January, 2013:

EROTIC LIT — WHY NOT?

Sex makes the world go round… Songs, books, movies, art, advertising, the media, not to mention all our imaginative minds and built-in hormones. Women can’t seem to get enough of the fairly recent novel, Fifty Shades of Grey. I read the first two books and the sex was quite amazing, but I want to remind my blog readers in search of some erotica and romance/adventure that I’ve published Melaynie’s Masquerade as an e-book on Amazon  http://amazon.com/author/victoriagiraud

Read my sample teaser below and see if it entices you to read more by ordering my book. It’s also in softcover.

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With Drake’s humorous admonition to be careful with their guest, Melaynie carried a lantern to show Bernardino to his private tent at evening’s end. In the light of a bright moon, whose rays poured through the wide opening of the small quarters, Bernardino found and immediately sat down on the portable cot. Tired from the day’s excitement and mellowed to the point of sleepiness by the wine, he languidly watched as the young captain’s boy placed the lantern on an empty cask, thinking as he watched of his young sister.

Why was he thinking of his sister; was it the way this young boy moved, or simply the beauty of youth?  He leaned back and began to remove his doublet, welcoming the cooler night air on his skin.  Remembering the music and the caress of the night breeze, he felt relaxed and sensual. Melaynie’s body and face were profiled in the moonlight. What a lovely young boy, Bernardino reflected  as he studied the fine facial features and golden hair. He lazily watched the lantern’s flickering light, his feelings of arousal fanned by its glow.

How agreeable it would have been to have a woman to love, an appropriate climax to a congenial evening.  Framed by the moonlight, the boy continued to stand, leaning toward the lantern, like a moth to the flame, his eyes mesmerized by the flame. From his angle lounging on the cot, Bernardino noticed the boy’s cream-colored shirt had flared outward as he stood there. The material was diaphanous enough that the lantern’s light revealed his naked chest. Bernardino smiled at the pretty picture it made, and then narrowed his eyes, looking again closely, as he sat up slowly, uncertain that what he saw was true.

The lantern had highlighted a pair of delicate breasts, whose outline was clear enough through the linen shirt. This was no boy; he saw the evidence. The breasts were small, but they were present. Had no one else in this English company noticed?  Men could be dense; he had seen how she had been treated as her costume defined her. A turmoil of feelings assaulted him at this revelation, the excitement of the mystery of her only heightening his stimulated senses.

He struggled to compose himself, to dampen his growing ardor, to quiet his racing mind. Had he been intrigued because some instinct told him of her true gender?  Whatever the mystical reasons, she must not guess he had seen her secret. Searching his mind for clues, he quickly surmised her subterfuge had been well hidden until now and that she was probably older than he had supposed.

What had caused this young woman to carry off this masquerade; was she possessed by some unusual traits, a woman who felt herself truly a man? Or was it simply an adventure she sought, a desire to break from the traditional female role in her society?  Did she feel he was a threat; was that why she had spilled the wine earlier? These turbulent thoughts raced through his mind in mere seconds.  

A JOB IN HOLLYWOOD BUT NOT IN THE MOVIES

Back in the 1960s, my first job in LA was as a typist in the secretarial pool for the Los Angeles Times. When it failed to lead to something more demanding and interesting, I began looking for another job. I didn’t get a college degree to go nowhere in the working world. I was hired as a service representative for AT&T, known then as “Ma Bell.” Life goes in circles. AT&T was a very powerful company in the 1950s and 60s: it was THE phone company. To insure it wouldn’t become a monopoly with too much power, it was split up. Didn’t take many years before the company regained its strength. It’s probably stronger than ever now with the word monopoly being used again.

Service Reps, as we were called, were always female then because of the nature of the job. Women are still known as the gender more talented at multi-tasking, although the current reps are also men. It was fast-paced telephone work—taking orders for new telephones, transferring service, handling complaints about bills, and collecting bills.  As we reps prepared for our Denial Prevention Calls, the DPC, we joked that we would inform the delinquent customer:  “This is the last voice you will hear on your telephone.”

Being located on Gower Street between Santa Monica and Sunset Boulevards in Hollywood was one of the best parts of the job. It was a different world, especially to me, the newbie. Although the area was primarily residential with small Spanish style homes and a few apartment buildings, the famous Studio Club, essentially a dormitory where aspiring actresses like Marilyn Monroe, Kim Novak, and Sharon Tate had stayed while looking for movie work, was a couple of blocks away. Up the street was Columbia Studios with its giant warehouse-size buildings. Most of us spotted various stars from time to time. I saw Dean Martin ride coolly down Gower on a motorcycle, and on another day I caught sight of the Monkees singing group coming out of an exclusive boutique.

Hollywood Studio Club for Women

 

When we weren’t brown-bagging it, we “girls” went to lunch at places where a star might eat. I liked French food and a few friends introduced me to Le Petit Café on Vine Street. It was a tiny hideaway run by a charming, handsome Frenchman, and the food was scrumptious. One day, Jim Nabors (Gomer Pyle on the Andy Griffith Show), who was seated with his friend Carol Burnett, treated us all to a few operatic bars of a song. Years later, I was introduced to him at the Beverly Hills Country Club where I was the editor of their magazine. Nabors, a very congenial Southerner who’d suffered a bout of poor health at that time, was wearing a bright lemon-colored sports coat. I think I told him about my first personal “concert.”

At Knight’s, a local coffee shop, I spotted the handsome Latin actor, Fernando Lamas, husband of Esther Williams, surrounded by his entourage. Feeling flush financially, a few of us had lunch once at the famous Brown Derby Hollywood (not the LA original in the shape of a derby hat). We were seated in a booth next to Cornel Wilde and the effervescent Mitzi Gaynor.

The phone company business office was on the second floor of a large two-story building–I believe it’s now a film company. We serviced most of the residential and business phone service in Hollywood, including the Sunset Strip, homes in the Hollywood Hills, and renowned restaurants on La Cienega’s Restaurant Row. We also took care of Fairfax Avenue, home to lots of retired folks pinching their pennies. They had a reputation for calling to quibble over a few cents for the “message units” charged on their bills. We often heard, “It’s not the money, it’s the principle.” Most of the time, we just adjusted the bill, and the adjustment could be less than ten cents. We never knew who’d be on the phone when we picked up: the son of Peter Lorre (Maltese Falcon) who sounded like his father, or Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., the dapper detective on TV’s “77 Sunset Strip.”

On the first floor was the public office, and the reps who worked downstairs always had amusing tales. People came in for phone service or to pay delinquent bills dressed in all sorts of outrageous outfits: men or women in trench coats, naked underneath; or women dressed in tight one-piece outfits that laced up the side, revealing bare skin from armpit to ankle. One of my friends came back from lunch one day to report she had seen an entire family (parents and two kids) walking down Hollywood Boulevard totally naked!

 

 

HISTORIC MOMENTS 50 YEARS AGO

Movie Stars Charlton Heston, James Baldwin, Marlon Brando and Sidney Poitier at March on Washington

 

The inauguration of Barack Obama this week happened on Martin Luther King Day. Besides being inspired by President Obama’s speech, the occasion brought back memories of summers spent working for the Government while I was attending the College of William and Mary. Washington was and still is an exciting place to work, especially in 1963 when John Kennedy was president. I was working at Washington National Airport, now Reagan, the summer of Martin Luther King’s famous March on Washington.

The March was scheduled for Saturday, August 28, 1963, and several of my bosses from the airport’s Operations department would be on duty. Many celebrities involved in the March would be landing at the private terminal of the airport. The fellows I worked for asked if I wanted to see movie stars, and I jumped at the chance to blend in with the celebrities, and I invited my good friend Harriet. In the early 60s, especially around Washington, women got dressed up for events and even shopping; it was a more formal time and T-shirts and jeans were not appropriate attire. Harriet and I knew exactly what to wear—high heels, stockings, and a dress. I don’t know if we wore hats; usually hats were for church.

