Who among my readers remembers a late 60’s, early 70’s television show called “Love American Style”? As I recall it aired on Friday nights and usually consisted of two or three comedy sketches about dating, love and/or marriage.
The first season, the show’s theme song was performed by The Cowsills. I had a huge crush on the drummer, John Cowsill, who currently tours with The Beach Boys.
(That’s John, bottom right, next to sister Susan. Brother Barry on Susan’s left, died tragically in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.Bob and Bill round out the picture, but don’t ask me which is which.)
I watched the show each week mainly to hear the Cowsills sing the theme song. For some reason unknown to me the group was replaced in subsequent seasons, but I continued to watch because I was a teenaged girl trying to figure out relationships. In that regard it was likely more a hindrance than a help.
A few future stars had roles on the show, most notably, Harrison Ford. Oddly enough, I also developed a crush on him many years later. Actually it was more of a thing I had for characters he played, namely Han Solo and Indiana Jones, and not Harrison himself.
In a perfect world I’d have kissed Han Solo while listening to the Cowsills sing the theme song. Or not.
Science fiction/fantasy is my favorite genre by far. Nothing thrills me like blasting into hyper space or exploring the terrain of a new world from the safety of my own home.
I just finished the novel, The Three-Body Problem by China’s premier science fiction author, Cixin Liu. I’d love to tell you I read it in the original Chinese, but I only know how to say, not spell, “thank you” in Mandarin. The Three-Body Problem was not light reading, at least not for me. There was all this math-y and science-y stuff. I’m trying to decide if I’m woman enough to tackle the sequels. Three-Body provides a spectacularly different view into Chinese culture, so after a brain break I’m sure I’ll return to the impending Trisolarus invasion.
Before Liu’s book, I’d immersed myself in the works of John Scalzi whose Old Man’s War series is a must read for scifi fans. Scalzi’s wit, I suspect, could make a rewriting of the U.S. Tax Code into a pleasurable evening of reading, and I recommend it to everyone, not just those into the genre.
Hugh Howey is another scifi writer I’ve become attached to. Not literally because Howey might have me arrested, but his Wool Omnibus is incredibly entertaining, and deals with intriguing social issues. If you suffer from claustrophobia, be warned. The characters don’t get out much.
Now anyone who’s still with me might wonder what in heaven’s name all this has to do with the post’s title, “Saving the Cowsills.” As a preteen one of my all-time best friends who I’ll call LA, and I were obsessed with brothers John and Barry Cowsill of the family singing group the Cowsills, upon whom The Partridge Family TV series was based.
We could tell you darned near anything you wanted to know about the brothers: Eye color, height, birth dates, likes, dislikes, etc. One of the highlights of our young lives was getting to meet our idols after a concert in Canyon, Texas.
At a recent reunion LA gave me a book entitled, I Think I Love You, and insisted that I read it. Sure, I said, thinking it was the last thing a scifi fangirl like me wanted to read, but after tackling The Three-Body Problem my brain truly needed a rest. I picked up LA’s book and dove in. And began giggling like a preteen schoolgirl.
Written by Allison Pearson, of I Don’t Know How She Does It fame, I Think I Love You perfectly captures the mindset of a young teenaged girl infatuated with a rock idol, in this case David Cassidy of The Partridge Family. The book’s heroine, Petra, is obsessed with David Cassidy, whom I’d always assumed was an amalgam of John and Barry Cowsill. Ah ha!
I’m not a particularly speedy reader, so I’m savoring the awkwardness and self-consciousness of Petra in something akin to a slow motion retro film. She’s me at 13. She’s pretty much every girl at 13, with the exception of those who somehow seemed to be in on the whole joke from the beginning.
I owe LA a big hug and a thank you for lending me I Think I Love You. It’s been more than a brain break. It’s been a refreshing swim in a pool of Cowsill-stocked memories. One thought goes out to my idol: John Cowsill, we’d have been so very good together.
I look forward to finding out just what becomes of Petra’s obsession with her hero. He’d best not disappoint her!
Almost every person I know has had a close encounter with a celebrity. Studly Doright once met Patrick Swayze. According to Studly, Mr. Swayze was short of stature. I think Studly was trying to negate the star’s charms.
I almost met Jamie Fox in a back hallway of Caesar’s Palace, but my friends hustled me away before I did something embarrassing.
Other than that my biggest celebrity encounter was the time Dallas Cowboy greats Walt Garrison and Bob Lilly flew into Floydada, Texas, to campaign for some forgettable politician.
The men autographed a football for me. I was 12 at the time and promised to never let that football out of my sight. Somehow my younger brothers found it and left it outside where the autographs faded to nothing.
I also met the Cowsills family rock group at a restaurant in Levelland, Texas. You may laugh, but that was a big deal to me. My friend, LA should have hustled me away before I embarrassed myself. I did end up with autographs from John and Barry (eeeee!) as well as two buttons and and a nickel in exchange for my green ink pen. That Barry (may he rest in peace) was a shrewd horse trader.
What brought up this topic today? I’m sitting in the outside dining area of Gordo’s Restaurant (where one can get lei’d every Friday night) certain that US representative Gwen Graham is seated a table away from me. I really wish a friend was here to hustle me away. “Hey Gwen! I voted for you!”