But that place is always in my heart. If you're from Cleveland and you do something good, those people will love you forever. In fact, they'll love you even if you're just passing through. Tom Hanks spent one summer there in the seventies, watching the Indians while he was working at the Great Lakes Shakespeare Festival, and he's considered a hometown boy.
Now, lest you think my life all too good to be true, my growing up was not without its very own "Movie of the Week" devastation. In 1971, when I was twelve, my mom had a brain aneurysm and died. Don't think that hasn't cost me a pretty penny in therapy over the years.
It's a bit rough getting a mortality wake-up call at that age. But it makes you realize that challenges, difficulties, and bad breaks are not the worst things that can happen to you. So later on, when you don't get that big part in the Porky's reunion movie, you still get that very real feeling of "Hell, at least I ain't dead!"
But what really irritates me are some people's two-bit analyses regarding showbiz folks and the drive for fame. I've been asked if my mother's death propelled me into the acting world, desperate for the love I lost.
I say Ha! When I was in the second grade at St. Raphael's, seven years before my mom died, I told Sister Delrina I could sing the entire Color Me Barbra album, and then proceeded to perform it, not only for my own class but for five others as well.
You want to blame someone for me being an attention-starved, "Look at me, look at me," messed-up, sociopathically needy showbiz person? The buck stops here, my friend. I'm healthy.
And I've got the childhood to prove it.
Excerpted from Motherhood and Hollywood by Patricia Heaton, Copyright 2002 by Patricia Heaton. Excerpted by permission of Villard, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.