Here's Judi! by Jolly King

Hollywood, California, circa 1960. Who wouldn't want their own radio show! OMG! I was stunned when Judi Doll got her big break. It was really exciting and bizarre all at once. Judi Doll, in her twenties, was a beauty. Mostly because of Dr. Sachs. Got rid of that honker for her when she was just fifteen. And, a bout with anorexia fixed the obesity.

I would have liked to have had my "What Me Worry"-ears pinned back. No one offered! Boy, do I sound jealous. Not true. Jealously was not, at all, in the mix. I wouldn't have wanted to trade places with Judi Doll for anything.

Our father, Mr. B, worked hard at his business. Six Days a week. And, on the 7th day, he played Golf! Thank God! Seeing him one day a week was more than enough for all of us. His business gave him something that none of his immediate family could give him: freedom from his family! Freedom to be who he was. Believe me, I am not resentful… Not in the least. I get it. I find myself in the same mind set today. Freedom! What a beautiful word! Hard work and Freedom go hand in hand. Actually, when my father was a young boy in his native land (Chicago), he learned about life the hard way. The really hard way. Depression era. Chicago. Jews. Need I say more? His mother, Rebecca, was a hard worker, and she paved the way for her son to become a hard worker. Which, inevitably paved my way. To be a hard worker. But, that's another flash non-fiction story.

So, Mr. B had some money. Not the most generous person on the earth. But, by nature, the guiltiest! I never really learned the art of "how to bulldoze him for money.” But, my sister, Judi Doll, knew how. Oh, my! Drama! She knew how to turn on the "waterworks." And, he fell for it every time.

Judi Doll wanted to be an actress. She was gorgeous, so she probably could have. Unfortunately, Judi Doll loved to sleep. Oversleep. Sleep in. Sleep for days at a time. That little problem can definitely put a "strain" on any type of career. Let's say she had the best role model for her sleep issues: our mother! Or, as my oldest sister referred to her… "the sleeping thing." They were a couple of blue ribbon sleepers! I could never understand that route. If you sleep all day, you miss cocktail hour.

I don't think she ever did successfully get a professional acting job. But! She did get her own radio show! You know, if you have some money, it can work out.

It turned out that Judi Doll was pretty good at interviewing people, repeating gossip and, since dad was the producer, the working hours were conducive to her sleep patterns. I thought: Wow! Judi! This is your moment. It was very exciting. And, I think it might have been the only "official" job Judi Doll ever had. Not kidding.

Here's Judi! That's how the show opened every week. "Here's Judi!"

By this time, Judi Doll had a real "agent." A real, “Hollywood Agent!" Lee. She was four-foot-eight at the most. A German/Jewish shprintze! Boy… how Mr. B hated her. He was shprintze-intolerant. I think he might have been a "misogynist." Think? Oh, yeah. He definitely was one of those.

Mr. B was one of many of "those things." He was definitely someone you would never want to go to a fine dining establishment with. I'll explain another time.

Lee G.—want to keep her good name intact—really wanted to help Judi Doll. My memory of Lee was of this tiny, lady with huge eyes, that bugged out of her bulging eyeglasses. What a prototype for a "Hollywood Agent!" (Lee G. later became my first agent, which led me to the realization that I needed to get the hell out of LA, CA!)

Ah! Sleep! To Sleep! To Sleep! No More!

I could never understand the sleep all day motive. I could understand staying up all night, and sleeping in! But! Sleeping all the time!!!

I remember my young days in Los Angeles. Getting ready for school., yelling: “MOM?! MOM?! Oh! Right! Whisper… Whisper… MOMMOM… WAKE UP! Can you braid my hair?"

Judi Doll had a plant shop, too. In Glendale, California. What? Her own shop? She was a shop-owner?

Judi Doll loved plants. She had the proverbial green thumb when it came to planting. She loved plants. She really took great care of her plants. And her dogs! But not Judi Doll!

She would feed her plants, her dogs, her neighbors! The frigging neighborhood! She would spend tons of money, that she didn't have, on groceries. She would cook gourmet dinners for her neighbors. For our brother! And, then, he would berate her as he fled with his stomach full of great food.

