The Digital Journalist

Photograph by William Claxton


Carol was my first "serious" girlfriend. We met at Glendale High School in Glendale, California. She was tall and had a bump on her nose. I was tall and skinny and had a bump on my nose. We were not included with the "in crowd." She was not the cheerleader type; and I was definitely not the football letterman type. We found that we had similar passions like music of all kinds, and movies. I would walk her home after school, and her mother would make us oatmeal cookies and milk while we listened to our 78-rpm records of Sarah Vaughan, Dizzy Gillespie, and Frank Sinatra.

In those days in our high school you were a Bing Crosby fan or a Frank Sinatra fan. Carol and I were vehement Sinatra fans.

Every Thursday afternoon I would borrow my father's car to take Carol to the NBC Radio Studios at Sunset and Vine in Hollywood, where we would line up to get front-row seats for the broadcast. Sinatra would walk on stage for the live show with his first message: "This FS for OG." His sponsor at the time was Old Gold cigarettes. Sinatra would look at Carol when he sang. It made me furious. But I did enjoy his music. Years later, when I worked photographing Sinatra, I mentioned those days, and he said that he remembered usÉ "the skinny kids who were always in the front row."

During our senior year, Carol was discovered by a model agency and began appearing first in Los Angeles Times fashion advertisements and then moving up to Seventeen, McCall's, Charm, and then to Vogue and Harper's Bazaar. Only then was she invited to join the elite girls' clique. Some of the guys in the male elite group liked jazz, so I made contact with them. They began inviting me to the "important" parties for the "important" guys and girls.

I graduated from UCLA and later became a photographer. Carol moved to New York and became a successful model. She married photographer Francesco Scavullo, divorced him, and then married banker Bert Taylor. They had a beautiful apartment on Fifth Avenue overlooking Central Park. They had a baby girl whom they named Daisy.

Carol died of breast cancer in 1985. During her last days, I sent her cards with photos of cats on them to try and cheer her up. I was told that Frank Sinatra sent flowers to her memorial service.

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