In April of 1972 Burt Reynolds appeared as the nude centerfold in Cosmopolitan Magazine. I was five yet amazingly, the event stayed with me. Now you may think there is something wrong with me, and you’re probably right, but this was big at my house. My Mom and one of her friends were so excited I think my initial reaction to the high-pitched woman chatter was fear. Until, that is, I saw the look of pure adoration on their faces. Burt Reynolds, man-god of the 70’s, nude. Don’t get me wrong, my Mom didn’t shove the picture in my face so my five-year old eyes could gaze at Burt in all his glory, but I eventually caught glimpses. I also snuck into that holy of places, the bedside table, in Mom’s room and found the magazine later.
I remember my mom keeping me and my younger sister close. Mom was a single parent and in the spirit of the late 60’s and 70’s wasn’t one to hire babysitters constantly or hide us away so she could do her own thing. Her friends were our friends and I remember lots of laughter.
The point of this is simply how some of the weirdest things can become a cherished memory. At five, I didn’t care that Burt Reynolds was naked, I cared that mom was happy and laughing. It made her laugh and in the process her laughter became infectious. I look back and see that my Mom and her friends were and had become women of independence. They found a liberation in the honesty of saying what they felt about a sexy magazine picture. They weren’t stifled by single parenthood or embarrassed by their circumstances. That stayed with me. All because of a magazine.
I love you Mom!