Welcome to Vintage Paparazzi.

At 17 My Life Is Over—Beverly Aadland & Tuesday Weld

The girlfriend really wanted to say, “Look, Errol Flynn is dead.

The funeral was two weeks ago. He’s gone, Beverly. Sad, tragic, heartbreaking as it is, the man you loved and lived with for two years is gone. And it’s time you realize that now, and try to pull yourself together.”

But aloud she said, instead, “You’ve barely touched your salad, honey. Here I take you to lunch at—ahem, excuse me for bragging—one of the most expensive restaurants in Hollywood. And what do you do? You sit and look at your food like it was a decoration, a display . . . Now come on. Perk up and eat a little. This isn’t on any expense account, you know. This is on me, your old hard-working chum!”

Seventeen-year-old Beverly Aadland looked up from her plate. “I’m sorry,” she said. “I’m just not too hungry.”

“I’ll make you pay for your share of this if you don’t eat,” her girlfriend said, laughing.

“I’ll pay, if you want,” Beverly said.

She looked away.

There were tears in her eyes. Her girlfriend stopped laughing and sighed and reached across the table for Beverly’s hand.

“I was teasing you—” she started to say. “Hey, what’s happened anyway to the gal who used to be able to take a joke and who could—”

“I think I’m pregnant,” Beverly said, softly, still looking away.

Her girlfriend squeezed her hand now.

“Yes,” Beverly said. “I’ll know for sure in just a little while. I have an appointment with the doctor. At two o’clock.”

She pulled her hand back from her friend’s and brought it up to her face to wipe away the tears that were there.

“There,” she said, “I’ve told you. What Ive told nobody else . . . Are you surprised?”

Her friend nodded.

“I am,” she said. “Yes.”

Beverly smiled a little.

“It’s funny,” she said. “I’d thought it would be so different . . . I mean, here it is, the middle of the day, a bright and sunny day, in a restaurant, over lunch, a cold chicken salad, me in my black dress, my eyes still burning from all the crying, looking like I-don’t-know-what because I haven’t looked in a mirror for two weeks now—looking like I-don’t-know-what and caring even less . . . and—”

She shook her head. The smile was gone from her lips already. The muscles in her slender white neck seemed to be pushing hard against her skin.

“And what, Bev?” her friend asked.

“And Id just thought,” Beverly went on, straining to get the words out, “that it would be so different . . . that’s all.”

She picked up a glass of water and took a sip.

She held up the glass for a long minute, looking into it, at the insipid and colorless water—silently, neither she nor her friend saying anything.

I want this baby . . .”

And then, talking again, almost as if to herself, she said, “For two years Id thought exactly how it would be, if and when this moment ever came, when it came time for me to tell . . . It would be night, I’d thought. I would be wearing something new, and special. I would be beautiful. And I’d joke with him for a while. And then I’d run into the kitchen, to the refrigerator, and grab hold of a bottle of champagne I’d had icing all that day, hidden, behind a big. milk container or something. And I’d run back to where he was sitting and, holding the champagne up high, I’d say, ‘It’s time for a little celebration, my darling.’ He’d ask why, of course—‘And what is it we have to celebrate now, Woodnymph?’ he’d ask. And I’d make him try to guess. Till he did guess. And then we’d both begin to laugh. And he’d get up and kiss me and

hug me and squeeze me, hard, so hard that I’d have to remind him to be more gentle, that I was very fragile now, that I was different now and had to be treated very tenderly. And he’d stop. ‘Yes, that’s right,’ he’d say, ‘you’re not a little girl any more, Woodsie, are you? You’re the woman I’ll be marrying someday soon, as soon as I get my divorce. You’re the woman who will be my wife, and the mother of my child. Aren’t you?’ And as I would say yes, happily, he’d take me in his arms again, only much more gently this time, much more tenderly. And we would kiss. That minute. The next minute. All night. Kiss and hold each other and make love, forgetting all about the champagne, all about everything. Everything but us. . . .

“I had it all figured out, dreamed out, if and when,” she said, putting down the water glass. “It would have been so wonderful. Except that he died, before I even knew about the baby myself, or had a chance to tell him.”

She smiled again, a small and bitter smile this time.

“It’s all what I guess some people would call ironic, isn’t it?” she asked.

