I was a Wannabe Teenage Valley Girl

I loved when we got to visit my grandmother in Palm Springs. She lived in the same apartment complex as her brother, Uncle Lou, and his wife, Frieda.

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Grandma also had a best friend named Frieda, so, on occasion, we weren’t sure which Frieda she was cursing when she’d say, “That Frieda! She should only croak!”


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That Frieda

Seeing Grandma was great, but, for me, the best part about going to Palm Springs was knowing we’d be spending lots of time with our friends from Encino.

They’d drive a couple of hours to be with us every time we were there, and stay in the condo next door. They referred to us as their friends from the East. Growing up 30 miles north of Chicago I always thought east meant New York, unless you were driving between Chicago and southern Wisconsin, in which case east meant Lake Michigan.

I was usually the only Chase kid available to travel with my parents because my much older brother was in college and then law school, and my much, much older sister was in grad school, or working. Maybe one or the other was able to join us from time to time, but most of the time it was just me, which was like, totally, Oh my God, far out fun!

Sharon is one year older than I. She and her parents came as a package deal of tennis, swimming, eating, and fun with her sister Michelle,  and brothers Marc, and Gregg. When they’d come into town, we all had such a blast it was as if the condos became an all-inclusive resort.

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Sharon and my Mom at the pool in Palm Springs

Sharon and I spent the entire time together because we were so close in age, and because we actually liked each other. You know how you go on vacations sometimes with people who have kids you have to be with but don’t like? That’s a drag and a half.

When Sharon turned 16 she drove separately from her parents to Palm Springs in her new Camero (I know!) The sun began to set behind the mountains at around 4:00, so Sharon and I would hop in the Camero (I know!) and cruise down Palm Canyon Drive being our fabulous selves.

One evening one of us (and I really don’t remember which one) thought it would be fun to see what would happen if we put Mr. Bubble in the Jacuzzi, so we stopped at a Long’s Drug store and picked up a bottle.

When we got back to the condos we changed into our bathing suits and went out to the pool area, which was right outside our sliding back doors. We didn’t go in the Jacuzzi  because we wanted to witness what we imagined would be a totally far out experience, Man. And, no, I have no idea where our parents were.

No one was at the pool at the time, and the sun had completely set, so it was easy for us to perform our experiment. We began by putting in a capful or two of Mr. Bubble and then turning on the jets. We achieved slight bubbleage, but not as much as we’d hoped. We had to adjust our calibrations precisely so we’d know the perfect quantity ratio to add in the future. We carefully and exactly measured out three or five capfuls. Better bubbleage, but not great.

We knew what we had to do to fulfill our mission, so we dumped the rest of the bottle into the Jacuzzi and waited patiently. After exactly, approximately three minutes, the bubbles got serious.

We watched and giggled as our concoction morphed into what looked like a solid, compact column of bubbles.

We burst out laughing when the column of bubbles became what could only be described as “The Leaning Tower of Bubbles.”

We became a tad concerned when the tower of bubbles split into tendrils, resembling a beast with many heads, one of which was slithering toward the pool.

When the Multi-headed Blob of Bubbles began to multiply and approach the back doors of all the other condos, we concluded that our experiment had most likely not been a good idea and ran inside, just ahead of a threatening swath of bubbles nipping at our feet.

In case you’ve ever wondered what would happen if you put Mr. Bubble in a Jacuzzi, our official answer is, “it’s not a great idea.”

Sharon and I spent the rest of that trip inside one or the other of the condos, where we were told to remain until the condo association was satisfied with the cleaning of the pool, Jacuzzi, and deck, financed by our parents. Upon our return home to our respective states, we each received fines and punishments.

But it was worth it.


Sharon and I, in matching Mr. Bubble t-shirt and tiaras, pretending to re-enact the crime in L.A. at her Mom’s house the day after her daughter’s Bat mitzvah.



P. S. Yes, male friends of ours, and you know who you are, this is THE Sharon you met at our wedding in 1986. I remember that you wanted to take her out after the wedding for a night in Chicago she’d never forget. I believe one of you, who shall remain nameless, uttered this famous quote to her father, “Don’t worry, Sir. We’ll have her home in the morning.” If I remember correctly, that didn’t exactly work out in your favor.