Monday, June 22, 2015

Be true to your school

So there I am, on my birthday, somewhere in my mid-40s, and already feeling a bit nostalgic for my youth and the place I come from.

And then I see: yesterday Charlie Sheen launched an attack not only on his ex-wife -- Denise Richards -- but also on the town in which she grew up.

A hometown that we happen to share.

As reported in the "Downers Grove Patch":

He calls Richards, whom he married in 2002 and divorced in 2006, a “doosh phace” and a “charlatan” and the “worst mom alive.” Most of the post is unprintable and not worth reading. But this swipe stood out:
“last note; this lab rat is from a retarded (expletive) hole named ‘Downers Grove’ nothing further your Honor”
OK. I can't claim any inside knowledge into the Richards-Sheen relationship. But I did grow up in Downers Grove.

And I spent a year of middle school together with Denise Richards, separated only by a relatively few number of pages in the 1984 "Herrick Spartan":

I don't have any specific memories of interacting with Denise, but I do remember her being there. I have no doubt that we crossed paths at some point in junior high: it was, after all, a small place. (Though hopefully it was not one of those points where I was being humiliated by bullies, which was a fairly common occurrence in those days.)

As the article notes, Denise herself has had some kind things to say about her home town.

“Downers Grove was a charming little town with cobblestone streets and cute mom-and-pop stores. There was one movie theater, where I saw ‘E.T.’ and ‘Star Wars.’ On summer nights, we walked to Bogg’s ice cream, which to this day is the best homemade ice cream I’ve ever eaten. My parents took my sister and me to church on Sundays, and both of us attended CCD classes one day a week after school. We made our Communion and Confirmation. Though we had our own rooms, Michelle and I did everything together, from gymnastics to pom-poms in junior high. Both of us had a crush on Rob Lowe, we had a poster of him in our room, and we never missed an episode of ‘The Facts of Life.’”
I don't remember too many cobblestone streets, but I do remember the excellent movie theatre -- the Tivoli -- where I probably saw "E.T." and "Star Wars" along with Denise.

Actually, there were times in my past when I would have used language to describe the town of my birth that closely resembles that used by Charlie Sheen. I suppose a lot of us hate the places that we come from at some point.

But since then -- not least since I've moved fairly far away from there -- I've come to have a different and rather fonder memory of the place, and it's always a pleasure to return.

I mean, we can't all be born, like Mr. Sheen, in New York, a city which is certainly close to my own family's origins.

But there's nothing in that origin, I think, that automatically protects one from being a complete asshole.

Though that's just an opinion.