“Beverly,” her girlfriend asked, “are you sure? About the baby?”

“Pretty sure,” Beverly said. “I wake up sick. I hurt up here . . . I’m pretty sure.”

“And do you feel all right about it?” her friend asked.

“Do you mean how do I feel about it in my heart, a young, husbandless, loverless, broken-up girl like me?” Beverly asked back. “Do you want to know if I’m happy or sad about this? Ashamed or proud? Is that what you mean? Honestly. Is that what you mean?”

Her girlfriend’s face reddened and she tried to say something to explain.

“This baby—” Beverly said, after a moment, “—this is all I’ve got left of the only man who has ever meant anything to me, or ever will . . . I want this baby . . . More than anything else on earth.”

A waiter came over to the table now, as she said this, and he asked the two girls if they would care for something else.

“A brandy, Beverly?” her girlfriend asked.

“No, thank you,” she said.


“No,” Beverly said. She looked down at her watch. “As a matter of fact,” she said then, “it’s about time for me to be going. Two o’clock, the doctor said. It’s nearly that now . . . Do you mind if I go? Now?”

“No, not at all,” said her friend.

Beverly rose from her chair and began to reach into her purse.

“Forget about splitting anything,” her friend said. “I told you I was a kidding. Lunch was on me.”

“Thank you,” Beverly said.

Then she bent and kissed her friend, quickly.

“Excuse me if I was—” she started to say.

“Never mind,” her friend said. “I know how you must feel right now.”

Beverly turned, and began to walk away.

And her girlfriend, watching her, thought, “God, protect this poor lost kid. . . .”

All that’s left of the man she loved

The doctor was a busy man. He minced no words. “Miss Aadland,” he said, after he’d completed his examination, “there is no way of telling immediately whether you’re pregnant or not. We just don’t know yet. It takes a laboratory report and that won’t be back here in this office till tomorrow. Tomorrow morning at nine. Now why don’t you go home and try to relax and give me a ring then? Tomorrow—nine o’clock. That’s all I can say to you now. Good-bye, Miss Aadland.

Beverly stood at the door of Errol Flynn’s house. She hadn’t been here since that night, three weeks earlier, when they’d left for Vancouver, together. She’d thought, when he died, that she would never come back to this house. Not alone. Not without him.

But she did not feel alone now.

Inside her, she knew, somewhere deep inside her, lay the little germ of the baby that was hers and Errol’s.

It didn’t matter to her that the doctor she’d seen a few hours earlier had been evasive about the whole matter. Baby doctors, for all the humanity they tended, were men of science, she figured. They never said yes or no to anything, she knew, till they’d checked with their test tubes, their blood specimens, their rabbits and mice, their laboratory reports; till they’d scratched their graying heads and studied these reports and come to their ‘conclusions.’

Well, she thought now, let the men of science do their scratching, their checking.

But she—she was a woman.

And women knew these things, instinctively.

As she knew now.

That inside her, somewhere, lay that child of hers and Errol’s.

As she knew, too, that, though her lover and husband-to-be was dead and gone, she was no longer alone. . . .

She opened the door and entered the house.

She flicked a switch that turned on all the lights downstairs.

She walked through the foyer, past the living room to the right, past the raised dining room to the left, to the sunroom in the rear of the house—the room that had been their room, complete with shining checkered linoleum and well-stocked bar and big fat TV and view of the pool, and with the old soft couch, where they used to sit—so close, so much of the time—still there, just like always.

She walked over to the couch now, and she sat.

After a moment—the room was quiet, too quiet—she reached for the little TV switcher that sat on the end table to the right, blew off some of the dust that had gathered on it, and pressed a button.

The television, across from her, lit up.

A man said something to her about a 1960 car. “Big, beautiful and roomy; a totally new idea in automobile styling,” he said. “Made for you!”

Beverly pressed another baton.

A girl in a ruffled dress sat at a piano, playing something Schubert-like, candlelight playing on her face. She looked over at a man, who stood listening to her, watching her. He began to approach her—

Beverly pressed another button.

This time she got a Western, two men in big hats arguing, slurringly.

She pressed another button.

Another western.

Another button.

A cartoon lady, advertising bread.

Another button.



Till she rose from the couch, suddenly, the room quiet once more, the television off, and walked over to the bar, in the far corner of the room.

My life won’t be over . . .”

