At some point almost everyone I meet has an O.J. story to tell. I will share mine: In June of 1994, Nicole Simpson and I had very little in common other than we both lived in Brentwood with two children, and both of our children went to the same schools. My older daughter, Amy, was attending Carlthorp School in Santa Monica and in September would be entering fifth grade. Sydney, the oldest of the Simpson children, would be in fourth. My younger daughter, Olivia, was in preschool at Sunshine School in Brentwood with Justin Simpson, and both were scheduled to begin kindergarten in the same class at Carlthorp in September.
June was a busy month for all of us. There were the end of the year parties for both schools and the dance recitals. This year, the Sunshine School party was at O.J.’s home in Brentwood on Rockingham, just three blocks from where we were living on Highwood. We didn’t see much of Nicole or O.J., but what we did notice was Nicole, lounging by the pool topless while we were helping with the setup.
The Carlthorp party was the following week at a home in Malibu. There were four of us gathered in a small group chatting about how we all had a student going into the fifth grade, as well as another student entering kindergarten. Most of our comments were centered around Justin, who was already known for his challenging behavior, and Nicole, who we felt wouldn’t quite fit in with our “discerning group of women.” We even mentioned this to the Head of School at some point during the party. We talked about her tight-fitting clothes and scorned her practice of flashing her panties.
My daughters’ recitals came and went quietly, but a day later while hearing the news, we realized that O.J. and Nicole had been at the same middle school auditorium on the same day, just a different time. I always wondered if our two families had passed each other along the way that day.
It was less than two week’s later that we were to find out that Nicole had been murdered. I felt so guilty having talked about her! Yes, she might not have integrated easily with the rest of the Carlthorp mothers, but she certainly didn’t deserve to die! I said this thinking if I had been less judgmental with my thoughts and comments, she might have been saved.
The majority of the parents were very frightened to welcome Sydney back and include Justin in September because we were terrified at the thought that O.J. would be roaming about. I’m pretty sure that most of the parents had words to this effect with our Head of School. In the end, we were rewarded with our wishes, but don’t think I didn’t feel a bit guilty about this, as well.
That summer wasn’t like any other summer in Brentwood. I remember remarking to my husband that it was going to be a zoo. I thought everyone from everywhere who was planning to visit Southern California that summer would be going to Disneyland, Magic Mountain, Knotts Berry Farm, Universal Studios and our neighborhood, too! And it did happen. They drove in. They bussed in. They walked the streets. They came in their convertibles with their tops down and their radios blasting. And they even had sex on the sidewalks! The morning I found a condom lying on our front lawn, we decided it was time for us to move.