Friday, April 27, 2007

Carol Burnett's Birthday

I mark this event not because I am so moved by or tied to Carol Burnett, but because it turned out that was also the date I got married. I had wanted my wedding, since it was finally taking place, bonding me to Don, the only kind man who had ever come into my sphere and wouldn't go away, to be on the 18th of April, Paul Revere's ride. But that wasn't on a Sunday, and we had to get married on a Sunday, because my mother was suing my father for child support for me(I was 29), he was the mayor of Tucson, and that was the only day he couldn't be arrested: the marshall was waiting at the end of the crystal-chandeliered corridor for it to turn midnight, kind of the dark, vengeful Jewish version of Cinderella, so he could nab him.
We gathered in the Gold and White Suite of the Plaza Hotel, everybody I loved or thought I did, for a wedding breakfast following the ceremony; my mother and Puggy, her husband du jour, on the right, on the left my father and Selma,the bitch wife to whom my mother had introduced him, thinking she would surely finish off the job my mother had started, only to find, to her horror, that Selma actually elevated him, took this man who was such a loser he couldn't pay $100 a week child support, moved him to Tucson where she filled him with such confidence he subdivided the desert and made it bloom, becoming the richest realtor in Tucson, and then its mayor. He had come to New York some months before to check out this man I had been seeing, and, pronouncing him not my type, returned to his hotel room to find the marshall waiting with a subpoena, for failure to pay child support from the time I was eleven, when they divorced, till I was twenty-one, some years before. My father immediately called me and accused me of fingering him to my mother, but in fact, my mother, probably the world's best detective, with her restive relentlessness, had gone through the yellow pages, calling every hotel until the Pennsylvania, where he was staying, and found him. Nonetheless my father accused me, and as I sobbed 'No, Daddy, NO, I didn't, I didn't," Don, not used to such high-level domestic drama, came into my apartment just in time to see me jump out the window, not knowing there was a little balcony outside. I can conjure to this day the vision of his sweet face drained of all blood as he stuck his head out, assuming i had leapt to my death. I guess it was then I made up my mind to marry him, in spite of what a good man he was.
So there we all were at the Plaza on Sunday, April 26th, with my maid of Honor(how funny it seems now) Sue Mengers, who said "We must do this every Sunday," and Stanley Kubrick, my on and off best friend, cornering Don who was producing the Jets games at the time for TV, telling him to keep the camera on the line, and Don saying, "Stanley, if you'll let me run credits at the end saying 'Directed by Stanley Kubrick,' I'll keep the camera anywhere you say." Then there was the Rabbi we'd gotten after we decided we couldn't use the Rabbi fromTemple Emanuel, what with his name-dropping who he'd just married(Freddie Fields) Our Rabbi had to leave early because it was one of those tish somethings where you couldn't dance and he thought we might want to dance. There was Canadian bacon we told Don's Grandma was corned beef, and my Grandma who didn't care, except she was glad I was getting married.
Then Lew the Mayor, as Don called him, took us aside, and said, more rabbinical than the rabbi, 'My children-- anyone could give you presents or money-" Don murmured in my ear 'Anybody but you, you stingy son-of-a-bitch-- "But i am giving you something with meaning: a tenth of a lot in Tucson where one day a great medical center will rise. Unfortunately, it's beneath regulation size for a medical center, but we'll fix that." A few months later he sent us a bill fot the taxes on our share of the lot, and Don told him what he could do with our tenth or, indeed, the whole lot if he had room for it. That launched a breech that was not to be healed, in spite of beautiful grandchildren who looked just like Grandpa Lew until he came to visit when my trust fund, into which he'd put the money he owed my mother for child support for me so she couldn't arrest him, came due, when he reappeared and asked if I didn't want to give it to him to invest.
But it was a lovely wedding. Today. I won't tell you how long ago,because I can't believe how old I am. But I am glad I married him, Happy Birthday to Carol Burnett.