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.
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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:
“One time Jerry was over, and the pipes got jammed up. No water. At all. Jerry said, no worries. I’ll build a completely new system of pipes that will completely bypass your existing plumbing.”
“I said, Jerry, we don’t need that. He kept mumbling about legacy.”
“Another time, we took my dog for a walk. People kept coming over to me and gushing over the dog. No one really seemed to want to talk to Jerry, and he was getting pounded in the 1980 Democratic presidential primary by Carter and Kennedy. He started muttering about getting a damned dog someday.”
“Jerry was really funny. In the early 1980s, we were watching Conan the Barbarian. Jerry said, that guy cannot act. At all. And I can barely understand him. I said, yeah, but women dig him. Jerry noted that Jesuitical asceticism was the way to go, and that he would regret that woman dug him someday.”
“At the end of our relationship, Jerry was pretty cool. He was all like, no worries, no crying.”
“ He said, we’ll always have Sacramento.”