Among all the bottles there, a small split of champagne had caught her eye.

She reached for it and took it from its shelf.

She struggled for a moment with the wiring and silver foil around its neck, and finally she opened it.

“My darling,” she said, aloud, as she reached for a glass and poured in some of the champagne, “—it’s time for a little celebration.”

She lifted the glass to her lips, and took a sip.

She shuddered.

“It’s warm, much too warm,” she said. “I know how you like it iced . . . but, you see, I’ve been so busy today, at the doctor’s . . . because, you see, we’re going to have a baby—Yes, yes, my darling—A baby. And it’s certain. Oh yes, of course it’s certain. . . .”

Her hand began to tremble.

She let the glass she was holding fall.

It crashed to the floor, the wine splashing against her ankles.

She walked back to the couch.

She sat once more.

She closed her eyes.

“Darling,” she whispered, her voice breaking as she made her confession to the silent room, “—it’s almost certain.” She brought up her hand and ran it through her long blonde hair. “Only a phone call,” she said. “I have only to phone the doctor, tomorrow, and he has only to say ‘Yes, it’s true’ . . . And then everything will be all right with me again. And I’ll know that my life isn’t over.”

She fell back on the couch.

“Our child,” she said. “I’ll have at least that . . . It will grow inside me, and then it will come. It will get big. I will take such care of it, such loving care. And one day I will tell our child about its father—about how good and glorious a man he was. And when I am finished telling our child, he will smile, proudly—and he will ask me to tell him even more about you, his father. And I will. And so you will always still be with us—with me, with our child.”

She nodded.

She brought her hand up to her stomach.

“Little baby,” she whispered, “I want you so much.”

And then, desperately, she tried to fall asleep, so that the morning would come that much more quickly. . . .

Too hard from here on in

It was exactly 9:00 am.

Beverly picked up the receiver and dialed the doctor’s office.

“Hello?” she heard the busy-sounding voice ask.

“This is Miss Aadland,” she said. “Beverly Aadland . . . I wondered—” she started to say, nervously.

“The report, yes,” the doctor said. “It should be here—among my papers.”

She heard the rustle of the papers; the short silence that followed; then the doctor’s impatient voice, calling out, “Nurse!”

Another silence followed.

Till, finally, the doctor spoke up again.

“Miss Aadland?”

“Yes,” Beverly said.

“Now, the report,” the doctor said, “yes. It’s negative.”

Beverly repeated the word after him.

“That’s right,” said the doctor. “You’re not pregnant.”

“That can’t be,” Beverly said. “There must be a mistake.”

The doctor told her that the report was conclusive. “The nausea, the other symptoms that you told me about,” he said, “are probably the result of the tension you’ve been undergoing these past few weeks.”

“But that can’t be,” Beverly said again, her hand clutching hard at the receiver. “There must be a mistake!”

“Miss Aadland.” the doctor said—there was a different tone to his voice now; softer, friendlier—“let me tell you something, please . . . I think I know most of the facts of this case, more than the medical facts. And I think I should tell you this. There is nothing more beautiful in life, for a woman, than to have a child by the man she loves. This I know. I have delivered many babies in my time, seen the expression on the faces of many new mothers right after the deliveries . . . But I have seen, too, the faces of mothers whose children arrived fatherless, girls who thought that this was what they had wanted—thought. And these girls—girls like you—they did not smile when the important moment came. For it was as if they had realized suddenly that it would be too hard from here on in—not for them—but for the little son or daughter they had just given birth to. As if they realized that from here on in it would be a life of continual explanations, of terrible incompleteness, of foisting a mother’s memories on a child who knows only the present, and does not, never will, understand a distant and far-removed past. . . .

“Do you understand, Miss Aadland, what I am trying to say, to tell you?”

Beverly did not answer.

“Miss Aadland? Do you understand?”

“No,” Beverly said, finally.

“I know, I know,” the doctor said. “It doesn’t make much sense to you now, does it? But someday it will. Believe me. . . .”

He said good-bye.

And they hung up.

And Beverly, looking around the room she and Errol had shared, felt cold suddenly, and she rose, looked down at the wrinkled dress she had slept in, picked up her purse and walked, slowly, alone again, towards the door.


Beverly stars in CUBAN REBEL GIRLS, Exploit Films.