But, I digress! The Plant Shop! Wow! This was awesome! Judi Doll had a regular plant shop! I was so excited for her. Knowing her love of plants, and her desperate need to learn how to make a living for herself… I thought… this was it. This was the perfect vehicle for Judi Doll to finally make herself ''legitimate.'' Of course, Mr. B paid the rent, bought the plants, connected the phone. Ah! The phone! This was the most important thing to Judi Doll! If the phone rang, which was connected to her apartment, then she would be available. You're probably saying, "what?" Yes! Judi Doll never went in to work. I was stunned. Shocked. Puzzled. What? You don't' go in? What if someone comes by? What if someone calls? Judi Doll says: ".if someone calls, I'll answer the phone, and then go in. If I can get a ride. I don't drive." Who doesn't drive in LA, CA? Judi Doll. So! That's the plant shop. Mr. B finally closed the door there, as he did on Here's Judi, the radio show. He was the one and only sponsor. I'm sure it helped his business. But, after a while, I guess even he got fed up.

Sleeping patterns!

Dogs! Judi Doll loved Dogs! I have to capitalize Dogs, to emphasize how important Dogs were to her. That, I get. The sleeping the day away thing? Nah! That I don't get. But, ah! Dogs! Judi Doll and dogs. A love affair that never ended. She could take care of those beloved canines and love them to death! Literally. Feed them to the point where they were going to burst. Every single dog she had became obese. I guess that she must have been pretty hungry herself since she never ate. Makes sense to me. Feed the cold. Starve the fever.

She loved pugs. She had one named Bupkis. So cute. Such a loving pup! So fat! She could hardly walk. The two of them were bonded. Judi Doll loved her pups.

Juarez! What a trip!

Back in the 60's, a woman's right to chose was nonexistent. Pretty much like what's happening today, in the South and Mid West.

Jamie! Jamie! What a mess. Young, beautiful, horny. Need I say more? The first time the "trip" was needed was so shocking to me. Who took her there? I can't remember. I wish I could call Jamie and ask her. Don't think she'd be able to receive calls where she went.

Hollywood! Laurel Canyon! The 60's. Wow! Where do I begin? Oh! Lookout Mountain! Now, that house I remember. What a great house for two, young, silly girls, sisters, to share a life. We're talking over 45 years ago. It's amazing that I am still here, writing about this era. But! The house! The house was so fantastic. Three levels. Split levels. I can still see this house in my mind's eye. I still dream about this house. I've had a recurring dream over the years, that I return to this palace, on Lookout Mountain. Now, to make the memories come alive, with words. That's the challenge here. Remember! I did say it was the 60's. There's so much to say. So little I've retained.

The long staircase that brought you to the top of the hill where this house stood was a craggy, cement path that led you to this amazingly run down shack. There were countless skinned knees from falling down episodes. But, it was home. Home to two wandering Jewish Princesses. A veritable castle. What a change from the reality of our parents home, back in Los Feliz. This was our freedom from the "ties that bind."

Jamie, slept in the "nest." Seniority, I guess. The bitch! I made most of the money, and, she did all the sleeping. I actually had jobs. But, it didn't count in the world of these two J.A.P.S. We still had the Benefactor, who paid the rent bill every month. That would be Mr. B.

Actually, Jamie had a job too. We both worked at the world famous, Whiskey-A-Go-Go! Ever hear of it? Yep! She took the tickets at the door and I worked in the lighting booth. We worked for $5.00 an hour and worked four hour shifts. $20 bucks! Jamie had no problems attracting men. Wow! She was a man-magnet. Vulnurable, beautiful, needy. Everything a virile, young man needed in a 60's relationship, which was a "One Night Stand," which would lead directly to Juarez. Do not pass go! And, you need to pay the $200.

This one was number 4. God! I can almost sympathize with Michele Bachman's tribe of fundalmentists circa NOW! Kinda makes me anti-abortion for those who are so Uneducated in the World. This time, the abortion consisted of a procedure that caused a painful miscarriage. Being a youngish 18 year old, who was totally sleep deprived… (how ironic, since I come from a family of total sleepers….) drugged out and just plain tired, I had to witness this most awful experience through the eyes of someone who was totally detached. Yes! Detached. I pulled the pillow over my head, to drown out the sounds of pain coming from the "nest." She called out to me. I didn't respond. What was I going to do? Hold her hand? She never forgave me. You know what? I can never forgive myself, because I was responsible for the disposal. Never mind the details. Some things are better left unspoken.

Sweet Adeline!

