"Bobby and I are so adjusted now that we're back together that it's just incredible," Sandra Dee Darin said. "We don't fight any more. We don't scream any more. We've come back to a so much more wonderful love than the one we first knew. We are so content."
Sandy's happiness radiated from her as she sat, her long lovely legs stretched out before her, in the huge living room in the house which Bobby had bought for them for their honeymoon. Sandy never used to be able to sit still for more than two minutes. This day she was completely relaxed. All around us stood packing boxes loaded with things that were presently to be carted to the new Darin home. The ugly clutter of them didn't bother young Mrs. Darin. It was the nurse's day off, and that didn't bother young Mrs. Darin in the least, either. At our feet, snuggled down in a big white satin comforter, lay Dodd Darin, rosily sleeping.
"I've learned a baby can't fall off of anything if he's on the floor," said Sandy, smiling, "and when he's practically sleeping on your toes, if he so much as breathes one irregular breath, you hear him." She beamed down at her very handsome, sturdy son, and she looked like a 1964 madonna, wearing a pink playsuit which had a long overblouse, and very short, very tight pink lace pants. On her figure, it was at once practical and sensational, which you have to admit is a dreamy combination.
She never used to know what the word practical meant. It is all part of the change in her. She even talks differently now. She used to rattle on; she was clever and witty, but obviously restless. She always has been very intelligent, but now she is more thoughtful and she speaks more slowly, appropriate to this deeper thinking.
"This will give you an idea of the dreamy state Bobby and I are in," she said. "The other night, Bobby decided to do some composing. So he holed himself up in the den. I got into bed and cuddling the baby, watched television. I might as well tell you we've got into a terrible habit, letting the baby sleep with us. We started it originally for just such times, when I'd be lying awake, early evening, like this particular evening I'm talking about. But now Dodd has got so smart and so strong, he climbs right out of his crib. He came toddling into our room the other night at three a.m. and calmly says to us, 'Move over.'"
"But this special evening, I was lying there, watching the shows. I was dreaming about our new house and I didn't even realize that four hours had drifted past, when Bobby came barreling back into our room. He was almost in tears. He looked at me and Dodd, who was, of course, fast asleep, and he said, 'I'm so damned happy I can't write.'"
Sandra grinned. "Before this," she said, "when we had a fight, he'd go write a song and I'd go pack and go thundering out someplace. But now he'd tried for four hours and he was totally uninspired. He didn't, you see, have any incentive to kill me. He was so funny, sitting there with that bewildered look on his face, that I broke into laughter and I said, 'I'll oblige you with a fight if you want one.' That made Bobby laugh, too. He declined my kind offer."
At our feet Dodd Darin stirred and raised his head. 'Ma?' he said in a sleepy little voice. Sandy leaned down and kissed him. "Yes, darling," she said. That did it. He went right back to sleep again.
"This is the happiest baby," said the happiest mother. "I don't want him to get spoiled. Now he's so generous. You can say to him in his playground, where he'll have other babies to play with, 'Give the little girl one of your toys,' and he will. He just loves everything and everyone. And that's why I want to have another baby as soon as I can, before Dodd goes on too long being an only child. I want a little girl, and so does Bobby." Her eyes became suddenly serious. "I was an only child," she said, "but Bobby has brothers and sisters, and the warmth they all feel for one another is just, well, inspirational."
"In terms of my career, any time now would be the perfect time for me to have another baby. I have Take Her, She's Mine out. I'm making I'd Rather Be Rich and the studio has just informed me that three weeks after I finish that one, I go into another."
Her voice becomes suddenly ironic. "At the studio right now," she said, "somebody is always around telling me how great it is to have four years between your children. The other day, one of our top studio executives came visiting me on the set of I'd Rather Be Rich and he spent all his time telling me how there was four years between him and all his brothers and sisters and how that had worked out just dandy for his family. I kept saying 'Yes? Well, I think for the Darins three years is the right interval.' He said, 'You do? Three years?' and I said, 'Yes, sir, three years.'" Sandra laughed softly. "That's the way I hope it will be," she said. "Dodd was two, just before Christmas. So if I could give him a baby sister as a present for next Chritmas, I'll be so happy. I am thinking already about all the things I want to do and say to him so he won't be jealous of the new baby. Bobby has nothing but love for the members of his family. That's how I want it to be with Dodd." She paused. "What a lot of difference five lonely months make," she said, smiling.
