then light blondish-brown, so the mini-fringe was never as dramatic as Kelly’s stark black. I remember Kelly sitting in class the first few days after a pruning with her hand placed strategically – and dramatically – across her forehead to hide the line.

Pointing out that that was counterproductive only made her more upset.

By junior high, we were both over bangs – those were the “butt-cut” years, as my daughter and her friends laughingly called them later. At least until my senior year shag, with its styling parted bangs.

Someone in yearbook class snapped this photo of my darling friend Jeannie and I. If you look closely, you can see hints of the gypsy-shag layers that are pulled back into my low ponytail. This would be shortly before the full-on shag. And, oh, how I loved that navy lace-up neckline poorboy sweater! And dig the Greta Garbo/Claudette Colbert eyebrows.

I returned to full-on bangs in my mid-20s, dabbled with growing them out in my early 30s, then went back to long bangs and stayed put. They hide wrinkles and, well, I guess I’ve just I’ve never gotten completely over my love of the Patty Boyd/Cher/Jean Shrimpton/Bridgette Bardot/Marlo Thomas long-bangs look.

Back to the long-bangs look at about 40. Another yearbook photo, only this time I was a teacher.

What’s next for the hair chronicles? I may attempt to untangle ugly perms, if I dare. I saw some muy hideouso photos this morning. Those who don’t learn the lessons of the past are doomed to repeat them, so we should all look back in anguish, right?


And the Blackhawk years can yield some interesting haircutting stories. For a while I was stylist to the ’hood.

You’ll have to tune in to see what’s next. Even I don’t know.