Omigosh I’m going back in time and its Dec 7...........1944
I'm rubbing my shoes I’m rubbing my shoes I’m rubbing my shoes.....................and the next thing I know I’m wearing this nice colorful old fashioned looking dress and black shiny high heels and I’ve got on my hair all put up in a bun and I’m in this beautiful night club where I see all these nicely dressed ladies entertaining all these handsome young soldiers and sailors. There was this big band playing such beautiful songs. The girls were serving the GI's coffee and sandwiches and all kinds of goodies and they were also dancing with them.
The next thing I know.........omigosh............I see a fella I recognize as a big name actor from the 40s all dressed up in a nice suit and tie whom we'll just call john come up to me and say. "Shake a leg honey. Grab that tray full of doughnuts. The boys are hungry."
Well he may have been a big name 40s star but I don't care, the nerve of that man talking to me like that. "Excuse me. My name is Fifi, not ‘Honey.’ I have no idea where we're at but you sound like you should be in the Neanderthal exhibit at the local museum of natural history. You may be a big shot movie star but I will not be addressed in such a demeaning way."
John looked at me and chuckled. "You gotta lotta spunk in ya kid. All right I didn't mean to be so crude? Will you please, Fifi, serve the soldiers those doughnuts? Fifi huh? Just the like the French poodle. I knew a gal whose name was Fifi a few years back a French girl, a cute little actress. I don't know what happened to her. She went back to France a few years back and of course I hope she's ok. You know with the occupation just ending."
"The occupation? Omigosh are you talking about the German occupation of France? So I’ve gone back to World War 2? What day is today?"
John gave me a curious grin. "Are you ok kid? Maybe you've been out in the sun too long. Of course we're talking about World War 2. What other war is going on right now? It's Dec. 7, 1944, the third anniversary of Pearl Harbor."
"The third anniversary of Pearl Harbor?" I was kind of dazed as I talked to John. "When I went to bed it was the eve of the 68th anniversary of Pearl Harbor. Dec 6 2009. Those darned guides are taking me all over the place in these crazy dreams. When are they gonna take me to an event in 'reality world' like me landing a major role in a big budget flick in 2009.....or 2010?" I woke up out of my trance. "so this must be some kind of nightclub that caters to the GI's to help win the war. Yeah sure I’ll volunteer and serve food to the boys, but can you tell me where we are first?"
John let out the biggest laugh. "Kid you need to sit down a few minutes. After you feel better maybe you can help volunteer. We're in Hollywood. This is the Hollywood canteen and yes we 'cater' to all the soldiers and sailors and marines who are trying to win this god awful war. We give them everything free, as long as their wearing a uniform."
"All right I’m glad I know where I’m at. I'm sorry for being a little dizzy like. It's just that my right brain really gets a little bit out of control and takes over things and my left brain just sits around and does nothing."
John looked at me concerned like. "Yeah sure kid, your right brain, your left brain. I don't know what you’re talking about. You sure you don't need a doctor? I can call one up right now to take a look at you."
"Na na na I’m fine. Like you said I want to volunteer. Give me a tray full of doughnuts or full of sandwiches."
John smiled. "You know kid. Why don't relax a few minutes and sit with those girls over there." He pointed to another redhead and a blonde sitting at a nearby table sipping a couple of soft drinks. "After a few minutes you can help volunteer if you want." He grabbed my hand and walked me over to the girls. "Dolly, Debbie. This is Fifi. She's also a young struggling actress just like you two are."
"Hiya Fif.” Debbie the blond greeted me with a smile.
"Howya doin kid?" Dolly the redhead told me.
"How did you know I was a struggling actress?" I asked John as I sat down next to Dolly and Debbie.
"I just know kid. I just know," John winked at me and walked away.
Debbie chuckled. "John sure is the wolf type isn't he? So you're a struggling actress just like we are. Where are you from Fifi?"
"Des Moines Iowa."
Debbie's eyes lit up. "Really I’m from Cedar Falls. I hopped on a train six months ago hoping to get my big break. Yeah sure big break, the only big break I’ve had is breaking a few dishes serving hash at the nearby greasy spoon joint."
"You don't have to tell me about that," I told Debbie. "The only job I’ve been able to get in this in this darn town is working as a waitress, except...............well you'll think I’m crazy so I won't say anything more......"
"So you two kids are from Iowa eh?" Dolly said. "Well guess what? I'm from right next door, Wisconsin, and I’ve been here a whole year going to audition after audition after audition........that is if or when I have the energy after putting in a long day at the war plant. I'm really an expert now at riveting tires onto airplanes."
"I actually admired all the 'Rosies' who worked as riveters as much as all the 'Joes’ who did all the fighting during the war." I told Dolly. "Without those 'Rosies' we would not have made as many planes, tanks, and ships because most of the young men were fighting."
"You gotta funny way of talking kid," Debbie laughed. "Why are you talking in the past tense as though the war was over?"
"Oh I don't know.............it's just my right brain, my right brain."
I forgot to tell you people that this was 1944. 1944! No California laws against smoking in public places in 1944. I mean the inside of the place felt like the inside of a chimney. I could hardly breathe. I saw Dolly light up a cigarette. "How in heaven names can you mess up your lungs smoking that stuff?" I asked her.
"It makes me relax kid," Dolly answered.
"So you guys see any other celebrities here besides John?" I enthusiastically asked the two girls.
"Oh there's a bunch of them here today Fif right Debbie?" Dolly answered. "Judy and Betty are out in the kitchen. We saw Clark and Cary walk by what maybe a half hour ago?"
I looked misty eyed at the two girls. "Wow that's just amazing. All those big shots helping out in the war effort......"
The next thing I know a tall handsome fellow in a marine uniform approaches our table. "Would any of you care to dance with a lonely marine?"
Dolly smiled at me. "Fifi are you ready to start volunteering?
"Of course," I answered. "Good thing I love dancing and have taken a lot of dancing classes. You know the foxtrot fella?"
The marine smiled. "Of course I do."
We danced to some nice soothing glen miller music. "This sure feels great," the marine whispered in my ear. "Also my wife doesn't know."
"We're just dancing fella, we're just dancing," I growled back. "Your wife has absolutely nothing to worry about."
The marine chuckled. "I’m just kidding. My wife is expecting a baby next month and I want to be able to see the baby before I get my next orders....... Some small Japanese held island in the middle of the Pacific called...............Iwo Jima."
"Where is your family?" I asked the marine we as swayed to the soothing music.
"Des Moines Iowa."
"Really? That's quite interesting.................what's your name?"
"Mark....................Captain Mark Larouche."
"Omigosh. Omigosh..............." My grandfather, I thought to myself. And the baby he's talking about is my father.
Mark looked at me quizically. "What's the matter? You look surprised. You got a boyfriend whose last name is Larouche?"
"Not quite," I said quietly. "But I happen to know a fella real well whose last name is Larouche and has also.............I mean is also gonna be deployed to Iwo Jima, a high school classmate."
Mark chuckled. "Well what a small world, another Larouche from Des Moines. When I get to Iwo I'll have to look him up. Tell him to say hi to a gal named........ What's your name by the way?"
"Nice old fashioned name Jane. So you’re an old fashioned kind of girl huh? Not a crazy sounding name like........Fifi."
The next thing I know my head was spinning all over the place into a blur. I just saw blurry images of my grandfather looking for me and all these people talking and dancing as my body or maybe I should call it my astral body is leaving the club and.....................I wake up in my cold chilly van nuys apartment bedroom.
"HARRUMPH. I NEVER KNEW GRANDPA THOUGHT FIFI WAS A SILLY NAME." I growled and went back to sleep.