She was actually a sweet lady. However, sometimes sweet leads to something over the line. Adeline was over the line. Actually, she was my mother. But, I, early on, could distinguish sweet from the other.

Memories! Yes! There are memories. Plenty of them. Most of them are pretty “interesting” at best. Do you understand, that crazy people used to want to come over to my house and visit with her to “chat? She possessed some amazing “madness” that was actually visible to the naked eye. Or, for the next in line of the crazy?

Memories! Yes! Like the corners of your mind! Misty? Nah! Water colored? Nah! Black and white. Yeah! Sweet, Adeline! Crazy! Not Crazy! Mostly crazy. Hey, I was just trying to figure life out. I got stuck with …mucho crazy.

“Oh, your Mother’s a little nervous!” Yep! That was what I kept hearing for many years. Mr. B was totally trying to maintain “damage control.” Gee, dad! Really? Can’t blame him. He was plenty nervous himself.

Mr. B grew up during the depression. So did Sweet Adeline. Chicago. Depression. They consumed bananas multiple times a day. Adeline was so skinny, that everyone referred to her as “the spider.”

My mother was a Spider? God help me. I never got that reference. To me she was more of a Dumpling? Or, Sleeping thing… Yeah… but Spider? Nah. Gingy? Is that the Yiddish term for spider? I’ll need to contact my Yiddish mentor.


Sweet Adeline
Polar palace circa 1950, Hollywood
Big fur coat
Ice skating
Sitting there like an Eskimo
Peaceful, harmless
That fur coat and the Robe
Life in a madhouse
I always found a reason to laugh.
To find a reason to laugh out loud
So much of the reality around me
made me laugh out loud!


When my mother read the torah, she read it with an amazing sense of history, religiosity, and intelligence. When she read the torah, wearing her blue robe, we ran for the Hollywood Hills!

My high school friend, Eric, would come over to our home weekly, to get his "Adeline" fix. She would entertain him with her intelligent conversation, her calm lecturing about the history of Judaism, and her gracious hospitality. Eric found Adeline quite fascinating. I sort of understood why he found her so "entertaining.'' She was quite a trip. You never knew if she was davening from her intense prayer, or shaking from the effects of the lithium that had been prescribed to her. I wish that I could say that she ate her lithium with chocolate ice cream, but I cannot. Instead, we got Sweet Adeline! Lithium riddled, manic mood swings, and violent rage, coupled with tinges of someone who was barely there. Eric found our home comforting.

Eric was such an easy going guy. Didn't really know him intimately. I never went to his family's home. But, our relationship was mostly connected to my mother. His fascination with her was quite bizarre, but since I came from bizarre, I didn't even consider that he might be a bit odd. But, there were some obvious signs. I can say that now, in retrospect. I barely remember what happened yesterday, but clearly, I recall Eric's weirdness. Weirdness? He had an obsession with my mother, for one. He never wore clothing that wasn't black. He was clearly highly intelligent and he laughed all the time.

Mickey was one of his friends. Freewheeling, carefree Mickey. Motorcycle riding, class cutting, king of all truants, died on a friday night while on his motorcycle. Smashed right into the Glendale underpass. We were all so upset and shaken. We knew that Mickey was probably high. Eric was clearly numbed and saddened. But, the laughter was still there.

One week later, I found out that Eric would never be coming over to visit Adeline again: he had taken his father's shotgun, and, in front of his father, on their front lawn, blown his brains out.

I never mentioned Eric to Adeline again. She never noticed.

Wake Up Girls! It's Thursday!

Beechwood Drive, early 1950's. Summer. What would we be doing today?

Public pool? Polar palace? A double feature and Michelli's pizza? Hope it isn't the Hollywood Girls Club. My least favorite place on earth. It all depended on Adeline and her sleep needs, and what she would be wearing.

Meanwhile, wemy 2 older sisters and Iwould find interesting things to do while we waited to see what the day would bring. Usually, we would either put on costumes and "play act," or put on toe shoes, with the lambswool pads, and go outside to show the world we could be beautiful ballerinas.

My two older sisters were pretty awful dancers. Graceless at best. Myself? Oh, I was a Prima Ballerina. Of course, I was too little to actually have real hard toe shoes. But, I was resourceful, and used plastic dixie cups on my little, chubby toes. We would dance outside with total abandon, and wave to the drivers as they passed by with happy smiles on their faces.

We must have been quite a sight. Three, chubby little girls, dancing on the street.

