Son of Susi Q


Turning Point

By Chris Quilter

A while ago, in a fit of candor, I lamented to my brother Patrick: “I’m turning into Mom.” With timing honed by years in ”Lagunatics” playing Homeless Man Number One and the Greeter, he paused, appeared genuinely puzzled, and replied, “Turning?”

It’s one of life’s more humbling experiences: not just that moment of stunning clarity that compels us to admit that the fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree, but the realization that the fruit is the tree. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, don’t worry. You will.

For a decade before her death in 2002, Elizabeth “Liz” Quilter wrote “The Diary of Susi Q” for the Coastline, helmed (the word she would use) by Jerry Ledbetter and then Stu Saffer, whom she gladly followed when he launched the Indy. A column in the Indy, Chris? How original. Nevertheless, in no way is my column going to be like her column. Got it?

For one thing, Mom never wrote about the Susi Q Senior Center. I’m on the board of Laguna Beach Seniors, which runs what the dudes in the Ping Pong Club call “the Q.” We’re passionate about living it up for the rest of our lives in the town we love—and looking out for one another. Given Laguna’s topography, our youth-obsessed culture, and a demographic age wave that’s looking increasingly like a tsunami, we have our work cut out for us. I want to write about that…not like Mom did, of course, in some of her best columns about what she called life’s banana peels.

Given Mom’s penchant for laughing at life, I’m sorry to report she never saw “Lagunatics,”  the annual musical parody revue that’s been milking the town’s scared cows for laughs since 1992. In recent years, I’ve been co-writing the show with its creator, producer and resident diva Bree Burgess Rosen, who runs one of the better sandboxes in town. We guarantee that October’s “Lagunatics 20th Anniversary: Schlock & Awe” will be the best ever because it’s the “best of.” After that? In this town, the show will never lack for material, but I’m thinking of hanging it up. I’ll be 70 by the time “Lagunatics 2013” rolls around. True, our family motto is “You’re only young once, but you can be immature forever.” Still: 70. How is it possible—assuming it is? I hope to get some columns out of that as well.

But enough about me. Tell me about yourself. Have you read my column?

Today’s Affirmation: “I think age is a very high price to pay for maturity.” —Tom Stoppard

Coming up: Astounding End-of-Life Tales; Who Are You Calling a Senior and Other Fighting Words; Shy About Retiring?


Laguna resident Chris Quilter is on the boards of Laguna Beach Seniors and No Square Theatre.

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  1. Another Quilter-penned “Pile o Piffle”?? I’m quite excited (and proud)! And yes, while us lucky ones get to grow old (better than the alternative), one can never be forced to grow up (you’re not the boss of me…so there!). Looking forward to more piffle about foibles, age-related or otherwise 😉


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