So having determined that it was time to check out Olde New York, realizing I had not properly, or even improperly, perused my current environs, I set off on a small trek around Beverly Hills. On Canon, where I had spent some happy hours in what I did not then realize was the last of my Youth, I sidled into La Scala for lunch among some vastly unfamiliar faces. Of course those I loved had no longer been young when I knew them, so they are gone now, including and especially Suzie Pleschette, who had gone to P.S.9 which I had also attended in my grade school years, and for which I had written the school song in 6th or maybe it was 7th grade, which Suzie had sung as her talent contribution at one of those Friday night parties we had gone to as young adults before anybody started fucking up their lives with grave things like dope or terrible relationships. The restaurant is more or less unchanged, airy and fair-priced with excellent salads. But the place is as now full of itself as it had once been full of celebrities, and I was sadly saddened, as there is nothing worse than a restaurant with ego and not that much to recommend it, except what had been its past, that now very much over.
I eavesdropped on the conversation of the two men next to me and there was nothing worth remembering, in spite of its having been about the music business. The waiter was pleasant and seemingly caring, but not one of those who was looking for a career in something flashier. And the hostess, pretty enough to assume someone might ask her if she wanted to be in show business, in spite of having eyes that would probably be photo-friendly, did not see opportunity in just being pleasant. Can you tell I was disappointed? You Can't Go Home Again, one of the Greaties told us. But no one has yet written: You Can't Go Restaurant.
I am especially fond of my Suzie memory, because she replaced Anne Bancroft, a truly special friend, on Broadway in The Miracle Worker, and although she could not touch the performance, pointed me out to one of her fellow cast members during her curtain call, which I could help but think adorable. "There's Gwen," she said, as the audience applauded, so I could not help but feel a part of the wonderment. Puggy, my darling stepfather, had taken the two of us out to dinner once at one of the overpriced restaurants he favored, which of course had enraged my mother when she heard about it, imagining that Suzie could have had a yearning for an old investment banker. All of these moments are rich in my memory, still working except for some names, and I am sorry these people are so long gone, as except for Puggy, they were not much older than I. And Suzie was as bright as she was funny, so it is more than sad that probably not many people remember her.
Oh, we must all hurry to celebrate everyone we love as long as we can. That way they will at least continue to exist at least as long as we do. But none of us needs to go back to La Scala, unless there is someone waiting for us there we really love.
So I am bound for New York on Friday. Let it be filled with some happy surprises, or at least no angry members of Isis. What a world, what a world! as Margaret Hamilton cried in The Wizard of Oz, when the most there was to fear was there being no one who could really sing Over the Rainbow.