Tracy Thomas, one of FLIP’s groovy girls in Hollywood, completes her make-believe diary which she started last month. In it, she imagines what it would be like to live next door to Mike and Phyllis Nesmith (who, by the way, are expecting their second child—a brother or sister for Christian—early next year). Last month, Tracy was last seen leaving the Nesmith’s mile-high house. This month, we join her as she returns from another visit…
December 24, 1966
Just returned from the neighbor’s house. I was helping them wrap gifts for Christian. They bought him so many groovy things! Mike was excited (although he wouldn’t admit it) about being at home with his family on Christmas. Evidently whatever he does for a living does not allow him to be at home very often. You should see him play with Christian. He’s very cute when he talks to him, especially in that accent. He says, “Well, now Christian, and how was your day, eh? How many mud pies did you turn out today? Oh, sort of an off-day, huh?” And Christian cooes and gurgles and says the toddler equivalent of “Cool it, Dad.” I must say that it’s funny to call Mike a dad—he’s just a boy himself. He takes the responsibility of being a father very seriously however, as I understand that he was fatherless most of his childhood. He often mentions how much he wishes he could spend more time with his child, and speaks sort of wistfully about the “old days” when there wasn’t much money but at least he was at home. And Phyllis says, “Now… Mike…” and he admits that he’s really happier now. But I have a feeling that he is striving after something bigger and better, if you know what I mean. Something that will involve his creative talents completely. Maybe the new year will bring him the opportunity he needs.
March 13, 1967
It has been very quiet here for several months. I have been working very hard and so have not seen much of my neighbors, although they will drop by occasionally to say hello and see if I need anything. They have the typical Southern hospitality, I suppose. Mike and Phyllis have been very quiet themselves. During the day I sometimes hear Phyllis and Christian outside and at night I think I hear Mike playing his guitar. He’s quite good, I think. And sometimes they have visitors, but all in all, not much “excitement.” Mike did come up yesterday and while we were talking, he mentioned that over these months, he’s been sort of sitting back and looking at his position in life and trying to fall back and regroup,” though not in the rock and roll sense of the word. He does not look as tired and haggard as he used to at times.
May 4, 1967
The neighbors have returned from their vacation. Although the silence was nice for a while, it did begin to irritate me and I must admit that I am glad to have them back. Mike was not altogether thrilled with England, I gather. “Not as ‘swinging’ as advertised,” he said. Phyllis got some new clothes; Mike didn’t. They stayed with a gentleman named John Lennon, I gathered, for a few days, which they enjoyed. I suppose I was to have recognized that name, as they seemed surprised that I didn’t. Is he an author, I wonder?
May 28, 1967
Today, as you know, was my birthday and it certainly was a nice one. Mike and Phyllis came up with a cake and a present, a color television set. They were so pleased and thrilled that I didn’t have the heart to tell them that a TV set was the last thing in the world that I wanted or needed. However, it’s just the right height to put my typewriter on, so it will be of some use. I can’t help but note how kind and sincere these people are. Very human, if you know what I mean. Although Mike is apparently very successful, he is not at all big-headed or constantly flaunting his success. I think it’s because they stick to the proverbial “simple things” in life. Their expensive house and clothing are their only real extravagances, although neither is excessively so. Just comfortable.
June 12, 1967
Well, something exciting indeed happened today! It started off badly—my eyes were bothering me, so I went to the doctor and he said I shouldn’t strain them so much and suggested I watch a bit of television occasionally to relieve them. I began to say that I didn’t have a TV set to watch, when I remembered Mike and Phyllis’ birthday present to me. You see, I had forgotten it as the Mexican shawl that Clancy purchased for me in Acapulco is laying over it, hiding the picture tube. So when I returned home, I turned the machine on. The color was delightful, although I found my worst expectations about TV shows were correct. That is, until after dinner, when a rather amusing show came on. It was about four young men, who are rock and roll musicians. Imagine my surprise when I recognized one of the quartet as my next door neighbor, Mike! He was quite funny on the show and so were the others. I can still hardly believe it.
June 13, 1967
I spoke to Mike today and mentioned that I had seen his television show. He laughed and asked how I liked it. I said it was very funny. Then he and Phyllis and I went over to that old, old house on the other side of mine, you remember it, don’t you? Well, it seems a friend of theirs was moving in so we helped. It’s another hip-looking person, a boy, short with dark longish hair and a foreign accent, English or German perhaps. I wonder what he does for a living. Oh, Mike said that his group has several record albums out, I must remember to purchase them. And a record player.