California, where most of the famous folks were coming from, had been declared the home of “fruits and nuts.” As an Easterner, I was ignorant about almost everything but the term “Hollywood” and knowing somewhere out there was the magical Disneyland.  Harriet and I probably took along our white gloves, which were the ultimate extra touch when dressed up. I recall my three-inch-high beige heels, but I don’t remember the dress I wore. It was probably a sheath of some kind that looked business-like.

Harriet and I were very excited about the day, but had no idea what to expect as we climbed the stairs to the second floor lounge at the Butler Aviation terminal. It was full of people milling around, most of them casually dressed. I gawked as I saw a fully bearded Paul Newman, fresh from filming the comedy, What a Way to Go; he played an obsessed painter married to Shirley MacLaine. In the middle of the room was the handsome Sidney Poitier talking to Dianne Carroll.

One wall of the lounge was almost entirely glass and looked out upon the airfield. I walked toward the window to see if any planes with more stars would be landing. As I stood there in my heels, I felt tall and imposing—about 5’10” in my “spikes.”  Two diminutive black men walked over and stood on either side of me, neither of them taller than my breasts. On one side was the multi-talented actor-singer Sammy Davis, Jr.; on the other was renowned author James Baldwin. I tried to act nonchalant as they talked. I was probably too nervous to eavesdrop.

Not long afterward, someone announced a private plane from Southern California was landing and would soon be taxiing to the Butler Aviation gate. All of us were encouraged to go downstairs and outside to greet them. Harriet and I followed along and wondered who the new arrivals would be. While we were waiting, I overheard some cynic say, “Here come more of the fruits and nuts of Hollywood.”

Within minutes a small passenger plane taxied toward us, engine still roaring. I put my hands over my ears and looked up into the smiling face of Moses himself—Charlton Heston. “Loud, isn’t it?” he intoned with that unmistakable, powerful  voice. I beamed at him and nodded my head.

As he turned away, Harriet leaned in. “Can you believe that was Charlton Heston?” She was grinning with excitement.

The plane’s engines quit and the door opened. Men and women began to descend the stairs and I noticed how differently they were dressed—tanned women were wearing loose clothing with flashy jewelry; men were in white shoes and colorful shirts. Out the airplane door sauntered someone I knew from television: handsome James Garner. Photographers and reporters were there to cover the story and the dark-haired Garner didn’t disappoint. Right away he waved and played to the crowd, starting some fascinating repartee I no longer remember. But I couldn’t forget his charming easy smile.

A few years later when I moved to California and became part of that laid-back  lifestyle and sunny climate, I would remember my historical hint of things to come, courtesy of Dr. Martin Luther King. And I saw an older James Garner in person at a shopping center: he was asleep in an overstuffed chair, probably waiting for his wife.

THE SINGLES SCENE in SO CAL By Victoria Giraud

Is it the sunset of your life or a new beginning? 

I find it difficult to believe in “till death do us part.” The phrase was a part of my marriage vows, but 16 years later the marriage was over and I was nowhere near old age and so far had no deadly diseases. After I’d mourned the death of my marriage for about a year and realized that joint custody of my two children meant I had more freedom than I’d had in a long time, I decided it was time to explore the LA singles scene.

Bonnie, a younger single friend who was a guy magnet (blond and petite, what do you expect?) persuaded me to go to a local spot with lots of singles and live music. The 19th Hole was at the golf course but it was quite a swinging place after 8 p.m., and the crowd was mostly 35 and older. One of my first lessons: Just because he isn’t wearing a ring doesn’t mean he’s single. Lesson two: Everybody looks better and younger in dim lighting and after a couple of drinks. It works both ways; I’ll always remember a very young man, about 21, who was enchanted with me. I wasn’t ready to rob the cradle but was very flattered with the attention.

Dancing to live rock n’ roll made me feel very young again, almost as if I didn’t have children. There were some very good dancers among the patrons, and I considered myself a talented, enthusiastic dancer with lots of stamina. The music was too loud for intelligent conversation for the most part, unless you leaned in closely, waited for a band break or went outside.

