One of the enduring national tropes about Gov. Jerry Brown is his relationship with Linda Ronstadt. At the time he was dating her in the 1970s, it was a rather novel concept for a state’s governor to date a rock star. In retrospect, it all seems rather silly.
It’s California, baby. This is how we roll.
Linda Ronstadt’s memoir was released this week. In it, she described Brown as smart and funny, and that was never really a question for me. Ronstadt also wrote about an incident where the young governor invited himself along to a dinner she was attending with Rosemary Clooney, the great singer and aunt of you-know-who. Brown didn’t have a little gift to bring, so he grabbed a bouquet of roses Ronstadt and had received, removed the card, and basically said, let’s take these. She’ll never know.
Now, I am not against this sort of thing. I may well have done something like it, or worse. Bottles of wine orbiting the yuppie solar system come immediately to mind. Some of them may never be consumed. So, that didn’t bug me. This incident was cited as somehow illustrative of Brown’s frugal nature. Um, maybe.
In the words of Gavin Newsom, ugh, God, can you imagine having your former relationships written about?
I know this is how memoirs work, and I can assure that I wouldn’t want any of my former relationship people to write a memoir about me.
Mistakes were made.
But if the worst thing Jerry Brown did was repurpose a bunch of flowers, he’s getting off easily. Ronstadt’s memoir was heavily edited, and these are some of the redacted excerpts: