The lovely and talented Cherie Witter was a seasoned model by the time she posed for Playboy as Miss February 1985, and I’m happy to report she was born in the same neck of the deep dark crick gypsy needleleaf rainforest as myself!
Photographed by Richard Fegley and Arny Freytag.
Modeling takes, as Cherie would say, “a major amount” of dedication. Especially in an area that’s somewhat off the beaten track for the fashion industry. The towns where Cherie grew up — Marysville, Everett, Edmonds, Bellevue — appear only on fairly detailed maps of the hilly farm and forest land, lakes and seashores surrounding Seattle. (“Cherie On Top,” Playboy, February 1985.)
Although it’s a picturesque area, it hasn’t been a center of fashion since the boom days of the Klondike gold rush. Of course, few people today wear miners’ boots. And with the gold all but played out, people in Seattle have been forced to build ships and planes, catch fish and harvest timber. (Ibid.)
Erm, that’s a fairly inaccurate depiction of the history of the Pacific Northwest (did they seriously leave out Lewis and Clark? and how on earth was any part of the Klondike Gold Rush to do with fashion? it was dudes in flannel and gumboots, my friend, and whores in eight layers of clothes against the cold — read Call of the Wild, dumbasses), but I’ll take it.
The rest of my family being born where our deep roots lay, in Northeastern Washington and the very far north woods of Idaho, makes me very smug and proprietary about the Puget Sound — I believe only my cousin Richie shares the coast of Washington as our birthplace, among the, like seventy of us cousins and our kids. Rich was born in Marysville and I was born in Bremerton.
I found a very dicey and suspicious fan tribute page to Ms. Witter on the myspace which looked too scammy for me to link to, but I found her legit facebook and will share only that she now lives in a really gorgeous town further up the Puget Sound called Mukilteo. I’ve been through it only once in my grown-up memory, but it’s beautiful country — a lot of the landscape cinematography and ferry scene stuff for the American film version of The Ring (Gore Verbinski, 2003) was shot around the area.
Knowing the proximity of Mukilteo to Bremerton, up in that there ol’ Sound, I decided to test Google’s ability to use the ferry system in its directions. The Sound consists of dozens and dozens of peninsulas and islands connected by a spotty system of bridges which span the “narrows” —our colloquial term for straits of water slim enough across so you can see one another’s buildings but deep and riptidey enough that if you drove you’d sink and if you swum you’d drown— but it’s often quicker to shoot around on the reasonably efficient ferry transit system.
Also, you can see orca whales. I’m not kidding. It’s amazing. They come right around either side of the boat in good-sized pods and circle and flip and do all kinds of shit. They are kind of show-offs. They scared the heck out of me when I was a kid because of their teeth, though.
So I typed in a query for directions from Mukilteo to Bremerton in Google and … FAIL. Google maps and driving directions, on the first shot out of the gate, told me to drive a crazy-stupid-lengthy route around I-5S to 16-W, the lonnnng way, from Mukilteo to Bremerton. This is extra stupid, because anyone who lives in the area will tell you Mukilteo is a pretty popular transport hub for the ferries.
But I will give the site credit for eventually recommending the way I would’ve instinctively gone, which is to drive down to Lynnwood and Edmonds, take the Kingston-Edmonds ferry, get to the Kitsap Peninsula, then drive 104 to 3 into Bremerton. Duh. (Sarcasm.) Look, I don’t get to be “smarter” than google very often, so give me my moment! Speaking of smart, Ms. Witter had this to say about people’s perceptions of her intelligence based on her looks, an important lesson in not judging, no matter whether the subject of your judgment is, in your estimation “a dork,” or a beautiful idiot:
Oh my saltines, so dang adorable.
“I feel as if, at times in my life, I’ve been fighting what I have on the outside. I feel that, when people meet me, I don’t really have a chance to let them know what I’m about, or to prove that I’m worth knowning. And I don’t like having to prove that to people.
“But a lot of people who meet me are surprised. And they tell me they’re surprised; that’s what’s funny about it — they’re honest. They say, ‘I’m surprised, really surprised that you have not only your looks but you have something upstairs too.’ I like that.” (Ibid.)
In one of those great little coincidences that somehow abound in the small world of Playboy (the more you investigate the playmates, the more fun connections pop up), here’s a brief cross-pollenation note about the cover of Ms. Witter’s centerfold issue:
The brain-asplodin’ly cute model posing in the chaps and spurs is the lovely and talented Julie Michelle McCullough, who appeared in the “Girls of Texas” spread in this issue of Playboy and returned a year later to headline her own spread as Miss February 1986. And guess who was on her cover that February issue one year later?
Cherie Witter! I guess they have each other “covered”? Cherry pop tarts, I sure hope for all our sakes that’s the worst pun I make today. But no promises. Anyway, how about that? Pretty great. Stand-up comic and good-time gal Julie is one of my all time faves, so here’s another link to the feisty “funny bunny,” who, just like Ms. Witter and so many of the great playmates I’ve gotten to highlight this month, is walking and talking proof that beauty and brains aren’t mutually exclusive.