Wednesday, September 23, 2015


So I have come to believe, as you know if you know me, and now, even if you don't, in the presence of signs.  As I had returned to New York after a surprisingly long lifetime that seems quite short, at the same time as the city was opening what there is of its heart to the Pope, it seemed a strong indication it might be a good idea to give a shot to living here.  That very night, the presence of a large waterbug in my apartment, more graphically on my cheek, seemed a stronger sign it wouldn't.
    But having made it through a night or two in another apartment the very kind manager of the building put me in, probably more practically avoiding a lawsuit from my heirs at my death from a heart attack, I have experienced a most pleasant day with a sweet family from Long Island who believe themselves to be the owner of a Jackson Pollock discovered in a garage, and came to me for further authentication.  My mother, as you may remember if you knew her or read my would-have-been-bestseller, THE MOTHERLAND, was married to a wonderful man, Saul Schwamm, nicknamed "Puggy" for the thrust of his underbite, and a certain contentiousness, a man she didn't appreciate enough, whose close friend was Clement Greenberg, who got him to help out the artist Jackson Pollock by buying THE BLUE UNCONSCIOUS, which I slept under all through vacations from Bryn Mawr when I came home to their Park Avenue apartment.  Puggy was the only one of their crowd who had a great heart and a bank account to match, as he and his brother, being two young men on Wall Street that no established firm would hire as they were Jews, had taken an ad in The New York Times on the day Roosevelt closed the banks, saying "Business will be conducted as usual in the offices of Schwamm & Co." So all the trading that took place that day had to be done through them, they made a fortune and were even more despised. 
      The painting, 8x12 feet, was turned on its side so it could hang above where I slept, my mother saying when critiqued for hanging it on its side, "What difference does it make?"  My mother was probably not as colorful as Jackson Pollock, and certainly did not turn out to be as valuable, or maybe that was just a question of timing, as my editor at Simon and Schuster, Michael Korda, had said of my novel,"As far as I am concerned, this is the only book we are publishing this Spring," but obviously forgot about ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN, so nobody gave a rap about Fiction.  Timing of course is everything.
      Anyway this darling family whose name I will not mention because they are afraid of being sought out by the wrong people before their exciting discovery can be auctioned off and sold for the fortune it will obviously bring if authentic, invited me to lunch with them.  The father, a really sweet man who has no business being as knowledgable as he is about art except that he has researched his heart out, and his heart is infinitely bigger than his vocabulary,  has discovered more than most humans have a right to know, but the ways of the world are mysterious, and the ways of the Internet are beyond anything we can imagine except electronically.  So it was that he found me, and, even more astoundingly, found out so much about me including pictures from my youth and my once bestsellerdom that were so pretty I had great difficulty though a lot of pleasure recognizing myself.  Amazing.  I must quickly write another book so I can exploit me while I am still alive.
   At the same time I have made a connection with an incredibly pretty and brilliant dermatologist on East 57th Street who saved me from what felt like might-have-been-fatal allergy attack suffered in the apartment the manager moved me out of where I thought I would tear my finger off.  I don't know if you've ever had an itchy finger that wasn't in a Humphrey Bogart movie where he wanted to shoot someone and it was just an expression, but I did really think I was going to die.  The doctor's office, fortuitously, is right next to a temporary store raised for the temps into a Halloween shop, so when I went in there during the time I had to wait for my follow-up appointment, had no choice but to buy the Dorothy outfit from Wizard-of-Oz, as my best friend in the creative world was Yip Harburg, the lyricist who wrote SOMEWHERE OVER THE RAINBOW and all the rest of the wonderful songs in that movie and many many others not so well commemorated because nobody listens to words anymore as if you could hear them the way the music is now.  Yip and I walked through Central Park one day when I still hoped to get a musical on, and I sang him some of my songs, and he said of the lyrics, "As good as any that have ever been written," but of course he is long gone, as is that hope.  Still, I had no choice today but to buy the Dorothy costume, and now I have to find someplace to go on Halloween.  Oh, and P.S., they didn't have the Dorothy wig so I had to order that, as costly with the postage as it would be to fly to Kansas, as I wasn't sure where I would be when, doing what for Halloween.  Any ideas?