Chapter Nine: Stepping Out on Faith


     When I returned to the Bay Area in August of 1989 with my son to make Los Angeles my permanent home, I was met with a rude awakening.

     Joe Turner’s Come and Gone had run from March until June of that year at the Los Angeles Theatre Center (LATC) to sold out houses. It had attracted celebrities, agents casting directors, producers and loyal theatergoers. It had been one of the most successful and talked about runs during the Spring of 1989. In its previous run at ACT in San Francisco, it also broke box office records at ACT.

      In those wonderfully full, unpredictable and exciting months, I landed three small film roles, received invitations to meet with casting directors for “general interviews” and auditioned with some of Los Angeles’ best.

     Naively, I expected the carpet ride would continue upon my summer return to make Los Angeles my permanent home.

     It didn’t happen.

     I had no show to return to, no day job to go to and I had exactly enough money to guarantee a roof over my head and that of my son. Coincidentally, at my Bay Area going away party at ACT that summer, my “money jar” totaled the same amount of my first month’s rent down to the very dollar: $603.00.

     What I did not in the way of security I did have in faith and belief that Los Angeles was where I was meant to be in 1989. I trusted that uncanny amount of $603 in gifts equaling my first month’s rent was confirmation.

     To make ends meet, I did something I had never done before. I worked at a hotel. In fact, I worked at two hotels across the street from each other: the newly built 5-Star Checkers Hotel and the legendary and opulent Biltmore Hotel.

     I opted to make the Los Angeles drive from Oakland with my son in our old, funky navy blue squareback Volkswagen rather than compromise myself by giving in to an ultimatum of an old boyfriend who offered to take us, with one condition.

    I had no intention of beginning my new life in Los Angeles by selling out. Our car may have been burning oil and smoking by the time we arrived, but we made it on my own terms.

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