It was, as you probably remember, five full months that Sandra and Bobby were separated. Neither of them ever said they expected to be divorced. In fact Bobby never said anything, which is his fashion, as he does not like to talk for publication. He had been moved out of their house for more than a month before the news broke, but there never was a time during their separation that he didn't have access to their honeymoon house any time he wished to call and see the baby. At first, Sandy would go out, when she knew he was calling, or stay in another part of the house, but gradually, she began talking to Bobby, at first by telephone, later in person. It was for Sandy a difficult maturing period. Only 18 when she married, and pregnant three months later, her trouble wasn't her youth--but she was precocious and over-indulged. Like most over-indulged people, she was quite unaware of it. She had always, serenely, had her own way about everything.
Sandy confessed, sitting there in the honeymoon house she was so happily leaving, "Our first two years together Bobby and I fought over everything but now that we are back together, we fight about nothing. It's weird and blissful. That first year there wasn't a thing we couldn't start a quarrel over. If you're as quick tempered as I am and you don't have a money problem, which we didn't, or a people problem, which we didn't, you just find something else to fight about. We fought about the weather, the time, dinner, nightclubs, movies."
Bobby isn't quick tempered. He's a saint, really. He's got such patience with people. But when he blows up, look out. I'd rather be like me, to tell the truth. I blow and it's over. Bobby keeps it in. He keeps it in and then, suddenly, over something very simple, he'll blow."
"We fought, like children fight--senselessly. Now I know that we were fighting one another's personalities, instead of accepting them. I think Bobby was trying too much to be a man and I was trying too much not to be dependent. It got to be a big thing with me, until we separated and I found out that doing exactly what I wanted to do, any time, all the time, wasn't such a big ball--if nobody cared at all. Once I satisfied an old ambition of mine: I went out all alone at three in the morning. What a letdown that was. Nobody cared when I went or when I came in."
Bobby went east on business, which meant he wasn't stopping by the house to see Dodd. Sandy, on long distance phone, wondered how she might join him. Bobby told her he was giving up all his nightclub engagements, something she had always wanted. He also told her he was taking a vacation, and he indicated that she might take it with him. Perhaps you remember that they were married over a weekend and returned to work the following Monday. They had even met while working together. Actually, they had never had any time quite alone together.
"When I got to New York," Sandy said, "I discovered Bobby had rented a trailer. He drove us up to an isolated spot in the Catskill Mountains and for the first time in our marriage we were just by ourselves. We had no phone. We had no TV. We were really in the wilderness. We parked by a stream, which provided our only running water. I'd never cooked before, especially trout that my husband, and I, too, caught out of that stream. I certainly had never washed dishes in a brook either. But there, in that quiet, crazy trailer, Bobby and I began to know one another."
"Next I went down to New York with my husband. He was living in a one-room apartment with a pull-down bed, which he'd sublet from a buddy of his. There was no maid, no cook. He couldn't have had them because there was no space where they could have stood, let alone worked. The so-called kitchen was a tiny closet. Bobby and I lived there for a month. It was heaven."
"In that little apartment of Bobby's, if I wanted a glass of water in the night, I couldn't get it because the bed reached the wall on both sides. You couldn't shut off the TV unless you crawled out of bed and went all the way around. But we were so happy there that it was stupid, our big, big happiness in that tiny room."
"I did the cleaning, the dishes, the floors. I put the garbage out and I was delighted that nobody recognized us in the whole building. I never went out except to get groceries. Bobby would have to be out on business during the day, but in the evenings, we just never stirred."
"This went on for three weeks until we began missing the baby too much. It was the longest we'd ever been away from him and it began to get unbearable. So we called home to have him come join us."