The atmosphere was smoky; it was a few years before California banned smoking. Non-smokers were used to being in the minority. When I got home, I’d hang my stinky clothes outside and put baby powder on my hair to absorb the odor. Washing my hair was a complicated operation if I wanted a good night’s sleep.

Not far from the 19th Hole was a bar/restaurant with a thriving business and their Happy Hour featured tasty free appetizers. The lighting and lower noise level made it easier to make contact, whether you wanted a friend, a lover or to hear what the opposite sex had to say. Many of the same people showed up every Friday evening and the age range varied from 21 to 75 or so, an amazing combination. Occasionally, after 9 p.m., they would even have live music.

Although I loved dancing, a good conversation and lots of laughter were main attractions for me at this popular place. Besides observing the crowded scene, I made new friends and had many talks over politics, religion, books, relationships, etc. I met Dick Griffith, a charming former New York ad man (shades of TV’s current “Mad Men”) who had been a technical advisor in Africa for the ABC-TV series American Sportsman. A white-haired older gentleman, he loved to wear a loose colorful jacket that featured wild African animals and a wristwatch with a silver elephant surrounding the watch face. He amused his friends with his African adventures and the variety of famous and infamous people he’d known over the years.

Several years later I edited two books for Dick: Adam’s Horn, an adventure story set in Africa about the time of Idi Amin, and In the Hearts of Famous Hunters: a series of his personal interviews with hunters like Roy Rogers, astronaut Wally Schirra, ace jet pilot Chuck Yeager and LA Times publisher Otis Chandler.  When Dick’s book was published, we had a book party at this restaurant, and actor Robert Stack, one of the famous hunters interviewed, came to celebrate. I got to hug Stack and even had a photo taken, but never saw it.  One of Dick’s friends liked to call the actor Old Novocaine Lips since Stack usually looked so serious on TV or in movies. For this occasion, however, the actor managed a few grins.

Helping Dick edit his books was the seed that resulted in my many years of editing books of all kinds, something I still love to do.

The ocean may wash away the heart but you can draw a new one.

PERSONAL ADS — NOTHING NEW! By Victoria Giraud

When I first got divorced, more years ago than I care to count, exploring the dating scene was fascinating, even in the days it was done through personal ads in newspapers. Los Angeles had a thriving paper devoted to personal ads: The Singles Register. Meeting men through old-fashioned letter writing was a great way to begin. The same lies were exchanged then as they are nowadays online.

A sucker for imaginative writing, I learned a few lessons about truth or fiction when I answered an ad from a man who called himself handsome and a talented writer of energy and spirit. His ad claimed that trumpets would blare and cymbals would crash when he met the right woman. When we talked, he told me in a deep, sexy voice he lived in Redondo Beach and had a view of the Pacific Ocean. He owned some unusual decorations, like a six-foot long, hand-carved Polynesian alligator, but his prized possessions were a line drawing by Picasso and a Spanish bullfighter’s cape.

When I met him, I discovered he was much older than I’d thought (he hadn’t admitted his age). He had difficulty walking, was hunchbacked and had prostrate problems. He told me he wasn’t expecting Dolly Parton, and I took that as a compliment–I was in shorts and a low-cut blouse. His beach apartment balcony had an ocean view if you leaned over and squinted through the buildings in front of his. The treasured wooden alligator made walking difficult, but it was one of the few mementoes that had survived five marriages and lots of alimony.

Turned out he was a child psychiatrist, a rival of the famous Dr. Benjamin Spock of Baby and Child Care fame. My date had written five books and claimed he’d coined the term “parenting.” I did find a couple of his books in my local library afterward.

He bought lunch after showing me all his treasures, but it was a litany of his complaints about all his former wives. About thirty years older than I was at the time, he was looking for someone to take care of him and listen to all his misery. I wondered why I’d spent so much time listening to him. Was I too polite or just not savvy enough yet? I went home early and never heard from him again.

The most daring experience I had was flying to New Orleans to meet an Israeli biochemistry professor at Tulane University. He had read my ad and didn’t care that we were geographically challenged. We had several interesting conversations and after he’d seen my photo, he was convinced I was the one a psychic had said was perfect for him. He made good money, evidently, and wanted to fly me to New Orleans for a weekend. I felt he sounded trustworthy and I’d never been to the “Big Easy.” One of my girlfriends thought I was out of my mind, but agreed to keep an eye on my kids.

