Chicago Tribune from Chicago, Illinois on October 16, 2002 · Page 8-1
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Chicago Tribune from Chicago, Illinois · Page 8-1

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Wednesday, October 16, 2002
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123456 SECTION 8 WEDNESDAY OCTOBER16,2002 C By Etelka Lehoczky Special to the Tribune From a distance,Karen Vega is unremarkable. Her wardrobe is that ofany teen who has made it her life’s work to emulate Jennifer Lopez and Britney Spears,irritating Mom in the process.Abbre- viated denim shorts are topped with a black tank emblazoned in rhinestones with the legend “Sexxxy.” But Vega’s posture,hunched and wary,belies her flirty attire,and up close her demeanor is subdued.At 15,she already seems worn down by life. “I’ve been hospitalized nine times,in Ravenswood hospital and St.Mary’s,”she says.“I was suicidal and then it was depression and then it was drinking and all that stuff.Running away.I was in the streets. I’m home with my mom now,she took me,but they’re looking for a [housing] placement for me.She really doesn’t want me to live with her any more.” As Vega continues,her story grows increasingly chilling.With no extended family to rely on,her main source ofsupport is a counselor she connected with through a suicide prevention cen- ter.She barely knows her father, having met him for the first time when she was 12. “I really don’t talk to him much,” she says.“My mom is not married, but she got together with somebody.I don’t talk to that person at all. “I’ve been through a lot since I was 9 years old.I can’t really talk about it,’cause it’s personal stuff.But I’ve realized that you don’t know what you have ’til you lose it.” Though Vega’s life has been “pretty crappy”so far, she hopes to attend college one day and become a By Stephanie Goldberg Special to the Tribune M argaret Moser is about to meet members ofher boyfriend’s family and,frankly,she’s a little nerv- ous.They’re aware that Moser,48, is the author oftwo books and a well-known rock critic in her native Austin,Texas,but there’s one fact about her they don’t know. Telling them could definitely be a problem. “You just don’t how people are going to react,”Moser confides. It’s no secret—she’s written about it scads oftimes— but Moser got her start in rock ’n’roll as a card-carrying,vinyl miniskirt-wearing,outrageous,teenage groupie who partied with the bands and entourages of Leon Russell,Joe Cocker,Bob Dylan and such lesser lights ofthe early ’70s as Blue Cheer and Poco. For most women,that would be enough debauchery to last a lifetime,but Moser came back for a second helping when the punk rock scene exploded in 1978,luring renegade rockers like the Sex Pistols to Texas concert halls. By this time,Moser had formed her own groupie posse, The Texas Blondes,who were celebrated in song and showered with free drinks,tickets and backstage passes. This time around,Moser fell in love with rock legend John Cale,one ofthe founders ofthe Velvet Under- ground.Cale and Moser would have a “Same Time,Next Year”-type relationship for five years,but for 16 years after that,she would fantasize about him one day declaring his love for her. When you come right down to it,isn’t the whole groupie thing about living your dreams? That’s the message of“The Banger Sisters,”the new comedy film starring Goldie Hawn and Susan Sarandon as middle-aged ex-groupies—one a walking anachronism,the other retrofitted into a sleek,suburban soccer Mom. In real life,as in reel life,some groupies have made a By Barbara Brotman Tribune staff reporter So what’s with all that lace? A woman might have despaired at the frilly flounces that emerged in spring clothes and to some extent have re- mained.What was a grownup to do? And what did it mean? Was female adulthood out offashion and girlish innocence in? Nope;it was just 1960s nostalgia fueled by uneasiness in an uncertain world,said MarciWatkins, who teaches fashion forecasting at Harper College in Palatine. “When 9/11 occurred,our industry had to do a complete 360 [degree turn],’’she said.“Everybody wanted simpler things; they wanted comfort....That whole hippie,freedom and love thing,the bohemian thing,was familiar.’’ “It’s reminiscent ofcomfort- able times,’’said Audrean Been,a Columbia College professor who teaches technical fashion design.