Her hair was brown and curly, her wardrobe elegant, Rock Hudson, Ray Burr, Gene Kelly right by her side. Flashbulbs were popping all around her, reporters were shouting her name. She smiled and bowed a little, then blew a kiss at them like Marilyn.
“Lilli, it’s time to sleep.” Her mother’s voice cut in before Lilli could accept her Oscar with tears in her eyes.
“Just one more minute,” Lilli moaned from under the blanket, unwilling to let go of a moment she loved to rehearse over and over again.
“It’s a school night.” Her mother was relentless and pointed to the pictures of Liz Taylor and Barbara Stanwyck on the nightstand. “If you want to look like that when you are older, you need your beauty sleep,” she said and reached for the magazines and other clippings to clear the bed and do away with Lilli’s fantasy.
Grabbing her book before her mother could take it, Lilli stuffed it under her pillow to hold on to her dream and soak up the memories of the person who wrote it.
“Whatever is it about that book Granny gave you?”
“It’s about Katharine Hepburn.” Lilli beamed. “With lots of pictures.”
“Of course,” her mother sighed and tucked the quilt in for the night. “I really don’t know where that Hollywood nonsense is coming from. All that glamor and ballyhoo. You definitely didn’t get that from me.”
“I wanna be famous when I grow up,” Lilli announced rather than answered, her eyes wide and dreamy.
Her mother wrinkled her forehead. “We’ll see about that,” she said, pulled the blanket a little tighter around Lilli and finally placed a kiss onto her forehead.
“I’m serious,” Lilli insisted. “I wanna be popular and pretty.”
“Wouldn’t you rather be educated and smart?” Her mother’s voice was soft with a dash of stern, her gaze sincere and warm.
“Oh sure,” Lilli agreed. “But when you’re famous, you are protected.”
“Protected from what?” Her mother queried with a little smile that couldn’t hide her confusion.
“Accidents and illness,” Lilli replied with a shrug. “Bad stuff.”
“Fame doesn’t protect you from that. There are a lot of famous people who had to face a tragic demise.”
“Like who?” Lilli asked, a deep furrow between her eyes.
“Oh, James Dean for example,” her mother returned. “He wasn’t even twenty-five. Or Grace Kelly.”
“That doesn’t count,” Lilli sank back into her pillow with a smirk. “I don’t wanna be that kind of famous.”
“Ah, I see.” Her mother chuckled. “And what kind of famous do you want to be?”
“The good kind,” Lilli replied. Clearly, it was the most logical answer in the world.
published 28 November 2012