It was the year of the eclipse of the moon, the first full eclipse of my conscious life, and the family was en route to Atlanta from Baltimore, a 700-mile trip we made up to twice a year to see all our relatives. Usually, we did it in one day — Must Make Good Time is the Lippman credo — but on this particular trip, this wasn’t possible. A late start? Was it the Easter Sunday on which I learned it was unwise to eat a lot of milk chocolate before a long car trip? Somewhere in North Carolina, I assume, we checked into a Traveler’s Inn, the one whose logo featured a bear in a nightshirt. And, somewhere along the way, my sister had purchased a copy of “16.” I think was half the titular age, but I doubt that anyone over 13 ever read “16.”
The pin-ups of the day were the Monkees, natch (I was a Mickey girl); the two younger Cowsill brothers, Barry and, well, the other one; Bobby Sherman; Jack Wilde; and — most intriguingly — a beautiful young Indian actor, Sajid Khan, although I might be mangling his name. As far as my sister and I could discern, his only acting credit was one appearance on “Bonanza.” He wore Nehru jackets. He strummed a sitar. He soon disappeared.
We preferred “16″ to Tiger Beat, although I can no longer remember why. Years later, I would find out that its editor, Gloria Stavers, was a huge Jim Morrison fan and had managed to inject him into the pages of “16,” although he was the exact opposite of most of its pin-ups. Dangerous, brooding, Not Safe.
I don’t think I have ever felt quite as grown-up as I did in the backseat of the family car, fighting motion sickness as I pored over the likes and dislikes of the Cowsill brothers. It seemed vital information, a key to something, but God knows what.