So I have been having problems with Memory, that which was strongest in my history, since I could say the Gettysburg Address when I was two years old and three months. That made me a source of entertainment in Pittsburgh, as even those who did not like children enjoyed a little-over-theinfantstage who could rant the words of Abraham Lincoln, still a hero in this country then and maybe even after it has gone into the garbage can with those it admires, among whom, horrifically, has come Donald Trump. I am as frightened as I am appalled, as even though I am sure(almost, PLEASE!) that will not amount to anything really serious, it is more serious than it ought to be, that it is still a source of news.
I had thought to be moving back to New York for the Fall, which is definitely the season outside, for which I have had to don a serious sweater. But my apartment in the chic and well-placed Hampshire House, on Central Park South, left me by my mother, has been invaded by water-bugs, and I don't care that they're not dangerous, they creep me out. I want to go home.
The problem is, I am not sure where home is. For a short while I thought it was Amsterdam. But then the lovely Fiona came for a visit to me there from Belfast, and after two days and a swish through most of the canals, she said "Well, I believe we've seen Amsterdam." As suggestible as I am fun to be with, I think, I accepted that as a judgement, and came back to the United States which it still seemed to be then, and tried to re-begin my life in California, which, as you know if you follow the weather reports, is burning up and getting ready to break off. But there are still a few people I love there, and a wonderful Russian I think he is, who fixes my sunglasses, which also break with some regularity. Also I have a son and a couple of grandsons, still somewhat surprising to me, as I was always the youngest, making my ability to say the Gettysburg Address phenomenal, as was my graduating from Bryn Mawr, a college I still revere and actually love, the view from the top of Senior Row still unchanged, even though the institution may have altered drastically, though it is still for only women, though they, too, may have altered drastically. As I am Hungarian on my mother's side, Grandma Gussie being the most heroic and loving of my forebears, the Gypsy in my soul and heel still in charge, my wanderlust is genetic, and strong. Every time I get on a plane I think my destination may be permanent. Thus far it never has been, though the plot in Westwood next to or on top of my loving Donnie likely will be, unless of course Westwood breaks off in the next quake.
I was genuinely excited to be moving back to New York, until, alas, the invasion of the bugs, as a part of me is a committed mystic, believing in signs. And waterbugss, though allegedly not poisonous or dangerous, could not be more repellent. And having had one of them crawl up onto my big toe as I tried to start writing something at my desk could not have been a clearer indication that this is not the place for me.
Once, not all that long ago, I thought Bali was, but that, of course was more than a little romantic, except for the hard-edged fact that my favorite friend, Sandra Burton, had been murdered there, her head bashed in by her lover, hardly the word I would have used to describe him, the shit, who got away with it by paying off everybody you need to pay off in Bali, and then having the gall to speak at her memorial in New York, given by Time Magazine, for which she had been the first woman international reporter. I still love and miss her and hope he has not gotten a job, which he all but asked for aloud from the podium, if that's what it was, that place at the head of the room. "Things were so great between Sandy and I" he had the balls to say, not even knowing correct grammar. Unresolved killings of wonderful friends are something I find hard to deal with, especially as I had had lunch with her the day before and she had rejoiced in our time together having resolved some creative issues about the book she was writing, sending me a long letter with the information included that I still have, and would like to put on the headstone of her killer.
So here I am, on a cool day in the temperature sense that exemplifies Autumn in New York, a great song by Vernon Duke, who chased me around my parents' bedroom when I was twenty, not minding that I was fat, only caring that I was young. I had so much privilege of the creative kind as that kid, Yip Harburg being a beloved friend who believed in me and my lyrics, the gift I had that I thought would be central to my future, songs I sang to him as we walked through Central Park on a day that was almost as clear and lovely as this one. "As good a lyric as any I've heard," he said, after about seven songs, all of which he praised. "I wish I'd written that," he said of the last. And then there was Frank Loesser, who listened to my songs, said, "Kid, you're the biggest talent since me," then seduced me, and naked on my piano bench sang songs from his as yet unproduced musical, The Most Happy Fella.
Well, clearly I've had an interesting life. Hope it continues for a good while longer, though I still have to figure out where. Any ideas?