NON FICTION ~ Sonny & Cher Were My Mom & Dad
November 21, 2013
On Wednesday nights I got to stay up until 9:00 to watch the The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour. I was seven. I wanted to be Chastity Bono, now Chaz Bono. How could I not? Look at how long and silky Cher’s hair was and how Sonny smiled all the time. Not like my dad who was never home and never smiled. What did Chaz do backstage when his mom was under the spotlight singing Half Breed? How late did he get to stay up? Past my bedtime, I was sure of it. He was so little and his beautiful costumes matched his moms. My fantasy was that Sonny and Cher were my mom and dad.
Half way through the first season of the CBS variety show, I turned eight. That’s the year I remember my dad bringing home half gallon bottles of Early Times Bourbon. That’s the year I remember my mom started calling me into their bedroom late at night to protect her from him. That’s the year Sonny and Cher became my parents.
When I’d close my eyes at night, or walk home from school alone because no one was around to pick me up, it was Sonny who held my hand and Cher who’d great me at the door in a gold lame jumpsuit. There was music and dancing and feathers in my house. Lots of feathers.
I wonder if Chaz fantasized about my life in suburban Baltimore where we had snow days and trick-or-treated through the neighborhood unchaperoned. Did he imagine walking to school and playing whiffle ball with the my neighbors? I wonder if the fantasy of my childhood got him through the rough divorce that his parents put him through resulting in the cancelation of The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour. According to Wikipedia, “The show was canceled May 1974, due to the couple’s divorce.” My parents separated two years later.
I still fantasize about rock star parents. But now I write about them.