Thursday, July 31, 2008

33/365: Judy #2

I tried for literally decades to find out whatever happened to her. We were best friends in grammar school. Finally one of our teachers sent me her telephone number and I called her. We had a very cordial conversation, said we must get together sometime, but I know neither of us really wanted to. Curiosity had been satisfied and we had moved in different directions.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

32/365: Carolina

One of my big success stories. I managed to find her the PERFECT host family in the early 1980s and she remains close to them today. She met her husband while on a vacation with her foster sister. She now lives in Canada and, though I had nothing to do with it, I’m so proud that she has become a successful artist and TV personality.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

31/365: Phil

Today would have been your birthday. You were my best friend at one time and hurt me more than anybody else in my life. I saw you through all of your hospitalizations, all of your psychological problems, yet when I suffered the biggest loss (to date) in my life, you turned your back and I never heard from you again. Was it all a lie?

Monday, July 28, 2008

30/365: MJ

In retrospect it was a huge mistake to help her conduct a clandestine affair. It did give her the courage to leave an alcoholic husband, but she stepped out of the frying pan into the fire. I hated watching her destroy her life. I later gave up 6 weeks to help her keep her job, which was an even bigger mistake than assisting the affair.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

29/365: Stacie

She was a red haired woman who had many “gentleman callers,” my father among them (though he always insisted nothing ever happened). She had a thick white rug and you had to remove your shoes to enter. She was also a painter and my mother still has one of her paintings hanging on the wall. It was a unique experience, as a child, knowing her.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

28/365: Madelyn

She disappeared after high school. We heard she’d married and had many children. We were best friends for a couple of years. I spent a lot of time at her house and read “Peyton Place” there, a “dirty” book that my mother would never have let me read. Her grandmother, the first person I ever met with breast cancer, had a house with an elevator.

Friday, July 25, 2008

27/365: Bernie

What can you say about the woman who murdered your sister? She was one of the good things in Karen’s life and brought her back to a relationship with the family, but ultimately, the two women didn’t get along and in a fit of anger, the gun was too accessible. We heard she spent 1 year in a mental facility and 5 years in prison.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

26/365: Laura

She could have written the book on co-dependent personalities. She definitely lived it. Very intelligent, competent woman, reduced to a wimp by a husband who put her on a pedestal and then threw mud at her, often in front of others. I hated watching how he treated her, and how her behavior changed as a result. No one should endure what she had to endure.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

25/365: Stan

I saw him standing in the doorway and knew instantly this was my friend’s husband, who had played Sancho Panza in Man of La Mancha. What a talent he was, this little round man who got his start in Yiddish theater. He spoke six different languages. What a terrible loss it was when he died. I still see him, sitting at a table clipping coupons.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

24/365: Susan

How proper I thought she and her husband were. She the business woman, he the debonaire Brit. Our children went to school together. Many years after we lost contact with them I discovered they were sexual swingers and at one point had propositioned some of our friends (what were we? chopped liver?) I re-connected with her recently, but that mental image is hard to lose.

Monday, July 21, 2008

23/365: Carol Channing

What do you say to a living legend? I met Carol Channing and sat with her and her niece at the party before an awards show in LA. I was (as always) tongue tied, but fortunately all I had to do was watch all the big names of Hollywood pay her court. She was a lovely lady. I’m sure she doesn’t remember me at all.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

22/365: The Flasher

Technically speaking, we never actually “met.” He was the first and only flasher I encountered, on my way back to the dorm with a friend. He was sitting in the bushes with pants opened. When we gave the police report, my friend and I had completely different descriptions of him, so I yielded to her. I wonder if they ever caught him. Poor, pathetic man.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

21/365: Ann

She died in March, and I didn’t find out until today. She was the most driven person I’ve met. Worked hard, loved much, smoked incessantly, drank lots, had her “drug period.” Had the raspy voice of the hard-livin’ woman she was. Incredible work ethic. She taught me medical transcription. We were not great friends, but I admired her and was constantly amazed at her energy.

Friday, July 18, 2008

20/365: Roz

“Who doesn’t like Brasilians? I LOVE Brasilians,” she called from across the hotel lobby and a friendship was born. We were big women who loved food, our families, Brasilians, and gay men. A continent separated us, but we were close for many years and shared our deepest secrets. Visits were too infrequent, unfortunately, and we ultimately drifted apart. But I treasure the years of friendship.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

19/365: Lynn

We’re like two giddy teens, shopping and laughing and finding neat places to eat whenever we get together. It’s amazing how the years just fall away whenever we meet again and it is like we only saw each other “yesterday.” She’s always been wonderfully upbeat and positive and I wish she lived closer. I need more people like her in my day to day life.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

18/365: Claire

We had so much in common, including loving the same things, sharing the same experiences, we were both aspiring writers, both with body image problems, both animal lovers. I feel we could have been much better friends if only we had the opportunity to spend an extended time together. But distance prevented that. However, our brief time as face to face friends was very special

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

17/365: Judith

I tried to find the person I once knew when we met again, decades later. Our reunion was much fun and we chatted easily, but I still couldn’t find the person I should have remembered. “We’ll definitely see you next year,” she promised, but I never heard from her again, and I lost her contact information. Maybe it didn’t go as well as I thought.

