December 6, 2008


When I was a little kid I met quite a few celebrities. My mom worked as a waitress for a very posh hotel in Tucson, Arizona, called the Spanish Trail. A lot of famous people stayed at the hotel while they worked in the area. Many western movies were filmed in Old Tucson, which was only miles away.
On more than one occasion I met the cast of the High Chaparral and Bonanza. Dan Blocker, Michael Landon and Lorne Green -- these people were all friends and family. My mom, Gerda, was surprising popular among this crowd. They insisted that she wait on them whenever they went in to eat. Mom was particularly star struck by the guys in the High Chaparral. She liked Adam from Bonanza, but she really liked the guy who played Blue in High Chaparral.
Great legends like John Wayne, Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin were known to frequent the place. James Arness was one of my dad’s favorites. At night, when the temperature cooled down and the sun set, the nightclub would open up. I remember seeing acts like Ernie Menehune singing “Tiny Bubbles” and the famous Ink Spots. I saw a lot of different performers while my mom worked there, but I don’t remember any of them any more.

We spent a lot of time at the Spanish Trail as I was growing up. My mom befriended most of these people. They all knew each other on a first name basis.
One particular person we saw a lot of was a young lady named Charo. She spent a lot of time with my mom. I remember that because she was always talking and laughing. And there was this Cuchi-Cuchi Coo thing that she always did. And she was very, very loud. And no matter what was going on, she never seemed to stop moving. I liked her a lot. My mom and Charo got along great. Sometimes she came to our house for dinner.


There were many times out at the Trail when they would sit at the pool while we kids went swimming. I was pretty young because I remember we were always in the kiddie pool. And when we got in the big pool we just hung on to the edge as we treaded water.
My mom and Charo would sit in lounge chairs next to the water and talk up a storm.
I remember one day while I was sitting in Charo’s lap, something came over me and I felt like I needed to say something clever. Something Big. Something Profound. I looked at her and I finally said the first thing I could think of. As I looked at her face I noticed her cheeks were bright red and I thought that I should tell her.

And so I said,”You have big Chiches.”

I thought about how stupid that sounded, because what I meant to say was Red. "You have Red cheeks."

And so Charo – the Charo, the voluptuous Latin Charo -- thanked me as I walked away.

I had no idea I had just told her she had big breasts.


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