It was the 80’s, I was attending Loma Linda University, nice but out in the suburbs, not my pace or my style. My passion was Fashion. I wanted to attend FIDM in Los Angeles. The school did not have dorms so my parents told me I could not attend, I was too young to have an apartment, apparently (and rightfully so) I needed more supervision. I’ve never been the type to give up, I ALWAYS find a way. When one door closes, a picture window with sky light will open! I looked for “adequate, suitable” living arrangements near the school and found a Nunnery! Perfect, that should be fun-free enough to make my parents happy, no male guests allowed beyond the Lobby…Perfect (for them). I looked into it, made the proposal to my parents, they loved the idea so I checked into the nunnery AND to the Fashion Institute; they were thrilled. The lobby came fully equipped with Chapel, beige couches, crucifix art and fully costumed nun at the front desk, strict lock-down hours, it was fabulously safe, a teen parent’s dream! A great contrast to the ensembles I modeled coming down the staircase on a daily basis as I headed to school. One challenge I had overlooked, a 10pm curfew!!! WHAT?! Ah, that’s the time I headed out. That would put a huge damper on my LA style. I could have snuck out but they locked the gate to the parking lot. Again, always full of optimism, I concocted a plan. There was a Nun, Sister Nell, elderly, she had to be in her 80’s or more, but she still had that spark in her little nun-ish eye, the stark of wanting more fun, she also liked to eat, a lot… One day I invited her to go out with me, a test. I said: “Sister Nell, why don’t we go out to dinner, and some sightseeing?” She agreed immediately. So I got Sister Nell in my top-less Jeep and we headed out, habits flying in the wind (hers tangible, mine symbolically). We went to Canters Deli on Fairfax, ate with some hipsters. I pushed our outing until 11pm to see if we would be able to get back into the gate-guarded nunnery. When we returned she called on the intercom and we got in. Great plan, like Batman and Batnun into the Batcave! Next: Keith Haring and Andy Warhol were having an art opening, I couldn’t miss that, it was 1986! I invited Sister Nell, I was wearing a backless white one piece linen halter pant suit with black super high sandals, slicked back hair, deep tan and red lips, like a Robert Pant girl, Sister Nell complimented my look with her classic black and white nun-i-form! I strutted in as if on a runway with nun in tow. It was a great night, Sister Nell hovered over the wine and appetizer table but the best part of the night was when I met Keith Haring, he pulled me aside and said: “You are SO F***ING COOL, YOU HAVE YOUR OWN NUN!!!!” We were all the rage.
Thank you Sister Nell, I’m sure you are eating a great buffet in heaven.