The professor was fairly recently divorced and had come to the States to forget his troubles with his former wife, who had custody of their children and had remained in Israel. He was polite for the most part and did show me around New Orleans, but after he’d shared all his anguish with me, he soon realized he’d made a mistake and wasn’t ready for any kind of relationship. I left a day early.

It seems my psychic reading of a few years before was coming true. This woman had told me that I would not leave any stone unturned in life. I hadn’t found the right stone yet, apparently.

WHITHER GOEST SEX…Milord…Milady? By Victoria Giraud

Sex may make the world go round and the population go up, but how do we approach it in writing? Gingerly or full bore? And yes, you can interpret that as you wish.

Sex affects us all in one way or another, obviously. We spend enough time figuring it out: what sexual preference does our invented character prefer, and can he/she or we be put so easily into the box (label) of heterosexual or homosexual or something in between? Didn’t Kinsey, and Masters & Johnson open the door to open-mindedness and acceptance? Yes and no. Consider the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy. Not to mention the Catholic priests’ scandals, etc. I won’t open that Pandora’s Box, but the subject of sex is always an attention getter.

I’m a person of mixed beliefs about sex and about sexually-oriented books, films, and TV, as I’ll wager most of us are. No tidy preferences for many of us; emotions can be jumbled. As a voracious reader, I can enjoy a book that hints at sexual dalliance as well as one with specifics. I’m not a prude but I can also be quite conservative. I speak or write more bravely than I act. I’ve seen a few porn films but prefer soft porn, which excites without being as explicit. That preference extends to books, for the most part. I’ve read the first two Fifty Shades of Grey books and while it was certainly titillating, I got tired of all the specifics. Perhaps I like more mystery to the process.

Yet, I wrote two fairly graphic sex scenes for my book, Melaynie’s Masquerade, and enjoyed the process. It was my first novel and my first attempt at a genuine sex scene. All the newspaper/magazine articles I wrote over the years steered clear of sex. Except one: when the Chippendales craze hit, I wrote about women attending a show featuring men dancing and stripping provocatively. Most of the female audience at one of these early shows responded with glee, then went up to the stage to tip the entertainers by inserting a bill into his skimpy underwear. Some fondled a favorite dancer and a few were rewarded with a kiss.

Since I was writing my article for a family weekly newspaper, I chose to keep it humorous and friendly. Besides, the whole act just hinted at what could happen. At that time there was no “full monty.”

As a child of the 50s, my sexual education was a definite mix. Don’t get pregnant was the big fear before the 60s ushered in free sex. As we learned in no time, nothing is free! Sexual diseases, the usual STDs and then AIDS, soon took over. I’ve been married and single and not always prudent, but I’ve escaped dire consequences. Experience, however, does provide an edge in writing about sexual subjects. Imagination goes only so far!

It’s fun to debate the issue: to write or not to write the sex scene. Not long ago I edited a highly sexual book and found it to be a pleasurable experience and sometimes stimulating. Despite finding it salacious when I first read a sample, I changed my mind when I discovered it was very humorous. It was written by a young math teacher in his 30s and he didn’t have outdated compunctions about sex. When I’d grown up, sex was a sinful thing to be hidden and whispered about. The majority of us were not so innocent but pretended we were pure. Lots of hypocrisy exists concerning sex and that will probably never change. I went through a time in college when I was asking girlfriends if they were still virgins! Hilarious now, (I wonder who was lying?) but some of us kept our virginity longer in the early 60s.

I admired Dave’s easy way of writing about his adventures; he’d already put them on a blog; in case you’re interested—www.daveglenn.com. His writing is quite explicit; he doesn’t mince words. And he didn’t treat himself as the stud king. He described his mistakes, his rejections, and the hilarious escapades from meeting all sorts of women, both young and older, in bars or online, as well as encountering foreign girls available on travels to Europe, Australia, etc.