Monday, July 14, 2008

16/365: GPR

I could not post another name today, because this is the anniversary of the day you died. It doesn’t seem possible it has been 22 years already. You were my best friend, my mentor, my inspiration, my favorite performer. There will be fireworks for Bastille Day today – you won’t be there, of course, but they will be there all the same. Sleep peacefully, my friend.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

15/365: Bill

Surely he must be dead by now. His scandalous sexual escapades in the pre-AIDS era left him vulnerable, at the very least, and if he has survived, it would be a miracle. He was my immediate supervisor in a volunteer organization but even he wasn’t strong enough to protect me from those who wanted me out. He later also left and opened an antique store.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

14/365: Judy

You weren’t an axe murderer after all, but you were the first faceless internet person I met face to face. We never quite clicked, though our paths have crossed many times over the years. I found your attitude abrasive, but I overlooked it. The last time was the straw that broke the camel’s back, though. I don’t need that kind of drama in my life.

Friday, July 11, 2008

13/365: Charlie

He now heads an international charitable organization and I sometimes see him on TV. I remember the joy we all felt for them when he and his wife adopted a baby and the unbelievable tragedy when the baby died of SIDS when he was taking her for a walk and she was in a backpack. I always felt he was a very honorable, trustworthy man.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

12/365: Gayle

Her family had a TV and our family didn’t, so every morning when we walked to school she would recount for me the TV shows she had seen the night before. I was fascinated and tried to have dinner at her house as often as possible so I could watch TV myself. It was she who is responsible for my lifelong passion for Judy Garland.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

11/365: Ruth

I met her at a friend’s party and enjoyed chatting with her. I didn’t discover until many years later, when I stumbled across a documentary on television, that she was a very famous photographer. I now own two books of her photos and was highly indignant when I came across a new photographer who has blatantly stolen her ideas. But alas Ruth is dead now.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

10/365: Arn

A well known physicist in his day, he invented what we jokingly called the “death ray” which he felt could be used to open potato chip packages and get catsup to come out of a bottle. Lived in a house with a view of the ocean and had a pool with a martini seat he was very proud of. A soft-spoken man, as I recall.

Monday, July 7, 2008

9/365: Sister Mary J-E

She always chose the 15 minutes before lunch for “health classes,” when she told the most gross stories, like the kid whose bladder burst because he wouldn’t go to the bathroom, or another kid with a palm frond imbedded in his skull because he jumped up and it hit the top of his head. We went to lunch nauseated. I wonder what the point was!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

8/365: Mary

She was my English and French teacher in high school, a bleach blonde “finishing school” product who was always extremely prim and proper. She would have been easy to make fun of, but I loved the class and I had a special bond with her because we both loved to diagram sentences. She had suffered tragedy in her life, including the loss of a son.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

7/365: Tommy

I only met Tommy once. He was 2 years old and weighed 7 lbs. He suffered from “malabsorption syndrome” and lived on a formula of breast milk, corn oil and something else. I donated breast milk for him through Tom’s first months and again through David’s. Tommy lived most of his short life at Stanford Hospital, but he touched many lives in that short time.

Friday, July 4, 2008

6/365: Bob

I will always picture Bob standing in an Uncle Sam costume, running the 4th of July celebration. Bob changed the life of our kids. He’s always been Mr. Congeniality, the “just do it” guy for the city. The band Lawsuit would not exist if Bob hadn’t looked the other way for a lot of years. He trusted the kids and they never betrayed that trust.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

5/365: Vi

Vi was our Girl Scout leader for a couple of years. She had a background in theater and dance and each year our project was to put on a show for all the parents. She let me sing my first solo. It was my first experience on stage and I just loved it, except for the year my moustache fell off during our barbershop quartet.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

4/365: Eddie

Eddie was a hunk. He had blond wavy hair. Came from a rich family. All the girls had a crush on him. He came to my party and I felt like a wallflower until he asked me to dance. The dance was short because he said I stepped on his feet. I don’t remember ever seeing him after grammar school. I hope he’s bald today.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

3/365: Tavie

I remember when she was born. She was my roommate for six months when she was a baby. I watched her grow up. She and four her siblings were extended family to our five kids. I was at her wedding, at which my daughter was the accompanist. I ate her clam dip. I watched her kids grow up. Today she was diagnosed with breast cancer.