Monday, August 16, 2004

Brooke Shields At 40


I have a vague but solid recollection that during my Junior 2 year at the UN School, a pretty young teenager named Brooke and "her people" met with some kids from my class weekly to put on a Thanksgiving finger puppet show that, ultimately, never happened. I cannot be 100 percent sure of this, as I was 9 at the time, and, to be frank, I don't know how you go about factchecking a school program 24 years after the fact, but I'm pretty sure it was her. There were not too many teenage VIPs named "Brooke" in 1979 who could disrupt the studies of the children of world diplomats ("diplobrats").

At the time, celebrity sightings and "projects" involving kids were a big thing at UNIS -- remember, the 70s were the Carter years, where the UN received unprecedented prestige -- but, more often than not, everything was abandoned and the self-indulgent celebs left the UN school teachers to explain to mystified kids why whatever they had had in the pipeline quite simply wasn't going to occur. Welcome to Hollywood.

Anyhoo: every Thursday, for several weeks, we were pulled out of our classroom, sent to the Library, where we "discussed," with a disinterested young Brooke and, more interested people, how our puppet show would be commandeered. I think a script was produced, although, even now, I'm not sure, but there was the task of making the puppets, which duly evaporated. I was to be Squanto.

Like a true Gemini, Brooke pulled out, or, perhaps, her agent or people did, whatever. I'm sure it sounded like a good publicity deal at the time until the work involved in pulling it off got in the way of a good international kids photo op. I do remember being disappointed that no one ever mentioned the fact that Old Brookie flaked out on this Thanksgiving puppet show, what, with 1979 being the UN Year of the Child and all.

I cannot say my childhood was ruined as a result of that, though, but I was surprised when -- fast forward to 2004 -- reading the excellent New York Mag this morning, re: Brookie, it said:

"Brooke Shields was only 15 when Calvin Klein had her pronounce, 'I�ve got seven Calvins in my closet, and if they could talk, I�d be ruined,' and we didn�t believe it. It�s still hard to. But Brooke was never the 'living, breathing doll' that Warhol described her as being, and that we probably all agreed she was. She�s a real woman, nearly 40, who does yoga at Jivamukti and carries her child on the subway in a Baby Bj�rn. After her divorce from Andre Agassi, and the end of Suddenly Susan, in 2000, she started over with Spin City writer Chris Henchy. It took more than a year of aggressive fertility treatments to have their daughter, Rowan Francis, last year, but for all the joy the baby brought them, Shields got severe postpartum depression. Now she�s writing a book, to be called Down Came the Rain, to help other mothers who suffer the way she did ..."

Alls forgiven, Brooke -- if indeed that was Brooke. And, good luck on the book.

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