"It is fantastic what a baby can do to its parents. From one room we had to move into four, in a very fashionable hotel, where we could get anything at an instant's notice. We had to hire an extra baby nurse and we got one of those very starched, British types, who was always referring to our suite as 'the maastah suite' and Bobby as 'the maastah' himself. The hotel was so crowded, you see, we hadn't been able to get two suites together, so the baby and the nurses were right down the hall from us. I'd phone and say, 'Bring the baby over to us for breakfast,' because at home I always have breakfast and dinner with him, even when I'm working, and the nurse would say, 'A baby's breakfast in the maastah's suite?'" Sandy giggled. "That's the only thing that bothers me when I think about the new baby. I'll have to cope with still another nurse. The other day I got such a shock. I asked my mother if she'd come baby-sit for me while I did some shopping and she said, 'No.' Just no. In her whole life, my mother has never said no to me about anything and here she was, telling me to cope with my own problem. By the time I picked myself up off the floor, I decided she was right. So I didn't go shopping and my mother did. It was as simple as that."
She laughed softly. "There's nothing like getting perspective, I guess, whether it's on yourself or your mother or your husband or love itself."
"The Darins have got a marriage now," she said. "We've got happiness now. We've bought a new house which is about 35 years old--a very old house for California--but it is so lovely. It's a home. You have only to step into it to know that people have known a lot of love there, and given the house itself a lot of love."
"It is on Toluca Lake and when you open the drapes and see the lake, it is as though you were miles away from everything. Yet fantastically, it is only, ten minutes away from the studio. It's an old Spanish house, with a proper upstairs amd down, and a real dining room, and a huge playroom. It is surrounded by a real orchard with lots of orange trees, and there are lots of flower beds and a real vegetable garden."
"That leaves us with three houses, and we must sell this honeymoon house. We should have sold that first, of course, but we did so want the other place, we didn't stop to think twice. The honeymoon house was a man's type of house, all big rooms, right on a main road. We bought an extra lot to give Dodd a place to play, but when he gets a little older he'll be able to open doors and go out--and here he'd be right in the traffic. Bobby selected this house and I don't hold it against him at all. I was pregnant when he bought it and very ill. I didn't help him one bit; he even took care of the decoration. But when Dodd came, and we began really living in the place, we saw it was just great for parties--say 30 or 50 people--and not one bit of good for just a family. It is really a house without intimacy."
"But the new house just sings of home. There's a wall all around it, so that it will be a wonderful place for children to play safely. Everything about it spells quiet and permanence. Bobby's so crazy about it that ever since we bought it he's been counting the days until we can move into it. He wakes up and says, 'Three weeks and four days to go,' or 'three days and three weeks' or whatever it is."
"I bought him a boat for Christmas, a kind of glorified rowboat he can use on the lake. He bought me so many things I'm almost ashamed to count them up."
Sandy drew a happy sigh. "We've come to discover, Bobby and I, that we are so much alike--and I thought we were so different or at least that I was, anyhow. Actually, we are both homebodies. We love one another. We adore Dodd and I'm sure we will go out of our minds over a little girl."
We're having a projection room put into the new house, which will be the greatest, because then we'll never go out. Sometimes we may have a few friends in to look at a movie, but more times there will be just us and Dodd."
"I won't say that we will never, never get a divorce. I think it is silly to say a thing like that. I'd rather say that I am completely happy today. I see no problems in our life today. I don't know what tomorrow will bring but today is just fine. I appreciate Bobby now. I know what a fine husband I have. During our separation I had a chance to go out with other people and I found they were not all such little rosebuds you want to cherish."
"Bobby will never become a dull husband. He's so affectionate. He never leaves the house without kissing me good-bye. He never comes home without making a big to-do about it. He's not the type who comes in and yells 'I'm home.' He never hangs up on a call to me without saying 'I love you.' I feel self-conscious saying that before people, but Bobby doesn't. And he means it."
"Bobby's really a man. He's too big to be jealous of my career. His is twice as big as mine and always will be because he is so talented. But we get a lot of stimulus from our work and then, when we are home together, it is so peaceful. I know now that I can run my house, do the cooking, take care of my babies and all that--but I must admit I prefer acting. I want to use my mind. As for my heart, that's in Bobby's keeping."
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