Dave told me he thinks casual sex and having sex buddies is fine, if it’s done responsibly so that no one’s feelings are hurt. He’s not averse to masturbating but having the real thing is more fun. And he doesn’t need a commitment or marriage to sanctify his sexual urges.

Editing his book brought me up-to-date. My, my…Sex was treated as a perfectly natural part of life (Kinsey had thought so in the early part of the 20th century: wish I’d read him earlier!) Modern girls are just as anxious as guys to crawl into bed or wherever the assignation might be, despite emotional or sometimes physical risks. One night stands.

Sex may be freer and more open now in the Western World but, being humans, there are usually emotional strings of one sort or another, especially for women. I must conclude I’m still betwixt and between. At least many of us can read about sex these days without having apoplexy.

MESSAGES FROM BEYOND By Victoria Giraud

I believe the creative process is a mystical/magical one.  I often wonder where ideas come from. Common advice for writers: Write about what you know. But you don’t always know what you know until you sit in front of a computer or a pad of paper. Or take a walk, go for a swim or perhaps even clean your home to stir up ideas and inspirations.

I’ve noticed when I’m in the process of editing books, or writing blog posts, I’m open to connections/coincidences/synchronicity, call it what you want. While I was editing the book, the Religion of Money—a light-hearted history of economics by Frederick (a pen name)—I experienced a momentary synchronicity as I was reading over the story of the De Medici family of Florence, Italy. Giovanni De Medici was mentioned in the book; not two seconds later my favorite classical music station announced the opera “Don Giovanni” was scheduled in L.A.

If I’m casually watching TV while browsing through a magazine or newspaper, the same kind of thing happens. I’ll read about a certain subject and have it verbalized in some manner on a TV show immediately after, or vice versa. My daughter and I keep in close touch by phone and Email. If I’m thinking about her, there’s a good chance the phone will ring. I know it’s her before I even check the number. From what I’ve heard from friends, that’s quite ordinary for many of us.

My mother passed on 39 years ago. That morning I was reading a biography of Thomas Jefferson (coincidentally an alum of my alma mater, William & Mary), and had just read about the death of Jefferson’s wife, Martha, Sally Hemings’ older half-sister. I was absorbing that sad historical news when my dad called to say my mother had died during a kidney dialysis treatment.  I’ve always felt my reading gave me a sort of preview and helped me deal with my mother’s devastating death just a little better. Jefferson, my mother and I are all Virginia natives, ironically enough.

Books dealing with metaphysical subjects are a definite attraction for me, and I’m lucky to have edited several of them. High Holy Adventure by R. Alan Fuller is a true story about his mystical experiences with shamans, spirits and mediums, especially in the Andes. Euphoria Zone by Alan Lee Breslow weaves innovative healing techniques into his spiritual adventure. Pat Sendejas wrote Letting Go to Create a Magical Life, which discusses life’s synchronicities and invisible messages. Working with all three authors was enlightening and exciting.

Was my book predicted?

In the mid 80s I had a psychic reading with a woman named Terry, who was supposed to be quite intuitive and knowledgeable in her field. I asked her if I were going to write a book, figuring it might be an emotional story about my divorce, which had recently happened.  Terry said her spiritual “guides” had told her I would write something about voyages. She didn’t know what that meant, she told me; perhaps it had to do with my “voyage” through life.

I forgot about the reading until the late 90s when I was finishing up my novel. It was, indeed, about a voyage. My fictional heroine, Melaynie, masquerades as a captain’s boy, and sails with English hero Francis Drake to the Caribbean!

And then there’s Karen, my intuitively psychic friend with lots of talents. She’s predicted some incredible things for me, some I’ve lived or am living through. Where does the information come from? That’s another long story.

To check out my books on Amazon, follow the link AMAZON PUBLICATIONS by VICTORIA GIRAUD at the top of this blog.

