Letter: Remembering Betty

Letter to the Editor

As I sit here writing this, I find tears streaming down my face and I feel as sad as I have been in a very long time. Yesterday I received a phone call from Rick Cavalleri that his beloved mother and my life long friend was gone. Betty Cavalleri, “Malibu’s First Lady,” died of cancer a few days ago. The Cavalleri and the Haynes families go all the way back to the 1950s. Believe it or not, back in the ’50s, Malibu was a lot different than it is today. The west end of Malibu was all cows and cowboys, and the east end was mostly movie stars that lived in the colony. Obviously, the Cavalleri’s lived on the west side — Betty’s husband Louie was one of those cowboys. When I was 11 or 12 years old, I would see Betty around Malibu and I thought to myself “why isn’t she a movie star?” I thought she was the most beautiful woman that I have ever seen. Her beauty was only one of her assets. She was very outgoing and friendly to everyone she met. My father, Jimmy Haynes, (the resident California Highway Patrolman here in the ’50s) and our family were invited to an old time cowboy ho-down at their place on Cavalleri Road. Louie was in his cowboy outfit and Betty dressed in a short flowing skirt and cowboy boots. In the early 1950s, rock and roll songs were just coming out and I remember a song that was played over and over that night — Bill Haley and the Comets, “Rock Around the Clock.” A bunch of cowboys and their ladies were swinging and dancing to a rock and roll song — quite a sight. The last time I saw Betty was about a year ago when I delivered a signed and dated copy of the book I wrote. She seemed just as up and friendly as she has always been and I never suspected that she was ill. Needless to say, I will dearly miss my beautiful friend and now that she is gone I am kicking myself for not visiting her more often. 

Pete Haynes