A Breath of History

The last time I visited the Roosevelt Hotel, Hollywood, my then-boyfriend and I ordered drinks from the Tropicana poolside bar, our waitress wearing a copy of Marilyn’s ‘Seven Year Itch’ white dress. We sipped alongside 2 Spideys and a Batman taking a break from posing with tourists outside Mann’s Chinese Theatre (now TCL Chinese Theatre). Batman, we noticed, had a paunch.

That was over a decade ago.

These days my husband and I only venture into Hollywood if he has a meeting with clients, or to give our houseguests a tour, most of whom have already seen the boulevard and its myriad of scuffed pavement stars anyway.

But last week I was on the boulevard twice, acting as my husband’s driver to meetings (another story/another day). I had time to wander and appreciate welcome/overdue upgrades to Hollywood storefronts and interiors–still, though, the Target next to the Kodiak Theatre has locked sliding glass doors over most of its products, even shampoos, reminding me of the old days, when I wouldn’t dream of going to Hollywood by myself, only with a crowd or a male friend.

I perused the Kodiak Theatre’s mall (think Oscars), then crossed the street to the El Capitan Theatre, where Jimmy Kimmel films his shows, the entrance guarded by two large men in matching black suits.

And then I came to the Roosevelt, almost easy to miss due to scaffolding and lack of front door signage (on purpose?), although if you look up, way up, the hotel’s giant Hollywood sign style letters salute helicopters.

I was greeted by a doorman eager to talk. We hung out for 20 mins, exchanging Roosevelt stories (another story/another day). He caught me up on hotel renovations and encouraged me to kick back in the lounge when I told him my husband was in a meeting nearby. He escorted me to Teddy’s bar, at the far end of the lounge. ‘Teddy’s opens in half an hour,’ he said. ‘Order the avocado toast.’

So I did.

And when I was back on the boulevard later in the week, I went straight into the Roosevelt, chose a couch, ordered avocado toast (whipped avo, so savory, try it), pulled my laptop out and worked on my novel.

My novel has a tiny bit in it where the poet-heroine, suffering from a debilitating case of writer’s block, flees to the Roosevelt lounge, picks a couch, and tries to write the old way, pen to paper (unsuccessfully).

I revisited that part of the novel, drawing from the real thing vs. memory, tapping away on my keyboard, surrounded by Los Angeles history, and possibly Marilyn Monroe’s ghost, and tastefully lavish Christmas decorations.

The next time you’re in Hollywood, snag a couch in the Roosevelt and don’t forget to give my regards to the doorman.

Yours in visiting classic L.A. all by herself,


About PB Rippey

Writer, wife, mother, grateful. Fiction, memoir, poetry, kidlit (MG), member SCBWI. pbwrites.wordpress.com
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Words do not escape you

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