Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Back when I was working hard enough to feel I deserved, and could afford, a semi-extravagant vacation once in a while (I never took even half of the weeks off to which I was entitled), we went a few times to a secluded and laid-back resort on the Big Island of Hawaii. It was the sort of place where the occasional celebrity went, too, to avoid crowds, have some peace and quiet, figure that others there wouldn't bother them. A peaceful place with individual hales for each family, some on the beach, some on ancient ponds, most free from intruding views of their neighbors, it had no TVs or phones, but a private beach, amenities and tasty meals included. (Sadly, it's the only resort in all of Hawaii to have been hit hard enough by the recent tsunami that it's still closed.)
Whitney Houston was there on one of our visits. She was with another woman, beautiful, black, just the two of them. They were very quiet and private, but they played in the surf together and were obviously having fun, delighted in each others' company. Little kids were attracted to the pair, who played with them like kids themselves. The rest of us gave them their space.
At the time, my wife and I wondered if the two were a couple, but didn't think much about it. Now, it seems they may have been. How tragic if the real reason for her self-destruction was her inability to be public about who she was, her belief (probably realistic at the time) that if people knew, they'd reject her.
Other than that she was strikingly beautiful and gifted with a rare vocal talent, I don't know much about Whitney Houston. I don't know which I'd rather believe: that her husband was responsible for her ruination or that it was a family- and religiously-imposed sense of shame over who she was.