Cary Grant, who remains my favorite name to drop, as fine a gent as he was stylish, told me once: "Hate will keep you alive longer than love will." His own mother, if you can believe it, didn't really prize him, and told him to dye his hair because letting his hair go white made her look older.
Anyway, to put into motion his words, my stepmother, Selma, just let go at ninety-seven, decades after refusing to give money to my wonderful cousin Ruth-Anne, who had spent a long time in Tucson ministering to my dad, ending her life in agony when Selma refused to help her out. Selma called me and said in a matter-of-fact voice: "I have bad news. Ruth is dead. Apparently she took her own life."
So I have had less than warm feelings all these years, exacerbated by the truth that my father's will left everything to her. Neither my kids nor I got anything till she died, which she was, of course, most unwilling to do,--in full fulfillment of Cary Grant's words, as there was still so much left for her to hate.
At any rate, I have just made contact with the administrator of the trust, a man named David MacBeth, (I never have to make anything up), and had quite a warm conversation with him, in which I sang him a song from our Bryn Mawr Junior show, for which I wrote the words and music. The intro, as I remember, was "Ladies and Gentlemen, you've heard of the Andrews Sisters and the Dinning Sisters: Now here they are, the Weird Sisters." At that point, as I remember, the three witches came out and danced around a big pot, and sang:
"Double double double double
Toil and trouble
Fire, fire burn and cauldron
Gonna fix me a brew
I don't know what to do
Here am I in a stew over you."
Well, I am pleased to say Mr. MacBeth chortled heartily, and promised to try and find the film made by Mike Frankovitch, once head of Columbia, called JOE MACBETH, where there may remain a moment of that song. My mother had come to Paris to take me away from all the bad people with whom I was associating at the Mars Club (Maya Angelou, et al.) and spirited me to the Cannes Film Festival and then to London, where Frankovitch was making his movie, with Paul Douglas as Joe, set in Chicago, and Ruth Roman as Lady M. The film failed (I can't imagine why) but in the interim my mother, who was the object of great lust on the part of Leo Jaffe, the VP of Columbia, had arranged for me to meet Mike, to whom I told my first (and only, I think) lie, saying I had written the song explicitly for his movie, omitting the fact of Bryn Mawr Junior Show. Anyway, he bought it, for a few hundred dollars as I remember, and used maybe three bars in the movie.
But it was nice to get a laugh from a bank administrator, and I imagine it will be even nicer for the kids to get the money. I wonder if she left anything to her son, whom she gave in his adolescence to his alcoholic father, because my father didn't want to marry a woman with two children. Great lady.