Monday, December 1, 2014

When You're Six And A Spy

Patricia Lynne Cardella 
female tv-spy 'Honey West,'
In Southern California, in my small-child world of the 1960's, spies and 'all things spy' was all the rage.

In the adult world of the early 60's, concerns were real about the Cold War and were beamed into our homes on evening television news shows.

Our world was teetering on the edge of a war with the Russians due to their desire to expand and rule the worlld - possibly through the use of a nuclear bomb.

Thusly, in compliance with government regulations, we kids at school were required regularly to practice 'duck and cover' drills for safety from nuclear detonation.

That is, at the sound of three, short, distinct loud alarms - in the case of a random nuclear detonation - we were taught to quickly climb under our school desks for shelter from both possible exploding debris and radiation.

The duck and cover drill may seem bizarre, but somehow, evidently it seemed logical to the appropriate authorities at the time. It was a long, long time ago.

Gosh, back then we were still legally allowed, no, change that, we were still required, then, to swear allegiance to the Flag.

This "Pledge Of Allegiance," ritual was done every morning in school: in standing position, facing the flag, right hand over our hearts. True story. I know, hard to believe!

Those notorious early spy movies, Dr. No," "From Russia With Love," and "Goldfinger," came to us from the Southern California nearby city of Hollywood. My generation was introduced to the Cold War with the super-cool actor Sean Connery, playing the iconic British secret agent James Bond, aka, 007, and it was fabulous. Spies and all things spy even burst into our living rooms, first in black and white only, later in color, in television shows such as:

  • "The Man From U.N.C.L.E"
  • "Honey West"
  • "I Spy"
  • "The Avengers"
  • "Mission Impossible"

It was terrifically fun to be a kid, in the Whittier area of So. Cal. I lived large in a make-believe, spy-crazed, adventure world at home and even in otherwise-bored-moments at elementary school, at Charles T. Samuels.

I, personally, was partial to television female spy "Honey West," maybe because we were both blonde, and female.

I'd in fact taken her to Chicago with me and playing make believe, I was now lost, abandoned, in a blistering winter storm, dug in deep for comfort and well being in six feet tall snow. Everything about the current assignment was risky. But I was up for the task, that is, Honey West was.

A 6-year old Southern Californian with platinum blonde hair was now in Chicago, Illinois pretending to be female private detective, Honey West.

I really have few memories of my Daddy's parents, my Cardella grandparents, but I vividly remember this visit. The rear yard, the wallpapered dining room and the suburban, Chicago house. Their current winter snow storm was heavenly to my little girl blue eyes. It was 'postcard pretty' and evidently this snow scene prompted in my little girl brain the foundation for a real, new adventure with 'spydom'.

I was female private eye Honey West.

Sexy Honey West was in chase of renown international criminal/spy, "the Russian," as we called him, Boris Trotsky.

When you're Honey West, you're a hot chic who carries a gun! You're a black belt in Judo and you have your own 'Man Friday.'  I personally considered Sam Bolt to be more than that though, he was my partner and we were a first-rate team.

I communicated with Sam Bolt via a radio hidden in my lipstick case. So very ultra cool!

Without the American government knowing it, Boris Trotsky had entered the U.S. and stolen thousands of priceless diamonds from jewelry stores dotting all over the Chicago area. The jewels were worth millions and we knew Trotsky was even now making plans to dispatch them to the Russia, our Country's fiercest enemy.

Sam Bolt and I were top notch agents in Russian espionage. We'd know the Russian, Boris, by his distinct, tailored wool coat with Russian-sable collar and matching Russian-sable Ushanka hat. And of course, the ever present cigar stub, always in his mouth, but seldom lit.

Of all my private eye tools, my personal, favored ultra-cool spy tool was my lipstick case, two-way radio.

Being only six, I didn't even own lipstick. I improvised with a stick; I would talk into a stick.

It was imperative that I not be identified by the enemy (while also avoiding getting caught up in the yard's parameter, barbed-wire fence).

I was making my way, though, through the deep snow, most stealthly when I heard my Daddy. He was whistling to me from the concrete back steps of my Italian grandparents' home.

He was telling me that lunch was ready. Even spies get hungry. 
I was sad to give up my mission but then again happy to go into the warmth, where I quickly climbed into my daddy's lap.

He didn't care that I'd trudged in muck, wet shoes, and mess from the snow, or that I was carrying a stick. I loved him so. I was Joe's daughter. To me, my Daddy was Sam Bolt, my partner.

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