Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Road to Reno

This post is to thank my new friend, Francessa, for honoring me in her recent fascinating post from Germany titled, The Road to Reno. Francessa's post concerns the relationship of an award-winning (2007) book titled The Road to Reno with the 1960 movie The Misfits that was filmed there, starring Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe.

Born and raised in Reno, I left there for Oregon when I was 25. I do so love Oregon and haven't regretted moving here. However, you can take the Nevadan out of the desert but you can't take the desert out of the Nevadan. So I travel there in my thoughts frequently, and make the occasional 500-mile trip back to my hometown for a dose of the land that raised me.

I was nine-years-old when The Misfits was made. My mother was a 21 dealer at Harold's Club and told Nel and me about seeing Clark Gable and some of the film crew in "the club." I don't recall that she sighted Marilyn Monroe or Arthur Miller, but I'm fairly sure that my mother wouldn't have known who Arthur Miller was at that time.

It became a part of Reno lore that The Misfits was Gable's last movie, some believing the strife with Monroe on and off the set to be the cause of his spiral into-illness-into-death.

But that was before a Kansas-based church (actually a hate group) proclaimed at the beginning of 2008 that "God hates Reno," and surely if they'd known this in 1960 Monroe would have been let off the hook and the location of the film might have been blamed for Gable's death. The original post in the iconic and irreverent blog God hates Reno describes how 21st-century Renoites reacted to the insane comments by the sect reported by the Associated Press. For one, that wickedly funny blog was born. It's listed in my Reno blogroll separate from my main blogroll. Just love that gaudy "neon" header.

This photo is from my solo drive to Reno in April 2007. I hadn't been "home" since 1999 and I'm sure it won't be that long until my next visit. That trip was to attend the surprise 80th birthday party of the mom of a childhood friend of mine. Carol's mom and mine worked at Harold's Club together and were close friends. My mother is gone now and I was anxious to represent her at the gala.

Mike couldn't be away from work so I hit the road alone. Every mile that took me closer to Reno held more excitement than the next. I just didn't realize how much I'd missed that familiar place until I saw the Sierras come into view and the air became drier and warmer and I heard Reno radio stations. Sure, I know I can get them online but there's nothing like knowing the music is coming from where I'm heading. Faster. Giddier. Younger. I drove straight into the pages of my past, passing this scene and then stopping and driving in reverse to take the shot.


Gay Rodeo said...

Howdy there, and a big yee-haw thanks from Gay Rodeo.

We got your message and appreciate the connection and mention in your own blog.

That also seems like a mighty fine book to take a gander towards.

Hope we keep seeing you back!

Oh and we're going to be doing an overhaul on the site so that irritating blank-spot thing doesn't happen. You obviously use FireFox and well, that's where the problem is. Hopefully the overhaul will fix that...

...from your friends at the snottiest Reno 'zine on the net...

Gay Rodeo


Wayfaring Wanderer said...

I wish I felt that way about going home......I tend to only go home for a holiday here and there......my drive is a little under 500 miles......I nearly cry when I leave my mountains to go back to Florida!

francessa said...

Ah, lydia, thank you so much for this interesting story! It became faster and faster, as you wrote along ;-) I’ve learned so much! First thing, I had to “go” to Reno via Google earth which – in connection with your beautiful photo gave me a sense for the landscape. I could almost feel the warm and dry air! To someone grown up in an Alpine area this is very exotic! Then I had to look up “21 dealer”. I think it’s what they call “Blackjack” over here. I’m sure, your mother had some stories to tell! By the way, what’s the singular of Renoites? A Renoit? All very exciting :-)

Lydia said...

Even your comments are a riot, GR! You do remind me of a certain part of Reno's personality, and it makes me smile.

Wanderer, your love for your mountains is understandable. Although I get sentimental about Reno I couldn't wait to get away and, as I wrote, I've never regretted moving to Oregon.

When I was a singular resident of that town I was a Renoite. (I was a Renoite when I was single, and then married there too haha). I almost used "blackjack" in my post but I decided to call it what I heard so often: 21. Don't ask me about the game; I've never played. My mother reinvented herself when she turned 50, quit "the club" and started on a low rung in state government. She was assistant manager in one of the agencies by the time she retired.

I can see how the area looks exotic to you; it is striking. So fun that you visited via Google Earth. I must do the same for your hometown, which is . . . ?
:) -Lydia

francessa said...

Oh yes, let's do a little earth-connecting! You could visit 3 places:
a) 9210 Poertschach Austria (that's my home-village)
b) Vienna, Austria (that's where I live), and
c) Muenster, Germany where I'm every fortnight.

For details you could mail, if you'd like, that's francessa2002@yahoo.de

Lydia said...

I have sent an email message, so if you don't get it let me know!

francessa said...

Hi lydia, got no email :-(

Lydia said...

Francessa, I published this message but have since heard from you via email that mine was received. Great!



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