“It’s people’s comfort zone,whether they are remembering back to their child- Women who partied with music stars of the Õ70s and Õ80s are now following a beat of their own They used to play RockinÕroles Above:AP photo by Jack Plunkett,right:handout photo Holding albums from the past,former groupies and longtime friends Dayna Howes (above,left) and Margaret Moser took a trip down memory lane recently at Waterloo Records in Austin,Texas.At right:Howes (left) and Moser,in a Polaroid taken in 1980 that Iggy Pop taped behind the counter at a famous Austin record shop called Inner Sanctum. INSIDE WN For next spring,Ralph Lauren offered his version of feminine flourishes. KRT photo Young and on the run Local police, White House examine the reasons teens leave home 58% of runaways are female Frills and flounce with retro flair BOOKS Hollywood mom “Everybody Loves Raymond” star Patricia Heaton talks about kids, laundry and church on Sunday. PAGE 3 STYLE Made to measure The advantages,costs and pleasures ofbuying custom-made pieces for your wardrobe. CENTERSPREAD PLEASE SEE RETRO, PAGE8 PLEASE SEE GROUPIES, PAGE7 N ot long ago, a friend called on a Friday, and asked if my husband and I could come to dinner that Saturday. What? A family with two children arranging a grownup Saturday night out with one day’s notice? What could we say? We said yes. Because the amazing fact is that those children are now 14 and 11. They can baby-sit themselves. If we want to go out on a Saturday night, all we have to do is rent a DVD. We have reached a strange and wonderful phase. Our nest is far from empty; but our birds don’t need us to catch as many worms for them. We thrilled to our babies’ first smiles and first steps. But now look: They can stay home alone on Columbus Day. They can make grilled cheese sandwiches. If we run out of snack foods, they can ride their bikes to the store and buy more. It’s more than cute; it’s transforming, for us as well as for them. They are getting their independence, and increasingly, so are we. It isn’t that we are no longer needed. In some ways, the demands are more pressing. They need us, specifically, not a caregiver. They need our attention and guidance, even when they claim not to; and though they need less of our time, they still need plenty. And while it was exhausting to satisfy our children’s physical needs, now it is exhausting in a different way to figure out how to handle their emotional needs. We are no longer awakened in the middle of the night to feed a crying baby, but we lay awake plenty of nights perplexed about a complicated teenager. Even so, parenthood seems to have loosened some of its grip. My husband and I have gone out to dinner by ourselves when it wasn’t our anniversary. I have joined a health club. Raising children is no longer an all-encompassing whirlwindbut a pleasurable part of a larger life. Going to the movies has taken on a marvelous ease. No more two-week dial-a-thons trying to find a sitter. In fact, we’re saving so much money on baby-sitting that we’re only spending about 10 times as much on the kids as we used to. When your children grow older, your own life can grow richer. A woman I know found that her world grew as her children did. “When I was in my 30s, I was very much focused on my kids. But as they got older, I was able to intermingle the adult and child worlds,’’ she said. “I was able to focus more on my health, think about diet, exercise and mental stimulation,’’ she said. And she developed friendships based on mutual interests instead of mutual children’s activities. “I have friends now ranging from in their 20s to in their 70s,’’ she said. “I really like that.’’ It’s easy to be swept up by the powerful wave of parenthood. But the wave will recede. The apron strings will still be there, but they will get longer. Your toddler will walk, then run, then spend weekends sleeping over at camp friends’ houses. Your time will return to you in waves of its own. Your former self returns, and it is a pleasure to renew the acquaintance. What kind of books did you like when you had time to read them? What kind of restaurants did you eat at before baby-sitting added $20 to the bill? What kind of exercise class would you like to take now that you can imagine taking one? Sure, the family schedule is still a killer. But you no longer need to be physically present and vigilant at all times. Your kids leave the house for hours, and occasionally days, at a time. Those hours, and occasionally days, are newly yours. It feels as if a fog has lifted. You and your fellow parents of older children are emerging from the exhausting early years, blinking in the new light. You can take a breath, look around and consider what you might want to do with your new gifts of time. Maybe they’re nature’s way of making up for adolescence. But adolescence already comes with an impressive consolation prize—watching your children grow into intriguing people who make excellent company at a coffeehouse. I thought I would grow weepy watching my babies grow up, but my eyes are delighted and dry. It is a fine stage of parental life. You may have to remind yourself of that as you endure another adolescent door- slamming, but consider the merits of the deal: You get to keep your birds under your wings, and also sometimes to spread those wings and fly. The kids grow older and life grows richer Barbara Brotman PLEASE SEE TEENS, PAGE7

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