Thursday, March 17, 2016


SO there I was, having coffee on the corner with my dear, very low-key-smart friend Wayne, husband of Seppy, my once landlady.  He'd brought along a friend he wanted me to meet, a smart lady lawyer who had been a victim of Bikram, my old and obviously (or less than obviously) sexually rapacious yoga teacher. "You are my most honest student," he'd said to me, when I quit class to do yoga on my own, his allowing it because he trusted me.  I really appreciated him, having never before been agile, nor any idea he was a molester, which he apparently later was to become Big Time.
      Then a lot of green went by the bakery and I was informed it was St. Patrick's Day.  My God.  Or maybe their God.  But at any and all rates, actual St. Patrick's Day.  The anniversary of my first date with Don.  The Nicest Man in the World.
      How lucky I was, or maybe there is Destiny, and I had done something in a previous life if there is one to deserve being divinely cared for, if only once and then just while young, that we got married.  I was silly and empty in a gifted way before and after and even sometimes during.  But he was special special special, he loved me with his whole heart, and was big and handsome besides.
     At the time I felt failed as a would-be writer, and was working for my stepfather, a Wall Street investment banker.  He should have been something that engaged his intellect and imagination, as he had much of both, but it was New York, and you had to be tough if you came from poverty, and were to own a Jackson Pollock, which he did, being a friend of the art critic, Clement Greenberg, who had found Pollock and knew Puggy had a soft heart and was the only one of their friends with money, so got him The Blue Unconscious. He and his older brother, Harvey, being struggling Wall Street would-be brokers, had taken an ad in The New York Times, the day Roosevelt closed the banks, saying: "Business will be conducted as usual in the offices of Schwamm and Co." (Nobody had said you couldn't do business-- they just knew Roosevelt had closed the banks.) So all business in America that day was done through Schwamm & Co.  They'd made a fortune, earning the enmity of every investment broker in America, and were never able to get a seat on the Exchange.
       I was trying all those years later, or seeming to try-- being in the investment business, as it seemed I wasn't going to make it as a writer.  So Puggy - that was his name- being generous, having married my mother, was letting me work for him, in my half-hearted, half-assed struggle to be a broker. I couldn't even do math and add anything up much less travel down to the office on the subway.  Also I was fat, which is never an 'also' when you are young, as I still was. That day, when I showed up for work, Puggy took one look at me and said: "You're starting to turn into my Aunt Jenny.  You better go out on a date."  
     I didn't really know anyone who would ask me.  But I was in the middle of talking about writing a possible TV movie with some guy who had probably stolen it and would have and indeed managed to screw me on the writing of it, when Puggy said that.  So I called that number, and Don answered the phone.  We talked for a moment and he asked if I wanted to get together.  I didn't remember him at all, as he had been the nice one at the meeting, and what I usually paid attention to was the smart ass.  But I said okay.  
      I had a cold.  It was audible.  I waited for Don  in the doorway of whatever bar/restaurant it was on 52nd St- East, not even recollecting his being handsome and tall, which he was very much both of.  But apparently he remembered my cold.  He brought as gifts: a box of Kleenex, nose-drops, cough drops, vitamin C.  And a Green Carnation. 
       It was St. Patrick's Day.
      All that has just come back to me, in a Green Flash.  How lucky I was!  There was a TV show hostess, Virginia Graham, whose show I used to do all the time, good talker that I was, who said to me when she met him: "God had his arm around you."  I think that is the truth, if there is a God, which I usually believe except when a man like Donald Trump actually seems like he has a shot at becoming what would clearly be Dictator.
      I did not get a chance to keep Don for very long.  But we did have two children, several small dogs, and as good a life as anyone. For a while, anyway.  I imagine that's as fine as it gets. Nobody lives forever except James Bond and now probably the cast of Hamilton.
      I have, besides this wonderful recollection, the same birthday as Irving Berlin, the great songwriter you will only remember if you are no longer young.  He lived till 100, or maybe 101, which I don't really hope or want to.  But he did write 'God Bless America.' So I certainly hope God is listening, and will save us from the  maniac Trump, who isn't even that smart.  Just fiendish.
      My beautiful friend, the Angel Carleen, who works as a waitress to keep her family afloat, has done a number of his promotional parties in his apartment.  She told me the furniture doesn't even have any backs to it.  It's all a Facade.