Thursday, November 28, 2013
Thanksgiving 1981, Thanksgiving 2013
Wishing Everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. I'm grateful for so many things, but mostly for all the good people I know and have in my life. This time of year holds so many fond memories for me, and is also, of course, a bitter-sweet occasion as the anniversary weekend of Natalie Wood's shocking death in 1981, which was also the beginning of a long and winding journey for me in an effort to give such a wonderful woman the truth she deserves attached to her legacy.
I chose this photo of Natalie because she was a sweet young girl driven by a stage mom who loved her dearly but also applied a pressure no young girl should have to endure. Natalie was a normal teen who sought her independence early because by her late teens, she was already so accomplished.
She was kind and generous, and if you were her friend, or a family member, you were safe. She harbored many lost souls and she gave her all to her relationships. She loved her baby sister with all her heart. She held her own in a business that can swallow up the giants as easily as the unknowns. She crossed from old Hollywood to new Hollywood with grace and dignity with a trail of classic films behind her our great-great grandchildren will one day watch.
She was fair. She was beautiful. She is timeless for the right reasons, not for the mystery of her final night. There is no longer a mystery. For decades I knew what happened to Natalie, and now a homicide department knows, too. The journey continues because, with this knowledge, we all want something to be done about what Natalie suffered, as no one should have to lose life the way Natalie lost hers. An expert department has spent two years piecing it together. They know.
This is the start of the holiday season, and I debated whether to post another sad reminder of what happened 32 years ago, but it's still important. It consumes me every Thanksgiving. Natalie was so happy to be home to start the holiday season that year. Her hard work on the set of Brainstorm was finished, she was ready to kick-off the holiday season with some Christmas shopping, and she was happy to invite a new co-star for a social cruise. She had done nothing wrong or more than have excitement and promise in her heart that long ago weekend. Her stage debut was next. And she was smiling when that bottle came crashing down in front of her, shocking and mortifying her with embarrassment.
Natalie was not only a victim the night she lost her life at the hands of another ... she remained a victim for decades later because key people were more willing to believe a sociopath than take the time to consider the truth of the matter. That finally changed but it took far too long. The deepest part of the story has yet been told, but it will be told. And soon. That's something I am especially thankful for this Thanksgiving.