LONDON 2012 AUGUST 6, 2012
I have been impatiently waiting for the Olympics to begin inLondon, and now that they have begun, they may very well be the end of me. My regular routine has been up-ended — much too late in getting to bed at night because my eyes are glued to the TV trying to soak in as much as possible, not wanting to miss the events I adore.
I don’t want to miss Misty and Kerri on the “beach,” nor Michael Phelps and Missy Franklin staying afloat in the pool, nor the gymnastic Golden Five with all the tears — and I cry right along with them. Nor do I want to miss the Equestrian Events. One of the ladies was thrown off her mount today, so that shook me up.
After the first 3 days, I was never more confused. I had all these schedules for the events, and trying to figure out where and when I could view them was really a mess. While shuffling through all the information (?) I probably missed some of the events I was bent on watching. All those stations on the TV were giving me fits. To figure out where MSNBC, CNBC, NBCSN were, well, I knew where NBC is at 606, but what about those I have just mentioned plus NBCOLYMPICS, NBCOLYMPICB; then there’s BRAVO AND TELEMUNDO. Whew!!! I ran into one with the call letters #&@!* — maybe when I was a little cross-eyed from lack of sleep and overuse of schedules. It’s only Day 8, and I have lost 4 (yes, that’s four) nights of sleep. Talk about a walking zombie —
I’ve been dozing a lot between checking the schedule and actually watching an Event. The other day while flat out on the davenport, unknown to me I was catching a few z-z-z-s. So what happened? I dozed right through Michael Phelps’ 19 0r 20th Gold Medal swim, but I did wake up in time for “Call the General” (a Coachella Valley Air conditioning company.) That should frost me good.
I go bonkers when I surf around only to find the very same soccer game on 2 different stations at the same time. I just do not have the time to watch soccer, and I know there are plenty of other events going on which could be shown. I thought of calling our local NBC affiliate to ask if they knew what was going on, but I changed my mind when I realized I might “lose it” while talking to them and giving them some of my ill-advised advice — there are times I should be listening, even if I can’t hear what’s being said, instead of talking.
Now, here I am on Sunday, the 9th day, and I was quite impressed that NBC deigned to show some equines jumping over the hurdles. This came on hours after it was scheduled to appear. Still no Dressage Event yet, and that is the epitome of the Equestrian Events — it’s what I love the most.
Somehow, I will get through this Olympiad — I managed about 6 hours of sleep the last 2 nights so that was a big plus.
I am 94 years old right now. The following story took place exactly 80 years ago when I was 14. Hope you will enjoy……….
August 5, 2012
THE YEAR WAS 1932
The year was 1932. I was 14 years old, and a lot of stuff was happening that year. My idol, Amelia Earhart, the famous aviatrix, flew the Atlantic solo, the first woman to do so. Sadly, Charles and Ann Morrow Lindberg’s baby son was kidnapped and murdered. Then there was Mahatma Ghandi going on a hunger strike. Gas was 10¢ a gallon, and there were 13 million Americans unemployed.
But by far, the biggest thing to happen to me in my world was having the 1932 Olympics coming to my back yard in Los Angeles. The plans and the building of the venues were monumental tasks. New buildings such as the Coliseum, which would be the site for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies and the Track and Field Events; and the Aquatic Stadium nearby were phenomenal structures.
The theme was Early California, and members of the old Spanish families who still had their horses with the silver trappings worth thousands of dollars (and who would still be able to stay on the horse) were invited to be a part of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies Parades. Western Costume Co. in Hollywood designed and tailored the costumes. They were gorgeous charro suits: black velvet riding pants, a white shirt with narrow black tie, a short red velvet jacket and a handsome black felt hat. I was thrilled that my favorite uncle Titán (John O. Forster, whose wife was Mae Marshall Forster) was included in this group. He would ride his beloved, huge white stallion, who was known to buck me off every time I tried to mount him. That horse and I never did get along, and I finally gave up trying to ride him when I was 8 or 10 years old.
There were several trips into Los Angeles from San Juan Capistrano for fittings at Western Costume, and when it was time for tickets to be purchased, you can imagine how excited I was when my Aunt Mae asked me what events I wanted to see. It was a foregone conclusion that we would be seeing all we could of the Equestrian Events at Riviera Country Club. That alone would have sufficed since I was always interested in those events: the jumping, and especially the Dressage Event. It is the most spectacular to me – the rider and the animal acting as one performing the beautiful maneuvers.
I was always around horses from my earliest days. Titán was a great horseman, and actually trained horses for his friends. We would drive on Sundays to see polo games in Los Angeles at the Willowick Country Club and to the Polo Field in Montecito. On other Sundays we would drive south to Tijuana where the Agua Caliente race track was going full bore, and there was also the Casino and Spa nearby where we would visit after the races.
Now let’s get back to the Olympics. My choices for events that I wanted to see were Swimming and Diving, as many as we could work in, and one day of Track and Field.
Opening Day finally arrived, and there we were at the Coliseum seated on the south side 50 yard line. The Best! The Ceremonies commenced, the parade of athletes came through the big tunnel at the west end of the stadium, and when all the Spanish caballeros entered in their striking costumes and on their beautiful horses, with the silver bridles and saddles, I couldn’t have been more thrilled and so very proud of my Spanish heritage. I cannot tell you how many riders there were. In my memory – which could have gone south by now – it was a huge amount, and it may have been 200 or 400. Who knows? Maybe only 50.
After the Ceremonies, back to San Juan. In those days, the drive was not all that stressful, and it did not take as long as it does these days with all the freeways. My memory does serve me right on this particular important piece of information.
Then we took in all the events that we had planned on. Several days were spent at Riviera Country Club watching the beautiful horses and the brilliant riders. That left the events which were my choices. Swimming and Diving have always been my favorites in the Olympics, so we spent several days in the new Olympic Aquatic Stadium, and I was happy as a little clam; then we took in the Field and Track activities in the Coliseum for one day (still seats on the 50-yard line,) where I could get my fill of watching Babe Didrickson, a sports phenom if there ever was one. She won the gold in Javelin and Hurdles that day, but was DQ’d in the High Jump.
The Closing Ceremonies, beautiful as they were, came and went (the Spanish Horsemen rode again – no one fell off) and there it was: a life-long memory laid out for me. All this took place during the summer between my freshman and sophomore years at Fullerton Union High School. It was one of my most favorite summers — among so very, very many.
A 2012 AFTERTHOUGHT: PLEASE NOTE IN THESE OLDEN, GOLDEN DAYS OF 1932, WESTERN COSTUME IN HOLLYWOOD, CA USA WAS THE CHOICE FOR UNIFORMS.