Laura Elvebak – The Story Behind the Fiction

The DancerI always wanted to be a writer but first I was a dreamer and a reader. My taste tended toward great adventures and romance. War and Peace, Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, Little Women, Nancy Drew mysteries. I fell in love with the heroes in the Frank Yerby and Sidney Sheldon books. I yearned to escape into those worlds and live with adventure and romance. I wanted to write big stories like those. Every night when I went to bed, I dreamed up a story to be continued the next night. There would be previews first, a taste of what was to come.

I read books on writing, attended university classes, and attended workshops. One lesson declared, “write what you know.” Great. I didn’t know anything. Like most teenagers I didn’t want to grow up to be normal like my almost invisible and boring parents and their friends. To be a writer, I must experience adventure and romance so I could write about them.

That’s how I met my six husbands. That’s how I got to ride on the back of a motorcycle and participate in a documentary with the Hell’s Angels. It’s why I chose a bus ride to Canada to see a motorcycle race instead of staying in college. It’s why I became a go-go dancer to support myself and my daughter.

Continue reading “Laura Elvebak – The Story Behind the Fiction”

Advertisements

BEYOND THE CANDELABRA – LIBERACE AND ME

I was sixteen and already somewhat of a rebel. We lived in Los Angeles, and I attended school with children of movie stars. Nancy Sinatra was two years ahead of me. I had already transferred to Hamilton High from University High, where Nancy attended and brought her famous father to the prom. Our school was lucky to have a prom because of rich, unruly teens. Our trip to Knotts Berry Farm was the last of an annual tradition, because of a few reckless students.

I belonged to the youth group at the First Baptist church. We had fun like any other teenagers. Beach parties at night were frequent in the summer. One night a group of us went driving around in the car belonging to one of the older boys. We were bored and looking for entertainment out of the ordinary.

We drove up Mulholland Drive in the hills of West L.A. I’d been there before. It was a favorite parking spot for couples. The view of the city was spectacular and we felt far enough away from the noise and traffic to feel secluded.

We were almost at the top when we noticed Liberace’s house. Hard to miss with the lighted piano hovering over the house. We stopped and stared wordlessly for a moment. Then someone had an idea. A dare. They dared one of us to go up to the door and when Liberace answered, ask him the time.

Usually I was the shy and observant type. But tonight I wanted to show off to the others and prove I was just as brave as any of them.  “I’ll do it,” I told the others. To my surprise, they were not as enthusiastic as I’d hoped. They seemed a little afraid. But I hopped out of the car and strode resolutely to the front of the house.

I rang the doorbell. No answer. I rang again. I heard the car engine roar. My friends were getting nervous. They yelled at me to come back. I rang a third time.

The door opened. A distinguished gentleman stood there, looking curiously at me. I knew right away it wasn’t Liberace. I swallowed and said in a loud voice. “I need to know  what time it is.”

He glanced beyond me to the car. Then he smiled and invited me inside. Without a glance behind me, I followed him in. He introduced himself as George, Liberace’s brother. Liberace wasn’t home, regretfully. Then he took me into the beautifully furnished living room and showed me a large grandfather clock. I noted the time. I don’t remember what it was. But definitely late. After eleven.

“Is there anything else?” he  asked. He was so pleasant and agreeable, never chastising me for interrupting his evening or for being rude. I don’t know how Liberace would have acted, but probably the same. George was polite, friendly and the perfect gentlemen.

I went back to the car amid taunts and rolls of laughter as we drove away. But I’ll never forget my brush with fame at the home of Liberace.

I’ve been more reckless since and I’ve let my curiosity follow to its end. I think that one incident in my youth taught me that celebrities were only people. It also taught me to dare to be different and follow a dream.

Reflections on Life

I often wonder what my life would have been like if I always lived near my parents, made choices with them in mind, and always went to them when I needed help. I doubt I’d be the woman I am today.

Times were different as a new adult in the sixties, but not as different as you’d think. The economy wasn’t great, drugs were easily accessible, the job market uneasy. If I depended on my parents, I would never have been a dancer, or had six great loves, lived in six different states, and had all the adventures a writer needed for future plots. I learned to be self-sufficient. I learned what it meant to be me.

I explored. I had great pain and great joy. I never looked back, always forward. Mostly I was intent on survival. Think what would happen today if you went to a new city with only ten dollars in your pocket. No parents around to beg money from. Suppose you also had a child to support. If you’re lucky, you had someone who took you in until you could get a job to make you completely self-sufficient. Maybe one job wouldn’t be enough.Two or three might do. You wouldn’t take advantage of another person’s generosity, no matter what the temptation. The goal is to be independent and not have to rely on anyone but yourself.

It’s easy to blame the economy, the government, society, corporations. I never had time to blame anyone but myself if I strayed on a rose colored path. I never had time to do anything but survive and live with total abandon, look for the open door, listen for knock of opportunity, and pick myself up when I fell.

Would I have had the life I had if I’d stayed at home with family, knowing they would be watching everything I did? On the other hand, I love my children, love having them live close to me. Yet, sometimes I wonder how different their lives might have been.