Judi Doll was the klutziest, by far. She much preferred prancing around the house on her hands and knees, pretending to be a horse. Her knees were always a strange shade of purple.

Her love of horses was almost an obsession. She collected little ceramic figurines of horses. Of course, all of us had ceramic collections of animals. My oldest sister loved dogs. I was too young to have any obsessionsexcept the plastic cups that substituted for toe shoesso the family decided that I should have a ceramic collection of cats. I liked cats. Never really loved them, so my ceramic collection was just okay. I actually developed a love/hate relationship with cats. I'll share more about cats later on.

My oldest sister became our surrogate mother while our real one slept. That role began as early as Beechwood Drive. There were many days that my big sis was cleaning the house, cooking the meals, and walking our dog, Licorice. She was the designated "slave." I was the baby of the family, which is why I probably escaped the deep harm one can suffer from lack of parental guidance. Adeline's moods were at different levels at different times. I benefited by the mere fact that I was born when her sleeping issues really took off. My three older siblings suffered from our mother's "lack of sleep" I sort of escaped. I was lucky. I came out pretty damaged, but dealing.

If Adeline wore her fur coat, we knew that we would be spending the day at the Hollywood Polar Palace. If she wore her muʻumuʻu, we'd be going to the public pool. If we were being sent to the Hollywod Girls Club, Mr. B would drive us there really early. And, if she was wearing her "blue robe," we would run for the Hollywood Hills. Literally! We lived right there.

My mother was a big fan of the Hollywood stars. A classic movie fan. A lover of Errol Flynn, Clark Gable (although she made fun of Clark's ears) and Tyrone Power. I had become a Tyrone Power fan by virtue of being Adeline's youngest daughter. He's the first man I ever fell in love with. After he died, I used to visit his grave, at the Hollywood Cemetery. Now its called the Hollywood Forever Cemetary. Adeline! She was born too soon, and never got a start. She shoulda/coulda /woulda been something special. She was a singer and a songwriter. She always had a passion for the performing arts, and I was young enough to have benefited from her passions. Also, her "blue robe rages."

"If You Don't Write, You're Wrong"
words and music by Adeline Bramson  © Dec 13, 1943

Don't you feel a little guilty that you didn't write? /
He's been thinking about you, all thru the night! /
Don't give him any reason to feel forlorn! /
If he don't get a letter he's so sorry he was born! /
So be a good sport, and show your true colors! /
Red white and blue, he don't want any dollars! /
You don't even have to say, "I love you!" /
just a few words that you've been thinking of him! /
Your letters mean much more to him than a song! /
So remember if you don't Write your Wrong!

She made a recording of this special WWII hit. Or maybe it was just one of those booths at the arcade at POP: that was short for Pacific Ocean Park, our beach in Santa Monica.

Nevertheless, Adeline was brimming with talents that might have given her a chance to have a real life. Instead, she was just our mom: the sleeping thing.

Funny how our biological clocks know what day of the week it is. Adeline could be sleeping for days, but when Thursday came, it was loud and clear: "Wake up girls! It's Thursday! Vicey's coming! Clean up!" And, that's what we did on Thursday's. Especially during the summer when there wasn't school.

Vicey was our "cleaning lady." She was also referred to as "the girl." She was probably older than Adeline, but she was Vicey, the girl. And when it was Thursday, we knew she was coming. We would hear Adeline calling out to us (just us sisters, not the one brother), "wake up, girls. It's Thursday! Vicey is coming and we have to clean up the house!" Funny? Hilarious! That was Adeline. She had a real respect for Vicey. One time Vicey cut her hand very badly, and Adeline was completely in the moment, tending to the wound, as if she were a "specialist" in the medical profession. Adeline could be sound asleep, but if there was any sense of danger lurking, she was up and completely there. Mr. B used to refer to his wife as, Lush, and Eagle Eye. Adeline never missed any traumas in our household. The sleeping thing, with one eye open. Yep! That was Adeline!

Beechwood drive was the first home I remember from my childhood. The house was a typical 1940's house that you would see in old Hollywood films. Stucco and wood. It was situated on a slanted hill, and everyday, during our playtime outside, we would see her driving that little green MG. I only knew who she was because Adeline knew. She knew who all the stars in Hollywood were. We would wave to her, and she would wave back. Smiling and waving. Hey! I knew Marilyn Monroe!