So I understand I'd better write this thing while I still can, and we're still America, the country that loved Hollywood.
We got invited to a party early in our residence here, Don and I, and down the interior staircase came Glenn Ford and Rita Hayworth. "Oh, my God," I said, because I still did things like that. "It's the lovers from Gilda."
She was still beautiful, though sad, as her time was clearly over. She made some comment, not very articulate, about people's not remembering, and I think I said something like "People will always remember you," because I thought they would, not realizing how short the limited attention span of humanity, at least the American division.
We started to talk, though I can't remember what I was saying, I was so overwhelmed. Less than articulate she was by a long shot, though it was easy to see what had flattened all those men. Somehow I have come to see in the years since that it is rarely the mind that attracts fellows, no matter how illuminated they seem. Anyway, we chatted for a while, mostly me, I imagine, and after a while she admired one of my rings. I was really colorful in those days, as I remember, and wore all these interesting things I'd picked up someplace fascinating, as everything was to me when I didn't really fit in anywhere.
So I took the ring off and started to give it to her. Glenn Ford stood behind her waving to me madly, signaling a major "Don't."
"Oh, I couldn't possibly accept that," said Rita, seizing it.
"But you must," said I. "After all, how many people can say they've given jewelry to Rita Hayworth? Me and Aly Khan."
(The next day I was, of course, sorry, and asked my new friend Glenn to get it back for me, but she was unmoving in her intention to keep it. "I tried to stop you," said Glenn.
He and I stayed friends for the rest of his life, quite long, and increasingly sad, but Rita and I never saw each other again. That was probably for the best, as she had Alzheimer's, I believe, and it would have made me sad, as it probably did her, if she remembered.)
Then a little guy, borderline adorable but older came in and held out his hand. "I'm Mickey Rooney," he said, like we really wouldn't know.