So when my loved friend Rona Barrett, secretly one of the Great Givers of the World-- her cause is housing for Seniors in Need-- ended up with the Love of her Middle Youth, chastised and repentant, Sherry Lansing, who sometimes comes through, gave her a dinner party. At the dinner party was a terrific woman whose house I had stayed in on Fire Island when Madeleine was not quite a year old-- we're talking history here-- when Don and I were visiting Mel Brooks and Annie Bancroft. The woman remembered me, and we reconnected in a very happy and deep way, she, because she is a gifted artist and a genuine human being, and I, because I love a great story.
This was the tale: In her girlhood she had loved a sensational man who'd waited till she was eighteen to become her lover, then she'd married a number of interesting and difficult men, roamed the world with a great conductor, music being not an unpleasant way to waltz through life, ended up back here where she reconnected with the love of her youth, and they became one. He had risen to executive heights when there were still a number of studios, and was one of the loved men around town-- there aren't that many-- because he'd never done anyone any harm.
So my belief in Happy Endings was restored.
Not so fast. "And they lived Happily Ever After" works only in Fairy Tales, and the top of the mountain if you are a Buddhist and all you want is the process of getting there. In fact, it should read "If People live on, stuff happens." The man got older and sick and his daughter sold his beautiful apartment where he was living sometimes with my friend-- she had a little walk-up a couple of blocks away, riddled with her treasures, art she had fashioned, vintage clothes she had brilliantly selected with her seasoned eye, china and silver and a little Wedgwood pitcher that fresh flowers should grace, and will starting tomorrow. Because the daughter put him in a home, so the woman has to sell everything because she is moving tomorrow to a tiny apartment and has to get rid of everything at Beyond Sacrifice prices. It just makes me so sad. And angry, too.
But I am happy to have the little pitcher, and several beautiful plates I bought that she fashioned herself, and a wonderful collage she gave me for my birthday that now hangs on my hotel room wall. An antique mirror I bought because I saw how good it was and how nobody was buying anything will go up on my other wall tomorrow even though I don't need it and will have the same problem as she does when it's time for me to move out of here a few weeks from now.
I was told by my old editor, a very smart man, that when Social Security was first instituted, people were lucky if they lived till retirement age, so nobody ever thought there would be a long line of those collecting. The country, our country, as we know, is in terrible trouble, along with everyone else but the friends of Mitt Romney and maybe Abdullah of Dubai, a new acquaintance from Kamalaya, a spa in Thailand I went to in between writing books in Bali, the first one, SCANDAL, fun, now sort of available from Amazon.com, the new one, PARADISE DARK, writ from my soul, in the hands of the gods.
Abdullah helped me with the scenes of the renegade financier hiding out in and leaving Dubai in SCANDAL, -- he has a very warm and demonstrative mother I loved, the first friend I've had in purdah, who greeted me nightly with "Our Friend! Before you came, we were so lonely!" So I had vision of healing all breeches between their world and ours, and maybe getting my musical on. But as Fitzgerald would have pointed out, the very rich are different from you and me, especially when they have horses (Abdullah has a polo team, wouldn't you know.) I would have gone to his wedding, but that was divided into different nights for the women and the men, and I was travelled out, so missed it.
But you only miss what you don't need, or cannot learn from, although I am sure I would have enjoyed the 100th birthday of the Beverly Hills Hotel which was last Saturday night when my hair looked so good because Dusty had cut it, I sat up all night, sad that I had no place to go. And on Sunday I had a date with a friend I hadn't seen for twenty years, so waited for five hours for her to show up before I remembered she was crazy. On Monday I called my friend who is front office manager at the Beverly Hills, and he said "If only you had called on Friday, I would have invited you to the party."