How My Mother and Father Met

by Mike Shea on 23 January 2007

Back in the very early 1970s both my mother and my father worked at Playboy; my father as an editor for the Playboy forum or Playboy advisor (where he and Bob Wilson got all of the kooky ideas for Illuminatus) and my mom worked in the art department. Today she posted about her liking of the show Girls Next Door - a show I like myself but not for the obvious reasons. I emailed her about it and she shared the following story of how she and my father met:

I was hired to work at Playboy as a secretary in the art department working for the big ego: Art Paul, who designed the Playboy Bunny. I worked at the reception desk as a relief person, so an hour a day or so. The first week I was there, it was lunch time, and I was sitting on the 9th floor reception. I had been doing community theater in Minneapolis and was still dating an actor, and I was sitting there reading a small book of Ibsen plays. Bob walked by with his friend and they couldn't believe it...quite the impressive reading material for a beautiful blonde :-).

They had to decide at lunch who was going to ask me out first. Bob won.

He asked me to have lunch. I told him that I probably could not go to lunch, since I only had an hour because I was on the reception desk and there was no leeway. He said, "I'll get you back in an hour." So, the next day we had lunch. He walked me across the street and took my arm, which I thought was incredibly gentlemanly. He took me to a place on Rush Street, where we had a hamburger and he had a strawberry milkshake, which also impressed me. He paid, tipped well, and walked me back to work -- exactly on time.

I just thought he was the nicest person I had ever met.

Right away we got into a turmoil because I was dating someone else and had to break up with him, and it was all big drama. But I knew that I needed to see more of Bob Shea. He was also dating someone else--a hippie girl who had long brown hair--and had to break up with her.

Everyone was quite excited that Bob Shea and the new girl were becoming an item. And the boys in the art department started treating me with more respect and stopped hitting on me.

At Playboy, if you were a new pretty girl, you would get a hand written invitation delivered to your desk asking you to come "unescorted" to a party at the mansion. I got one. I was excited. But the darn party didn't start until 10 p.m. and they wanted you to arrive no earlier than that. So I had to get all dolled up at my apartment and then WAIT to go to the mansion. Took a cab. Arrived unescorted. It was scary. So I went into the room, and saw some of the fellows form the art department who I knew and hung out with them. I was totally turned off by the minor celebrities and hangerson there. Hef was in his jammies and had Barbi Benton fever at the time. He really went crazy for her. Bob Shea and I would go to the movie nights together. That was much more fun. Those crazy guys from the art department would go to the cigar humidor and load up their pockets, hehe. They were nere do wells and I loved those guys. Very very funny people. We ate their food and watched their movies and I tried to see what the attraction was about the silly looking guy in the jammies.

It was fun. I was only there 9 months, and then I left to go to work at J Walter Thompson. I wasn't cut out to be only a pretty face.

It's wonderful to get details like this about one's life. I'm fascinated.