Before I was Princess Rosebud, I was Rowdy Rosie.
But only for a summer…the summer of 1975.
Yuppers. Way before there was a Tugboat Man.
Even before the birth of Angel Boy.
Directly after graduation from San Diego State University and before graduate school, I went East.
East to Colorado. Steamboat Springs, to be exact.
I’m not sure I remember anymore what the impetus was that drove us there (literally) — my boyfriend and I set forth June 1975 for a bit of an adventure.
I had just turned twenty-one a month prior, just had my first cocktail — a banana daiquiri — at a bar on El Cajon Boulevard that no longer exists; The Rathskellar. Anyone remember it?
I told my RN mom we were leaving the same day we made that spur-of-the-moment decision.
We didn’t have a place to stay, we didn’t know anyone, but that’s the essence of an adventure, right?
Steamboat Springs wasn’t at all commercialized at that point. Things were just beginning to heat up. It was already known for its Champagne Snow, but the condos were just starting to be built and it retained a dusty western cowboy and horses feeling.
The first thing I did when we arrived was to dress like the natives; Frye cowboy boots, cowgirl hat, and a jean jacket. When in Rome, right? The jean jacket pictured is the lone survivor of that steamy Steamboat summer.
There was a SS Urban Myth: It was called the Steamboat Bug. If you arrived as a couple, you’d be broken up almost immediately. THIS WAS PAR-TAY CIT-AY. Wild and raucous parties abounded seven days a week. There were so many guys. SO MANY GUYS. Once again, SO. MANY. GUYS. Ahem. Good times. I mean, GOOOOD Times. Sigh.
True to the urban myth, my guy and I broke up. I think he went back to San Diego, not sure, ‘cos the car we came in was mine. Ooopsie. My bad. Sorry…
I found a house to share with a couple of other wandering dog owning vegetarians and got a part-time job at a liquor store on the outskirts of town. I don’t believe I worked there for more than a week or so; I was missing out on too much fun, so I quit.
I’m not a very WILD girl; mostly I’m a clean-a-holic and kinda quiet, read a lot of books, ballet dancer, always exercising and playing with my dogs; I shouldn’t fail to mention my dogs (Sabrina and Beowulf) were my traveling companions along with the forgotten about bf.
For that one summer my inner Taylor Swift emerged. No drugs, just a lot of dating – yeah, we’ll call it dating. Blush…
My wild is pretty tame compared to most; but it was a let-your-hair-down freedom for me.
This is where I smoked my first and last cigarette. Simply to try and look cool, I lit up a Virginia Slims (with the pretty flowers on the filter, remember?) It was totally gross, and I figured out that’s just not for me, plus I didn’t like the waste of money. Not my vice.
I made a name for myself that summer: Rowdy Rosie.
Not because of any kind of promiscuity, but for one reason: I loved to go out and dance. The disco dance rage at that time was “The Bump“. Have you heard of that or am I too old? (Don’t answer that.) The Bump was pretty suggestive and kinda dirty.
One night at a bar with sawdust on the floors and cowboy hats everywhere you looked, there was a Bump Contest. For the first time ever, my years and years of ballet served me well: I’m VERY flexible.
I won the contest!
I can’t remember what the prize was, but that’s the first time I was referred to as Rowdy Rosie — and it stuck. I was the most popular dance partner ever. Tales of that night were the talk of the town. I was famous — or infamous. Rowdy Rosie OWNED it.
What’s super weird about that summer is that one of my bestest friends with whom I danced at Madame Kaliskis’ Ballet Studio in North Park – found her way to Steamboat, too. For some reason, she was living in a tree, but I can’t remember why.
Eventually, she came back to San Diego and we’ve sorta stayed in touch ever since.
Here’s a bump dance vid, check out the shiny polyester shirts; yup, I had a few, I confess.
It was long ago and lots I don’t remember but one of the highlights was going to Strawberry Park Hot Springs, located about seven miles north of SS.
It was SOOO much fun.
I couldn’t find any old photos and the ones on the internet only show it all built up, and that’s not the way it was when I was there, so no pics.
Originally discovered by the Ute Indians, they believed that the steam rising from the Strawberry Park Hot Springs contained their creator’s essence, and soaked to rejuvenate their soul.
In the 1970s, neighbors continuously complained about the crazy wild parties (oh yeah!) at Strawberry Park Hot Springs and it was eventually sold to a private owner who made it into a beautiful, peaceful natural setting.
Eventually, I came back to start grad school so I could get a teaching credential.
The seventies gave way to the eighties, Rowdy Rosie retired on her laurels, Angel Boy was born, and then I met my tugboat man and became Princess Rosebud.
But I can still dance the Bump like a pro — oh yes, I can, and especially when I wear that vintage jean jacket. Yee haw!