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West Hollywood Cocktail Party

Short story By: Victoria Reid

When they ran out of onions....

Submitted:Sep 14, 2009    Reads: 192    Comments: 4    Likes: 6   

When I was four, I lived in West Hollywood, CA. Actually, I'm a bona fide native of West Hollywood, born and raised. Anyway, it was the 50's. Ours was an artistic, upscale Bohemian community just off of the Sunset Strip. In those days, that segment of Sunset Strip, near Sunset Plaza, was full of art galleries, antique shops, a wonderful bakery, and many more boutique-style businesses. Believe it or not, I could actually cross our cul-de-sac, head up around the corner, and make my rounds. At the corner, there was the dry cleaners. They had gumballs! Further down, my Godmother owned one of the antique shops, so even if she was out of edibles, I always walked out with gooey lipstick on my cheek and some loose change in my pocket book. There were no pockets in dresses, you see, and dresses were all we were allowed to wear. Hence the pocketbook.

Onward. Down the Strip I went to the bakery. Now that I had some cold cash on hand, I could usually afford an éclair or something. They were pretty loose with the rules regarding the costs of the baked goods, and besides, they thought I was cute. They were close friends of my Swiss nursery school teacher. It was a networking thing.
Ponder this. I was four. By myself on Sunset Strip. Even though I knew every merchant and they knew me, the memory of this sometimes makes me shudder. Luckily, nothing bad ever happened. I only remember it as a happy time and have no clue what my parents were up to when I went visiting during those afternoons.
However, I am very clear regarding the whereabouts of my parents on Fridays. Of a Friday evening, there was always a neighborhood cocktail hour, where people said "Dahling!" a lot and there were not many kids. Not a problem. If I got bored, I left. No one seemed to notice. It was a pretty cool party, actually. People would wander in and out of one another's houses, chatting, pouring martinis, firing up the Winstons and Lucky Strikes, impressing one another."A ha ha ha ha! Oh Dahling, you are simply too divine!" and more of that sickening has-been movie star stuff.
During one party, at the apartment of an older child-free couple, I was told to go play with an antique whistle, or something. During this riveting activity, I listened to the conversations.Presently, I noticed some grumbling. They had run out of cocktail onions for the Gibsons!!! A brief explanation here. A Gibson is simply a Martini with an onion instead of an olive.
What was needed was a valuable commodity and a savvy marketing strategy. I raced home, put on my most adorable cowgirl outfit (red with white fringe), stood on a kitchen chair, raided Dad's sacred stash of cocktail onions, put each one on a toothpick, placed them in a cardboard box top, and wrote "Onyuns - 10¢" on the front. Then I hit the street (or cul de sac). I won't wax long-winded - I cleaned up! Let's review. Combine people desperate for cocktail onions, said people full of several cocktails, and they thought I was the sweetest little princess baby darling! Usually, when sober, they didn't give a hoot about me. But I didn't give a rat's tushy that evening. They were being very nice to me and…they bought all the onions. Cha ching!
(This is not a picture of me, just a reasonable facsimile)


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