25 years ago....
From the Miami News, Dec. 18, 1986.
Back in the day, there were two Coppertone signs in Miami.
One was on Biscayne Blvd. and the other was at the Golden Glades Interchange.
Both signs had been a part of the Miami landscape since 1959.
Miami News photographer J. Albert Diaz passed by the Golden Glades sign one day in 1986 and caught this wardrobe malfunction.
In 2004, St. Petersburg Times reporter Jeff Klinkenberg set out to find the girl on the sign.
Recently, I made a telephone call to a woman named Cheri Brand to ask if I could drive up to Ocala and talk to her about the Coppertone ad. There was silence on the phone; reporters learn to dread silence. Finally she said, "Oh, no. Not that. It's so old. You don't want to write about that. Really. Nobody cares."
The Coppertone Girl with the bare cheeks, now 48, was in no mood to bare her soul.
"You know," she said, "you don't want to talk to me. You want to talk to my mother. My mother is much more interesting than I'll ever be. Mother is the real story."
Usually, when somebody says don't talk to me, talk to my mother instead, a reporter comes down with the willies. The gray-haired mother produced by the reluctant interviewee turns out to be a saint who whips up apple butter by the gallon, or a kindly grandma who knits smiley faces on feathery quilts for shivering orphans, or a reincarnated Elizabeth Browning who minutes ago finished writing an 800-line poem about her cat, Slinky, and is looking for a publisher.
Not that there is anything regrettable about quilts, apple butter and cat poetry that always rhymes moon with spoon.
Joyce Ballantyne Brand, 86, was the opposite of an apple butter gal. I did not bring a martini shaker with me to Ocala, but I should have.