Michele Brings Us Up to Date

May 29th, 2011

I limited the Pleasure Fair pieces to the band’s beginning, mainly because I wasn’t sure how much patience you would all have.

But now Michele has written a piece to bring us all up to the present day, and she says it’s okay for me to share it with you, so here it is.

*

Now that I’ve faced my greatest fear, which happens to be committing my thoughts to paper, perhaps you all would like to know what’s happened to me since the Pleasure Fair dissolved.

I left in the summer of ’67.  And as stupid as it sounds, I left because everything those days seemed to revolve around younger girls. Esquire’s cover ran a beautiful girl in a trash can under the title “So you’re 21 now” and I was, my God, 22.  (The guys in the band were dating 16 yr olds.)

Anyway, to make a long story even longer, after touring for four months in a musical I was asked to go on “The Dating Game.”  At that time anyone who was a member of AFTRA was paid $700.00. So I went, I chose from three men, and the prize was a first class trip around the world! I ended up marrying the man I chose, three months after the trip. His name was Murray Roman and he was a writer/ comedian on the Smother’s Brother’s Show.

I continued to act but my heart was never in it. I wanted to have a “normal” family. So five years after we married, I had a daughter and Murray was killed in an auto accident 15 days after she was born.

I say this not to gain your sympathy but to tell you nothing is ever “normal.”

Two years later I met and married Lou Shaw. He created the show “Quincy” for those of us who remember that far back.

We had a little girl with Down syndrome and my life totally changed.

I still sing occasionally. Mainly I have become a counselor, speaker and lobbyist for people with developmental disabilities. I have had the honor of pushing for actors with disabilities to play people with disabilities. No more June Lockhart in a wheelchair.

To bring it back to the Pleasure Fair, I will never forget growing up with these guys. As I said before, it was the first wonderful adventure of a life full of adventure.

This piece touched me pretty deeply, in part because I know how Michele plays down the difficulties she faced.  She was, and is, a class act.

And by the way, just to clarify one thing.  Those 16-year-old girls we were dating?  We went on to marry two of the three of them, and the third is still a friend, so it wasn’t quite as bad as it sounds.

The thing I promised to talk about tomorrow will have to be postponed — not because I’m being cute but simply because it’s not ready to announce.  Later this week, though — I promise.

18 Responses to “Michele Brings Us Up to Date”

  1. Usman Says:

    Hello Michele,
    Nothing is normal in life.
    That is one of the best lines I’ve read about real life, and that we all learn one way or the other.
    Thank you for being so candid and open, in a public forum. Takes some courage.

  2. Malcolm Searles Says:

    Thank you Michele – and it was truly a pleasure for me to talk with you recently. Hope you stay in touch with everyone …
    Warmest Regards from the UK …

  3. Sylvia Says:

    This is beautiful, Michelle. Such a poignant story of how you changed and grew to meet the challenges of your life.

  4. Peg Brantley Says:

    I love reading about a strong woman with a passion.

    Thanks, Michele.

  5. EverettK Says:

    Thanks for sharing some of your life with us, Michele! Tim tries to put on a show of class, but it’s mostly what rubs off from those around him, 🙂 and you’re at the front of the class!

  6. Stephen Cohn Says:

    Michelle – I’m just glad that we found you after trying on and off for years. I agree with the comments above; you do have a poignant and powerful story and you’ve handled it with grace – you are a class act.

  7. tom Logan Says:

    Tim, you have amazing and wonderful friends. It is no wonder you have survived. Thanks all for sharing.

  8. Timothy Hallinan Says:

    Hi, all —

    What can I say, other than that I agree with all you’ve said, I’m with you about Michele’s courage and class. Usman, living in Pakistan, has had his own life lessons about nothing being normal, and that was one of the things I took away most strongly from the piece, too.

    Not to single you all out — Michele may want to do that when/if she responds — but thanks, Tom. I have been blessed in my friends, even when we were angry at each other.

    and with Tom about how we

  9. Pat Browning Says:

    These stories are great. Somebody should put them in a book.
    Pat Browning

  10. Lil Gluckstern Says:

    What a poignant story. You certainly have had challenges to face, and it sounds as though you manage them with courage and strength. What a wonderful group of friends you all are.

  11. Suzanna Says:

    Hi, Michele

    Thank you for sharing your life story. It is always inspiring for me to hear stories like yours. Despite life experiences that must have been deeply challenging for you, you have made remarkable contributions to help others in need. That is a life well-lived in my book. Thanks again for sharing your story and for giving so generously to others.

  12. John Lindquist Says:

    Thank you, Michele.

    Your story brings to mind a short essay titled “Welcome to Holland” which I almost have memorized. Life’s lessons indeed.

    Looking back and reconsidering career and other life choices that would have been supposedly “better” may do one no good. So much that continues to be challenging and interesting would be missed. (This from someone who’s gone from having hair blowing in the breeze to hairs blowing in the breeze.)

    All four of you continue to be a class act. 🙂

  13. Michele Says:

    Thank you all for your kind response. You’ve touched my heart in a place where there’s simply no more words.

  14. Michele Says:

    John,

    Thank you John. “Welcome to Holland” is one of my favorite stories too. It was written by Emily Kingsley, a dear friend and and fellow advocate. I wish we all could look at life’s challenges in just a little different way…you never know, there might be a wonderful surprise waiting down the road.

  15. Michele Says:

    By the way, Emily’s son Jason was the first acter with Down syndrome to star in an episode of the “Fall Guy” written by my husband, Lou, called “The Winner”
    He was truly a winner!

  16. Larissa Says:

    To echo the others, thank you for sharing a part of yourself with us-things never work out quite the way we think they will but as you’ve shown-it’s possible to turn those instances into something truly great. (c:

  17. Robb Royer Says:

    Wonderful work, Michelle. Never fear writing again.
    By the way, Tim. WE didn’t marry two of the girls. I married them. At different times of course.

  18. Timothy Hallinan Says:

    This has been a great experience. Michele originally sent me her piece only because she was trying to post it as a response and CAPTCHA wouldn’t let her. Most people don’t check back to a response thread forever and ever, especially since the site doesn’t inform them when a new reply has been posted, so I’m really happy that CAPTCH got snarky so I could put this up as a post.

    Thanks again, Michele, and I’d say you have nothing to worry about when it comes to writing things down and making it public.

    Robb, it’s true that what I wrote was only grammatically true, as opposed to actually true, but, I thought it pulled out some of the sting. And I also married a woman who had once been sixteen years old. So there.

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