He saw the young au pair on Cahuenga Boulevard in Hollywood, and maybe it was her sparkling blue eyes, her blond hair or the fact it was the ‘60s. But the young man named Bill was anything but bashful as he approached the 20-year-old woman.
“You’re cute,” he told Solvor Haga.
It was a long time ago, and many of the details have faded from memory. But 42 years later, Haga -- whose last name is now Bore -- is desperately seeking Bill, and she’s asking for your help. The slightest clue, from anybody out there, could help her crack the case of the missing lover.
In the three months she dated Bill, Bore fell in love. But when she returned to Norway for a two-week holiday in February of 1963, an old boyfriend resurfaced and begged her to stay. Bore reluctantly agreed, and then realized she was pregnant with Bill’s baby.
In the most agonizing year of her life, she quit the au pair job in Brentwood, remained in Norway and gave up her baby for adoption. Bill knew nothing about any of this, because Bore wasn’t sure how to get in touch with him or what to say.
Bore never laid eyes on her baby. “I didn’t even know if it was a boy or a girl,” she said. “It’s very emotional and painful to even talk about it.”
Five years ago, Bore got a letter from the child she’d never known.
“I was always thinking that someday, I wanted to find her,” said the daughter, Elisabeth Moe, now 41.
They lived a day’s drive away from each other in Norway. Bore, who worked in a clothing store, had married and had two sons with the man who talked her out of returning to California, but he was dying of cancer. Moe, who ran a website for a company newsletter, had three children and had recently divorced.
Mother and daughter arranged to meet for a weekend, and they were nervous as the date approached. But shortly after they united for the very first time, they felt natural together.
“We talked, talked, talked, cried, laughed,” Bore said. “It was the journey of my life, with all kinds of emotion -- sorrow, joy. Everything.”
For Moe, there was just one thing missing from the picture.
Her natural father.
“You just want to know who you look like in the world,” said Moe, who calls her adoptive parents her mother and father. It was her adoptive mother who encouraged her to trace her natural parents.
Two years ago, Bore and Moe placed an ad in the L.A. Times with a picture of Bore that was taken in 1962, the year Bill fell for her.
“Bill,” said the ad, “do you recognize this Norwegian girl from 1962-63?”
(You can find that same photo at the end of this column).
The ad drew lots of responses from movie producers, a few wannabe Bills, and a nut ball or two. But the real Bill didn’t surface.
Now, two years after placing the ad, Bore and Moe are in Los Angeles on a three-week mission to find him. Someone referred them to me, and the two Norwegian women asked if I could hook them up with the “missing persons” unit of the Los Angeles Police Department.
Forget the police, I advised.
For starters, Bill’s not missing, technically. Another little problem is that Bore can’t remember his last name.
“You have 5,900 Bills in Los Angeles,” said Moe, who checked on the Internet.
Another problem is that Bore doesn’t remember where Bill lived. He always picked her up at her au pair home in Brentwood, in a car Bore doesn’t recall by make, model or color.
“I think you call it repressed memory,” she said.
Bore says she was so traumatized by her broken romance and the child it produced that she blocked out many of the details of her three months with Bill. Recently she tried hypnosis in Norway, but the session produced nothing, really, except that while under the spell, Bore muttered the name “Brandon,” which made her wonder if that could be Bill’s last name.
Bill Brandon, are you out there?
From Norway, Bore and Moe sent letters to 16 California Brandons named Bill or William, but couldn’t make a connection.
He may have moved, of course. Or he could be in his grave.
I checked a list of Vietnam casualties and found no Brandon from California.
Bore says Bill was between 2 and 5 years older than she was, which would put him in his mid- to late-60s today. He was a young man of medium height and build, with dark blond hair, and he told her he was in the real estate business.
With the help of Lynda Larsen, a private detective in downtown Los Angeles, I got a phone number for a retired real estate agent named Bill Brandon, who lives in Hemet.
“It’s not me,” said Brandon, who says he was living in Colorado in the 1960s.
Of course, Bore’s Bill might not have been a Brandon at all.
“I always start from the beginning and work back from there,” said Larsen, meaning we should start at the site of Bore’s first encounter with Bill.
That would be on Cahuenga.
When she was off-duty, Bore often went dancing with other au pairs, and she vaguely recalls something called the Towne Club and a Danish dance hall in Hollywood. In an address book from the time she was dating Bill, she scribbled 1734 Cahuenga, and suspects she met him at that location.
Today, that address is home to White Lotus, a trendy dance club. The owner told me it was previously the Continental, the Crush and a bus station.
Bore went to 1734 Cahuenga on Thursday afternoon with Moe, and couldn’t remember anything except that there didn’t used to be so much traffic.
During their three-month romance, Bill took Bore to restaurants she can’t remember by name, drive-in movies, and a turnout somewhere in the hills, where the young lovers looked out on the lights of the city.
I can’t imagine Bill wouldn’t have bragged at least a little bit, to someone, about the au pair he hooked up with. Or maybe he cried on someone’s shoulder when his honey disappeared.
And Bill, if you’re out there, be advised that they’re not after your money or any kind of commitment. Whether you live in Beverly Hills or on skid row, they just want to say hey and hello, it’s been a while.
Steve Lopez can be reached at email@example.com.