“Can I walk you?”
Imagine if this beauty walked up to you at 3:00 AM in LA, and asked if she could be with you. How many times would you ask her to pinch you to make sure you were not dreaming? Rena had a very brave look on her face.
Rena is not wearing make-up in the photo above. She very rarely made herself up. I talked her into doing it one day, and it was – too much! No man could survive – this! No man – could let her go, let her walk out of his life.
“I warned you!”
I can recall trying to draw Rena in the sixth grade – on. I had to get her hairline, just so, then I rendered her high cheekbones. It was that indent of curved hair at her brow that put me in a trance. She was a combination of several actresses, Hedy Lammar being one of them, and Mamo Clark, being another. Clark played Fletcher Cristian’s wife on the Muntniy and Bounty. She lived in back of us in Concord. I seem to recall Rosemary lifting us up so we could say hello to her. This is when Vic took an interested in landscaping, he going through the trouble to plant a lawn, something he hated.
“I could never plant a lawn.” my father moaned to me one day, this another of his great failures that entitled him to be the biggest victim of all time.. Did Mamo hand Vic a glass of lemonade over the fence, or, a Shirley Temple, it she who introduced Captain to the evils of alcohol, it taking a professional temptress to do the trick?
Then there were all those beautiful Jane’s who lived with Tarzan in a tree as is consort. When I visited Rena in Nebraska, she handed me the photo above taken by a studwnt for a University of Nebraska poster. She knew it would blow my mind, and I would be very grateful to own it forever, for she was my Eve, my beautiful temptress who lived with me in the redwoods of California for fifty days. At twelve, I wanted to live in a tree, with her, the girl of my dreams.
* * *
Capturing Beauty begins with me boarding a plane for Bullhead city for a family reunion. The long feud over the family art is at an end. Vicki and I are going to try to save Drew whose father is at death’s door.
No sooner am I buckled in, then a stunning woman burst through the door that was almost closed, it being opened wide again just for her. And why not! This woman is an American Beauty who the handsome pilot with a great tan is being extra chatty with.
Now she is making her way down the isle. Why isn’t she being seated in first class? There is something wrong with this picture. I am unbelieving the only empty seat is next to me, a fact she soon discovers.
“Can I sit next to you?” she asks, I wondering why.
“You paid for it, need you ask?” was my reply, and she smiled a certain smile that told me she knew what a private person I was inside, I not liking anyone sitting next to me lest they interfere with my day dreaming as I looked out the window and worked on my collection, my portfolio of future paintings I would never begin.
Buckled in, this beauty now took out her laptop, and sent off a text message before we got underway. I couldn’t help but take a peek at it.
“All’s well, that ends well!”
As I studied her profile, I gasped. My heart racing I noted how it was identical to Rena Christiansen’s profile. I studied her cheekbone. This could not be Rena, because Rena would be fifty six. Ths woman looks about twenty four. I am getting a glimpse of my Muse when she is older, more mature. Now I had to see her full face looking at me so I could do a memory overlay and compare.
“Why aren’t you in first class!” I ask my seatmate.
“Why aren’t you in first class!” she responds with a smile.
Jesus Christ, she’s got gold eyes, just like Rena. Could this be her daughter, or, one of her sister’s daughters. I am rendered speechless.
“I am not in first class because I booked this flight at the last minute. I am going to a dear friend’s funeral.”
I say nothing. I am in dream time. The net of coincidence has got me in its web once again. Playing with fate is my other great pastime. Great and famous artworks work with fate a lot, the artist bringing the work of the gods to meet in his ring, his canvas, the creative arena where you get to be a co-god. Surely this is a goddess of some sort, on her way to play with other gods. There is a long silence, then this question;
“Have you ever answered your one great question?” she asks me, and I get a chill and tingling in my chest.
“What question is that?”
“Why you believe you never deserved me.”
There was a very long silence thatcame through many ages ago, when we were by a beautifu waterfall on Mout Tamapias. We had known each other for three days. Rena turns to me and says;
“You are the first person who ever talked to me.”
“You mean, I am the first person to ever really talk to you? Surely your parents and siblings talked to you? How about your grandmother?”
“You are the first. Everyone is intimidated by my beauty. I have been beautiful all my life. I was a beautiful baby. All people coud do – is look at me!”
I looked out my little window at the patch of blue prisoners call the sky.
“Rena. Why are you here. What is going on.”
“You are dying. The plane is crashing. I have come to take you to them, the others you believe you did not deserve. They want to tell you they got you, in their lifetime, what you are, what you are about, what you have been doing, and will always do, to the day you die.”
“The child plays.
The toy boat sails across the pond.
The work now has just begun.
Oh child. Look what you have done.”
Mamo Clark was educated at the University of Southern California.Clark made her film debut in a featured role in Mutiny on the Bounty (1935) acting as Miamiti, Clark Gable’s wife in the film. The following year she appeared in a serial Robinson Crusoe of Clipper Island playing a Polynesian princess. In 1937, she appeared with her Mutiny on the Bounty co-star, Movita, in The Hurricane she played roles in several ‘B-pictures’, invariably with Pacific Island settings, for instance Hawaii Calls (1938.
One Million B.C. (1940) provided her with a substantial role as the “Queen of the Rock Tribe” appearing with Lon Chaney Jr. The same year Mamo appeared in the film “The Girl From Gods Country”. She retired from films after a minor role in the Marlene Dietrich, John Wayne film Seven Sinners (1940) when she met and she fell in love with U.S. Army Captain James Rawley. Soon after they had a son, James Rawley Jr. Captain Rawley continued his career in the Army and was soon promoted to Major. Major Rawley retired from the U.S. Army and began an acting and teaching career in Los Angeles, Ca.