I've been working on a memoir -- which was catalyzed by Tin House editor Rob Spillman when he asked me if I had a story about going to the high school prom, for his new book.
I told him that at my school in the 1970s, only "squares" went to the prom, but that I did have a rather illicit role in a Quaalude-drenched swim-team banquet at the famous Century City Playboy Club.
Did that count? He said yes. On that initiative, the following chapter began:
I was a high school swim team score-girl before I was a commie. I'm glad things ended up that way, because otherwise I never would've been able to touch the Playboy Bunny, and carry on my sensual, if guilty, disposition.
The high school swim team was my ticket to an almost-prom, to halcyon schooldays, to a bartended, dress-up affair.
The Trotskyists, the Yippies, the lavender pinkos -- they gave me guns and a good deal to think about, but nothing soft or fluffy.
I went to a school called University High -- a white, mostly Jewish school in West Los Angeles. Its public face was one-part Hollywood Colony, one part UCLA professors' kids. In the '70s, there was no truly integrated school in the district. A discreet number of black students from South Central Los Angeles were bused into white schools from the time they were in Kindergarten.
It was not a two-way street. It was a cradle-to-cap affair.
(Susie Bright is a guest blogger)
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