Boystown becomes Girlstown

Written and lived by Maureen Miller…

An Aerial view of MGM Lot 2, showing backside of “Girlstown”

This is Girlstown, not Boystown…

I’m never invited into the lot when there is a group of boys. I want to go today. I can keep up. Donnie starts off by mentioning that there is nothing of interest going on today. But I insist. “Okay”, he agrees, “you can come along with us.” He explains I might be on my own for a while but it’s gonna help us out in the long run. I bring my transistor radio for company. It has a handy wrist strap that really isn’t handy at all. You can’t dangle it from your wrist and climb. I just shove the whole transistor down my tucked in shirt to climb in. Once on the other side, I start fishing it out and man, it’s really down there. I reach and twist and finally get it out. When I look up I notice that all eyes are fixed on me during that maneuver. That was awkward but luckily the group is small today.

At roll call we have Donnie, who acts cool around me when others are present, Danny, who is older and I don’t know very well, and Gerald, who I do know. Gerald has chased me around these neighborhood streets with bad intent for years. But we’re grown up now and it’s time to forgive him for the loogie he landed in my hair. Besides, none of that matters today. THIS IS WAR! I’m so excited to be a part of this troop, I have to resist the impulse to grin from ear to ear and instead maintain a strict game face.

Proudly, I join the huddle to hear the strategy of the day. Donnie plays no favoritism-we are a squad. He calls the play: “There is no “I” in trespass. We need to be a tight knit unit. Maureen, you will gather important Intel at Boystown if you can handle it.”

“Like a Sentry? Of course, I can! I’m ready!” He continues: “I’ll drop her off at Boystown and meet you guys on NY Street in about 5”.  I don’t say out loud what I’m thinking… I don’t need an escort! How humiliating.

As we arrive he barks more orders, I can tell he likes bossing me around. “What we need to know is how many times the Bronco comes around here during this part of the day and who’s driving.”

“That’s it?”

“Yep, if it’s too boring, you can come along another time…”

“No, I’ve got it!” I question whether he is truthful or just trying to ditch me, but I go along and take the task seriously.

“We need some information on a set being built over at New York Street, this could be dangerous, the smaller my posse the better”, he dictates. So much for my illusions of getting picked for active duty on the frontline… The boys are off to explore behind enemy lines while my job is to take notes on security. “White Rook, you’re in charge here. Here’s your share of the rations”, he says as he hands me a Tootsie Pop.

Radio on. I’m reminded not to play too loud. Yes sir! I know the drill. Great! Casey Kasem’s American Top 40 Countdown! They’re only on #35 Dancing Machine-The Jackson Five. Donnie says “you know Stairway to Heaven always wins.” “I know”, I say. “I’ll be back to get you when we’re done with our part.” “Sure thing” I answer and give a salute.

No sense in saving the sucker for later I think as I pop it in my mouth. So, what’s new around here since I’ve been here last… Someone drew hands and a face with a big nose looking over a wall “Kilroy was here” and a “Keep on Truckin” bumper sticker. Nice touches…

Mostly, it’s just gotten dirtier. Empty cans and bottles, wrappers on the floor. This place needs a woman’s touch. #29 Clean Up Woman-Betty Wright. I start by shaking out the old purple drape that’s been here forever. Then, I use it to sweep the dust off the floor and outta here! So much dust. I don’t want to cough or do anything too loud, I arrange the pop bottles around the place since they make for nice knick-knacks. I just brush the wrappers and shell casings to a designated corner. Anything left here is not really trash, it’s like a memory of someone before. Or maybe it’s just trash… But I’m not taking it out. I am here on an Intel Gathering Mission. I’m not the maid!

I hear tires! The noise I’ve been waiting for, I peer out the lookout hole to see if I can see anything. Bronco sighted. Who’s driving… looks like George Barner. #20 The Joker-Steve Miller Band. I duck down, I know he can’t see me through this peep hole but I’m not taking any chances. My heart is racing. I cover my mouth instinctively to not gasp out loud. He doesn’t stop, drives around. I can officially log this in as “once”. OK, heart rate coming down. Coast is clear.

#17 Spiders and Snakes-Jim Stafford. This reminds me, time to do a spider check. I secretly do this every time I come here, but today it is especially important. I hate spiders! I look in all the corners, nooks and crannies. Daddy long legs is okay. He’s like a long-term tenant. Creepy crawly, creepy crawly Boris the Spider I whisper to myself. I notice one very interesting cranny, something is stuffed in it. It looks like Comic Books. Yay! Something to do. They’re really crammed in there. I use the antenna on my radio to dig them out. Got em! What? Playboys? That figures… I am furious, but also curious… First, I notice that they cost around a dollar. You could buy two Mad magazines and two beef jerkys for that price. But I bet they acquired it from someone’s collection kept under their bed or something.

#15 Whatever Gets You Through the Night-John Lennon. I never knew there were jokes and articles and stuff. Hmm… featuring none other than Mamie Van Doren. How fitting. This is Girls Town after all. I remember her in that movie. “It’s not a prison, it’s a nun-run reform school for young women in trouble with the law.” Well, I don’t think even the nuns could straighten her out. She’s too curvy. I know how she made the “Most Wanted” list: big lips, big hips, big bazonkers! Mamma Mia Mamie! #12 Squeeze Box-The Who.

She passed her reform school sentence right here in this facility and heck, the way the guys ditched me I feel like I’ve been committed here too. I got a bum rap I tell ya! High School Confidential and Girls Town, it all happened here. Quite a legacy. I can hear Jerry Lee Lewis singing and banging on his piano “Boppin’ at the High School Hop!

As I soak it all in, I wonder if Mamie would be mad the boys deemed this place Boystown. I don’t think so. After all, they are keeping her spirit alive and well, although hidden in the rafters.

Let’s see, our next incarcerated cover girl is Barbi Benton. Tsk-tsk Barbi, what’s a nice girl like you doing in a place like this? Yep, just me, Mamie and Barbi. We’re just thrill hungry girls who don’t want to know right from wrong.

There is an Interview with Howard Cosell in this issue. Well, if you must tell the wife why you bought a Playboy, Howard Cosell is your alibi. Anyway, if this is all boys think about, it confirms what I’ve thought all along. Boys are disgusting.

I’ve got to put this back exactly as it was. I’m fumbling miserably. I don’t want to get caught with this pirate booty! All the time practicing my best Sgt. Schultz impression “I see nothing! I see nothing!”

#9 Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Me-Elton John. I love this song. I lay on the floor and put the radio right next to my ear so as not to make any detectable noise. I almost feel as though I could take a cat nap right here and now. I wonder why he wants to come and get me later. I certainly know my way home from here.  Well, orders are orders. I’ll just close my eyes for a minute…

I come out of my snooze state to the sound of someone coming up the stairs. I quickly wipe the drool from my mouth, shut off the radio and quietly move to hiding position. “Maureen are you still here?”

“Yes!” I hear Donnie and I’m trying my best to pull out of my stupor, I can’t let on that I was asleep on the job. I report “The Bronco came around twice about an hour apart.” (actually, I didn’t hear the Bronco a second time, but he may have come around while I was dozing off and twice sounds way more official)

“Huh? Oh, yeah, the Bronco… Uh, great job. This is useful information.”

Sure, it is, I think to myself… “Did you forget to come get me?”

“Absolutely not!” he looks outraged. “Hey, this place looks nice! Anyways, thanks again. Let’s get you home. It’s already dinner time.

“Oh, by the way who won the countdown?” “Stairway to Heaven” I say.

Written and lived by Maureen Miller…

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