Thursday, August 31, 2006

Where butterflies are still free

I stopped by Goldie Hawn’s house last night. Well, ok it wasn’t her current house, but the one she grew up in. Just a few streets over a little Goldie learned to paint flowers on her arms, legs, and chest and to pop over walls and giggle. It’s a cute little brick duplex on a dead-end street near the downtown. If only I’d had my camera! Oh well, I’ll stop by later for a picture.

Takoma Park fits her actually. It’s a very liberal, rather hippie little town. I would imagine that in her day it was even more granola.

Excerpts from a Post interview:

“Every year or two Goldie Hawn drives back to the brick duplex on the dead-end street in Takoma Park where she grew up. Sometimes she comes alone and sometimes with her sister Patti, or her old friend from childhood Jean Lynn, or her partner of 20 years, Kurt Russell. If there's no one home she finds a neighbor to let her in; once there was no neighbor around, so she sneaked in through a front window the owner had left unlocked, and then wandered around, through the kitchen where the family used to hang out, down to the basement, up to her old bedroom.”

She remembers the azalea and hydrangea bushes her mother planted, the dogwood trees she loved, now in full bloom in the front garden. "Spring is a nostalgic time for me," she says. She remembers the wild violets she picked on Mother's Day every year from the hill sloping down behind the house, "the biggest bunch I could get in my little hands. For days I smelled like violets," she says. "Nothing smells anymore."
She remembers the "cast of eccentrics," the guy in the neighborhood she and her friends used to call the child molester because he looked so creepy. The blue house on the corner that didn't quite fit in, that always had junk in the back yard (it still does). At Blair High School "I wasn't one of the girls in the 'A' crowd," she recalls; her social life revolved around the kids on her block who all went to different schools: Jimmy Fisher with the two sets of teeth, "who I still connect with," and Jean Lynn, "the one girlfriend who was my heart and soul," who now lives in Florida but is still her best friend.

The street is still much the same, or at least recognizable; as with many in Takoma Park, each house displays the owner's particular pride. The blue one has a row of mismatched pots out front and the flatbed of a truck piled with stuff; another is neat with a white picket fence and a pagoda-like entrance. Hawn's old house is the only semi-detached on the block, set back behind a full garden; the houses on either side of it have "War is Not the Answer" signs stuck in the front lawns; across the street hangs an old tire swing, bumping up against an SUV.

"I don't always go in," she says. "Sometimes I just drive by and look and cry."
The first time she goes back is in the mid-'60's, after she had just landed a spot on the sitcom "Good Morning World," after the first time she's confronted a group of fans screaming for her autograph, photographers blinding her. "The yellow taxi turns into my dead-end street and I finally exhale," she writes. "Cleveland Avenue, Takoma Park. My childhood home."

The block is still the same. There is a timelessness about Takoma Park. It's a place where people stay, it's a destination and not a moment. There is a pride in its quirkiness and in the uniqueness of its children. Takoma is a place full of homes not houses.


Steve said...

ahh - I forgot that Goldie Hawn grew up there. I went to a greek deli/restaurant in Lohmans Plaza, off Randolph Rd., in Rockville where I saw her autographed pic. I think it was called "Theo's", my mother and grandmother remembered the place well - as they used to shop/eat at that center in the 60's and 70's.. Anyway - during that visit to that restaurant, was when I learned that Goldie was a native of Maryland.. Small world..

gayborhood gringo said...

So she confessed to breaking and entering into the home because the current owner wasn't home? I'd have had her arrested. haha

The Brian said...

I know! I thought that was hysterical.

I'm Goldie, dammit!

Anonymous said...

I live on Baltimore Avenue, it crosses from cleveland, and my friend lives right next door! And I am an aspiring actress so I always seen her house and have been inspired.

VP19 said...

When I was a student at the University of Maryland, I occasionally took buses (this was pre-Metrorail) from Rockville to College Park; one of the routes I took included a bus that went through Takoma Park, not far from where Goldie grew up. It is indeed a lovely little town, and I can see why Goldie loves it so.

And the anecdote about her first visit back after reaching semi-celebrity on "Good Morning World" ("Laugh-In," which would boost her stardom to giant size, was still a few months away) made me think of a younger actress, Laura Prepon, who hails from an area of New Jersey where I edited a weekly newspaper; I was the first to interview her extensively in late '98, not very long after "That '70s Show" debuted on Fox, and she talked about how weird it felt to be recognized as a celebrity, both in Los Angeles and back in Jersey. Laura's a genuinely nice person, and I hope her career is as long and fruitful as Goldie's.

Svetlana Mihaila said...

Does anybody know how and at what e-mail, or mail address I could write to Goldie? I would appreciate it very much if somebody is willing to help me with that...