 

Cars–blessing or curse? By Victoria Giraud

Many American and British military brought their cars to Libya in the 1950s. I’d never before seen the variety of British cars zooming around Tripoli streets. My dad was a Ford man and our 1952 white Ford convertible was shipped over. He took it to the Corps of Engineers office at Wheelus Air Force Base and my mother drove it occasionally. As a young teenager then, cars were not my first concern, besides, I was in a foreign country and too young for a license.

One weekend day, my brother, sister and I had a little adventure when Mom had taken us on some kind of errand.  She parked the car on a sloping street that led down to Tripoli’s harbor while she got out to talk to a friend.  My brother, about four at the time, and my nine-year-old sister were sitting in the back seat; I was in the front passenger seat. No one was paying attention when my little brother, typically curious at that age, climbed over the driver’s seat and decided the handbrake looked enticing. He’d probably seen my mother use it so he pulled at it. It released and we started gliding backward, a little faster each second. I’ll never forget seeing my mother frantically running toward us, as if she could somehow grab hold of the car. I’d never paid attention to the mechanics of driving, but some instinct kicked in while my brother sat frozen in the driver’s seat, wondering what was happening.

I reached for the steering wheel and turned it. Voila, the car backed toward the sidewalk and soon stopped. We hadn’t even hit a person or another car, and my mother was spared any further anguish. I wonder what my mother told my father afterwards. Army officers aren’t know for being easygoing!

Ron, a Brit who had been a teenager in Tripoli at the same time I lived there, shared an hilarious story of his own regarding his family’s Morris convertible (or as the Brits call it—a softop).  He told me their family villa had a modern sanitation system: flush toilets, sinks and showers that drained into an underground concrete septic tank situated adjacent to their front door.

“The lid of the tank made an excellent place to park the car as the top was flush to the sand. One morning we awoke to the terrible smell of raw sewage. My parents assumed, as had happened before, that the pipes to the septic tank had backed up and required clearing.” The family went about their morning routines anyway, but when Ron’s father went out the front door to go to work (Royal Air Force) he was flabbergasted by the sight and voiced his anger with a variety of curse words as he called to his wife to come and check it out. Ron recalled: “We all rushed out and saw our beloved Morris 1000 buried nose first in excrement. The concrete lid had collapsed overnight, and the car had dropped into the half-full septic tank.”

A car should never “go to waste” (my pun), and local Libyans were happy to extricate the car and clean it. Ron’s mother had other ideas and vowed “she would never again step foot in the car, so it was driven away by the locals, never to be seen again.”

Morris 1000 and other British cars in the background. Notice the license plate in Arabic.

I welcome short contributions about life in Tripoli for this blog. Get in touch with me if anyone is so inclined.

US ARMY LIFE IN MY EBOOKS ON AMAZON By Victoria Giraud

Would you like to read an interesting and absorbing story about a military family? Dysfunctional, like most everybody’s family.

As a military brat, I didn’t have to look far for inspiration and source material for this story. Is it truth or fiction? That’s left up to the reader.  From my observations and reading, I know that soldiers, both officers and enlisted men, returned from World War II and Korea with emotional and mental wounds besides the physical ones. Families–the wives and children–suffered from the resulting abusive behavior of veterans returning from war. This story reveals how one daughter made the best peace she could, considering her own feelings and emotional wounds.

 

Check me out on Amazon. The price can’t be beat:

Victoria Giraud

Colonels Don’t Apologize can be found at:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B06SQB82E

Another good read is my memoir of life in Tripoli, Libya, in the 1950s. World War II was over and the world could breathe again for a while. Libya was ruled by King Idris, and the US Military held sway at strategic Wheelus Air Force Base. Attending high school amidst sand and palm trees, camels and donkeys, in a small cosmopolitan city along the Mediterranean was about as unique and full of contrasts as an American teen could get in the mild 1950s.

American teenagers sported jeans while Libyan women were covered from head to foot. Americans brought their cars; most Libyans rode bicycles. Despite the differences, East and West cohabited peacefully. It’s a new century but the American military remains in these exotic areas of the world. Last month, a new Libyan magazine, KALAM, published a section of the book below. I was honored to be published in Libya and in English.

It’s on Amazon at  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B006/R0RQRM

 

 

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