meet miss june and you'll agree:
"As you can see," says Bonnie Marino, shaking her head sadly, "this has become really built up. It used to be rural and charming, and now there are all these homes." Bonnie is giving a tour of the town of Lodi, in the agrarian heartland of California, where she grew up. In fact, she's right in front of the quaint two-story house she lived in with her parents, four brothers and sisters as a child. To a jaundiced urban eye, this area doesn't look overdeveloped at all. The sturdy wooden house is bordered on three sides by vineyards that stretch out endlessly. Sure, there's a cluster of newer homes -- five or six of them -- nearby, but it's a far cry from urban overcrowding. But Miss June is a small-town girl, and proud of it. Although she'll tell you she has temporarily given up the gentleness of Lodi for the big city, she has actually moved just a few miles south to Stockton so that she and John, her husband of one year, can be closer to their jobs. With a population of fewer than 200,000, Stockton's a town where an eight-story building is considered a skyscraper. John works in construction and Bonnie is a medical assistant. She currently works in a local clinic. Eventually, Bonnie and John may move to a smaller community. "I love small-town living," says Bonnie, 28. "I like a low crime rate and privacy. I loved the feeling of being safe I had when I was a child, of keeping the doors unlocked and knowing the neighbors. That's what I want when I have a family." Still, she admits, there are drawbacks to rural living. "It limits you," she says. "You don't have as many options as you do in the city."
As a child, for instance, Bonnie dreamed of being a model or a dancer. But Lodi didn't have much call for either, so she concentrated on her medical career. Then, a few years ago, she met Katherine Hushaw, the October 1986 Playmate of the Month, who had also come from Lodi. Introduced by a local hairdresser, they became fast friends. When Bonnie looked at Kathy's pictures and said, "Gosh, I could do that," Kathy agreed. The hairdresser took some swimsuit shots and Kathy championed them at Playboy. The next thing Bonnie knew, she was on a plane headed for Playboy Mansion West. Her husband and family were thrilled. Her boss, the doctor, has been a Playboy subscriber for years and happily altered her schedule so she could fly to Los Angeles and Mexico for her photo sessions. Her mother was so proud she gathered up the test shots and showed them off to her co-workers. But no one is happier than Bonnie. "If being a Playmate leads to a big modeling job, that's great. If not, that's fine, too. At least now I've fulfilled the dream I had as a young girl. I've modeled for a big magazine. I think I have the best of both worlds."
Photography by Kim Mizuno, Richard Fegley