Price: $15.95 (eBook)
Tekla Dennison Miller
Alyce Bonura is a single mother who takes a position as the Bunny Mother of the Chicago Playboy Club in 1966 to not only flee from a negative relationship but to pursue a career that guarantees financial freedom and upward mobility. Unfortunately, all is not what is assured or expected
Mother Rabbit is the true story about a woman like so many others in the 1960's, caught between living according to the traditional societal mores and pursuing the promises of the feminist movement. Alyce's stint as the Bunny Mother is set during a particularly turbulent era when even such a secluded environment as Playboy is affected by the Viet Nam War, the Apollo I tragedy and back ally abortions. Alyce's story pays tribute to the women who had the courage to break free from the oppressive standards of the day while also dealing with the universal dilemmas of single mothers including abuse, financial crises, the special difficulties of parenthood and the quest for self-fulfillment.
The afternoon thunderstorm that swept through Miami left no
relief from the humidity which clung to my body like a wet bathing
suit. A limousine had dropped my older sister Alyce, a Playboy
Bunny Mother, and me, a U.C.L.A. senior, at the terminal moments
before the summer downpour. As she and I waited at the airport for
the Playmate of the Year, the heavy air laden with a pungent mixture
of ozone, sweat and diesel fuel, wafted across the tarmac. It wasn’t
exactly the scent I’d imagined for my college vacation in the subtropics.
A mass of eager reporters and photographers teemed around
Alyce, nearly pushing her aside as they rushed to the waiting area.
The all-male media appeared hungrier for a peek into a Playmate’s
lifestyle than for an interview with the one who managed the Bunnies.
Did they wonder as I had whether Miss January would wear a
conservative traveling suit or a cleavage-exposing mini-dress in the
latest 1960's style?
The plane carrying the beauty taxied to the gate. A hush fell over
the audience. As the stairs were rolled in place, the photographers
made last minute checks of their equipment. The plane’s door was
flung wide. Cameras were raised. Pencils poised over note pads.
T E K L A D E N N I S O N . M I L L E R
Suddenly a tall, willowy, auburn-haired woman filled the doorway.
She paused, giving everyone ample time to appreciate her entire
form. Flashbulbs popped from every part of the waiting area. The
Playmate of the Year descended the stairs with as much pomp and
dignity as an ambassador from another country. To my amazement
her ensemble didn’t reveal her true mission. She wore a deep rosecolored,
tailored silk suit with a silk shell beneath. The long, fitted
jacket was held closed by a single pearl button at her waist and
cleaved to every curve. Each graceful step exposed her slender legs.
The Playmate walked without toppling forward in her three-inch
heel, pointed-toe shoes. I wondered whether the photographers were
disappointed because she looked more like a Vogue model than a titillating
“Oh my,” Alyce whispered.
“She’s that impressive?” I asked.
“No. Her breasts have grown.”
I covered my mouth to muffle a laugh. “What?” I asked through
Alyce leaned closer to me. “When her picture was taken for the
Playboy centerfold, she had to lie on her stomach because her breasts
were too small for the image the magazine wants. But Hef was so
captivated by her overall good looks he forfeited the large breasts.”
“So what are you saying?”
“She’s had implants. Her breasts have more than tripled in size.”
So this is what Playboy calls natural beauty, I wondered to myself.
Poking fun at this unrealistic world felt good.
“Not exactly the girl next door, I’m afraid,” Alyce added.
We both laughed, then Alyce composed herself so she could fulfill
the rest of her duties. The Playmate strutted through the door into
the waiting area. Cameras again flashed. Alyce advanced to welcome
Miss January and handed her a dozen long-stem American Beauty
roses, petals drooping from the heat.
As I looked at the two of them standing together, I decided that
Alyce, ever graceful and demure, truly represented the American
beauty. Her classic, elegantly understated royal blue suit hugged her
body in a feminine, not provocative way. Her natural red hair radiated
health and flowed freely from under her ever-present hat, while
the Playmate’s locks were glued together in heavily lacquered mass of
M O T H E R R A B B I T
auburn straw forced into a French twist and further confused by a
While reporters interviewed the Playmate, a photographer cozied
up to Alyce.
“Are you the runner-up?” he asked.
“No.” Alyce shook her head. “The boss.”
She led the Playmate of the Year away to make the rounds of
luncheons, dinners and cocktail parties.
The reporter gazed after them. Did he think the same as I? Alyce
was special because there was only one Bunny Mother and so many
Bunnies? It’s human nature to want to conquer what appears to be
out of reach. The boss would be a fine catch.
That evening, as Alyce and I sat overlooking the ocean and sipping
wine, my sister began telling me about her time with Playboy, Inc