She was one of Grace Kelly's bridesmaids. I was probably still superficial when I got to be friends with her. A part of me maybe continues to be, as I was jealous of the recent TV special about Nora Ephrom even though she's dead, and had to question myself honestly and openly as to whether I'd rather be a special on TV or alive. I DO know I would not rather be Rita Gam, even though she was lovely and smart, as the best she got to be, career-wise, was opposite Ray Milland I think it was, in The Thief. Let me check that out.
Yes. The Thief, big time and then obscurity. Well maybe it wasn't obscurity in her mind. But I do believe she had to struggle for the rest of her life. And lovely though she was for what there was of it, I don't think the invitations came pouring in. And like all of us, except those who strangely enjoy being closed off or shut out, I think she would have liked to have more places to go.
But she was a genuinely nice person, and that's always a joy to discover, especially in someone beautiful. I had occasion to rub career shoulders with one of her ex-husbands as I tiptoed on the brink of serious consideration in the literary world, and it didn't work out. But for that little moment I could see where he might have been fun, as well as a prick.
I hope she had fun as well as well as the nice apartment on Seventh Avenue, in that great building with the magnificent exterior where I would stop in to visit her once in a while, and catch up with her exploits, or attempts at them. I also hope she had a less than difficult exit, though still the ideal one seems to me still the one had by Fred Allen, the comedian who had a physical where he was pronounced in excellent health by his doctor, left the office and dropped dead on the sidewalk outside. I hope I am not having these thoughts because I am old, which I am, and have to seriously address the better-than-possibility, as I probably should. I mean, it's not illusion we're talking about here, but a quite realistic likelihood of imminence.
The other disappearance, or exit from the planet, is of someone I felt connected to, but never knew, and that is Garry Shandling. He was more touching, it seemed to me, than funny. Or maybe his humor, though clever, seemed to play off the heart even as it danced around the brain. But he did not appear to me to have had that fun a run.
And I was moved to find out he had dug a bit, maybe a lot, into Buddhism, which I have danced around with Jack, my Jewru, as Don called him. I am a bad student of course, though a more or less faithful one. That is to say my heart and eyes are open. But I am often anxious, in a very peaceful way, wondering if I am doing/thinking/writing/experiencing all I should, on my way to whatever there may or may not be of glory and/or peace.
This dark thinking-- or maybe it ain't so dark, perhaps it's luminous-- is intensified by my having healed it with my old best friend/lawyer who was the one who went with me to make burial arrangements all those years ago for Don. My husband left very young. If I still wrote little novels about the Afterlife-- I wrote one that everybody wanted to make into a movie, and many people stole, KINGDOM COME-- I would write one now about a woman whose husband had died, still darling, early into their marriage, and young, whom she joined in the Beyond only to realize he was too much her junior for it to work out even on a Heavenly Level.
Anyway, my old friend and lawyer advises me that I don't have to have the papers for the plot-- not of a play or movie, but in the cemetery, as I thought I would have to, but have only to go to Westwood, where almost everybody is that I knew and liked, and say I belonged there next to/under, or over Don. I find that hard to believe as it's very expensive and the owners or managers are having to come up with even more neighborhood space to intensify their profits. The thought that they would simply accept my word, even muted, is dazzling. Besides, she says she thought I would want to be "scattered to the winds," as fine a phrase as one can append to that seeming finality.
But what winds would they be? And where would they go? And how could we even begin to trust what's on them or in them, the way things are now?