Sunday, August 31, 2008

64/365: Joycie

She was my “big sister” in high school and we were a rare duo who stay in contact to this day. She got me a summer job the year I graduated (1960). Though she lives only an hour away, we haven’t seen each other in 20 years. She keeps saying she’ll let me know when she has some free time. How busy can she be?

Saturday, August 30, 2008

63/365: Dick

We dated briefly in college, but it was a partnership that would have been a disaster. He’s too persnickety. I nearly killed him when we played Scrabble. He took literally ten minutes to examine every friggin’ move from all angles. He married my roommate and they are perfect for each other. We remain friends, though we disagree on everything. Rum punch is a great equalizer.

Friday, August 29, 2008

62/365: The Football Player

I don’t remember his name, but he invited me on a hay ride shortly after I moved into the dorm on the Berkeley campus. Girls started telling me horror stories about what a Lothario he was and by the time of our date, I was petrified. I spent the entire night trying to get away from him. I was probably his very worst date ever.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

61/365: Judy Garland

She was my lifelong passion. In 1960, when she toured with her Carnegie Hall concert, I sat in the lobby of the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco, waiting for her to register. She didn’t show up the first day, so I went back the second day and was there when she came in. I got her autograph and took her picture. She was so tiny.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

60/365: Earl

Ever eat Swenson’s ice cream? Earl Swenson set up shop a block from our flat long before his business became a franchise. He made great ice cream (I loved fresh peach). Every Halloween, he gave free ice cream (pumpkin or licorice) to any kid who showed up in costume and a photographer would take pictures of groups of us, which our parents could buy later.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

59/365: Louis

I barely remember him, but he owned a grocery store near our house (the “big” grocery store), and another several blocks away. I remember him as being bald. That’s about it. But when I was sick with the measles, he sent a kitten home for me. It was black with four white feet and I called him Socksie. But, sadly, he ran away one day.

Monday, August 25, 2008

58/365: Michelle Phillips

I attended a bridal shower at her house. Found Rock Hall of Fame award covered with dust hidden behind stuff on the piano in the hall. Gorgeous photo of her in performance with the Mamas & Pappas in her bedroom. Photo of one of the Baldwin men, with baby, on her bookcase. Fabulous margaritas and Mexican food for brunch. She offered me a joint. I declined.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

57/365: Riccardo

The most unpleasant foreign student we ever hosted. I thought he wanted a summer adventure. His parents just wanted him out of the house and away from his boyfriend. He only wanted to be with his boyfriend. Refused to speak to us, in any language, returned to his home after three weeks and sent a note saying that he hated us and everything about us.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

56/365: Jose

You never know what is going on with him. First he was gay, then he was “tired of being gay.” Then he married a woman. Now he’s divorced and back living in his native country. Months will pass between contacts and when we communicate again, his life has taken another 180-degree turn! Has the most screwed up family I know – so maybe that’s why.

Friday, August 22, 2008

55/365: Mandy

She’s 61 years old now and I’ve known her since she was in grammar school. Never at any point in her life have I known her to be happy, or even to smile. She comes to social gatherings and sits off somewhere, reading a book. She has a negative comment or a snide put-down to make about everything. What a wasted life she has lived.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

54/365: Sister Mary Victor

She sat in a loft room and waited for victims. She was my piano teacher and the reason I do not play the piano. She sat beside me and rapped me on the knuckles if I didn’t hold my fingers right or played wrong keys. I wonder how many sadists there are in convents! I learned about the placement of instruments in an orchestra, though.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

53/365: Estelle

Prim and proper Bostonian friend of my mother’s. Walt and I visited her, when we visited NY for the first time. We made the mistake of sightseeing instead of coming to her home with her and her husband (strangers to us). She gave us the silent treatment. Refused to eat with us. I guess all was forgiven when she showed me my first “live” snowfall.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

52/365: Patricia

One of our Brasilians. I don’t remember how she came to us, but privately, not through a program. Didn’t speak English well, but we got along. Beautiful girl. I remember her very drunk one night and collapsing on the floor in our guest bathroom, vomiting. I left Ned to handle her because he could speak Portuguese at the time. She threw her shoe at him.

Monday, August 18, 2008

51/365: Marilyn

She was the daughter of a woman my father dated before marrying my mother and the 2 couples remained friends. I had to go to her birthday parties every year and hated it. She was rich and pretty, I didn’t know anybody and hung around my mother, who kept telling me to “go play.” I was glad when I didn’t have to go any more!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

50/365: John #2

One of my biggest thrills was going to an international Gilbert and Sullivan festival in England, meeting my favorite D’Oyly Carte patterman, John Reed, giving him a copy of our book, and having him give me a big kiss. It just doesn’t get better than that! He was retired from performing, but I had enjoyed his performances for years, through traveling productions and on records.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

49/365: Sunny

For years we only knew him as “Southern Ireland,” a man we met in a pub in County Mayo, Ireland, with a brogue so thick–and not at all made clearer for the amount of Guinness he’d imbibed. He got our kids up doing Irish dancing and invited us to “join him at The Squealing Pig tomorrow.” (But it wasn’t as much fun the next night)

Friday, August 15, 2008

48/365: Clark Kelso

Clark is the federally appointed head of the state’s prisons, now causing statewide confusion with the California budget. I heard Attorney General Jerry Brown railing about him on the radio this morning. I remember when Clark was just an attorney, sang with the Sacramento Opera, and we were on the board of the Davis Comic Opera Company together. He was a no-nonsense guy even then.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

47/365: Ken

He graduated from high school with Tom, our #4 child and married about two years ago. He was in the jazz choir with Tom and David. I remember him as a kid following his father around on stage during a production of The Mikado. What a shock it was to learn tonight that he had a heart attack and died today. He was only 38.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

46/365: Germaine

I was there to interview her husband, who was fascinating, but she was the whipped cream on the sundae. Delightful woman, in-depth knowledge of the Middle East from living there. Talked about the fall of the Shah from having lived through it She was a teacher, an actress, spoke conversational Farsi, and on top of it all, made me feel so comfortable in their home.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

45/365: Rinde (RIN-dee)

What a force of nature this performer / dancer / singer / choreographer / writer / director is. A unique individual, a brilliant mind. I was so glad I had a working tape recorder for our interview. I had to actually study it to figure out what he was saying half the time. I love my job–I get to meet incredible people! I hope I didn’t sound like an idiot.

Monday, August 11, 2008

44/365: Alison

She was there at the right time and she had the expertise to get the project organized. She and I and another woman – initially all strangers to each other – came together to produce “The Lamplighters: 25 Years of Gilbert & Sullivan in San Francisco.” What an exciting project. What a tremendous sense of accomplishment! Go ahead–look me up on or in the Library of Congress!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

43/365: Marie #2

It came to me who she reminds me of: Marian Lorne. The same blank stare, same deadpan humor. Neat lady. I remember when she called her now-late husband “Underfoot.” I don’t think I ever met him, but I always enjoyed “Underfoot” stories. I never know if that blank expression is real or just a persona that she puts on. Always enjoy spending time with her.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

42/365: Eric

You quickly become comfortable with nudity when it surrounds you. Eric directed a show called “The Undressed Project.” I met him and his naked cast in a rehearsal loft in San Francisco, to interview them and take their picture. By the end of the hour, I was the uncomfortable one, because I was dressed. Unfortunately, I was out of town and couldn’t review the show.

Friday, August 8, 2008

41/365: Jim

Jim knew/knows everybody in show business. Friend of Ethel Merman, played backgammon with Lucille Ball, directed by Piper Laurie. An award-winning actor and playwright, and my friend. He drove me around town playing a recording of telephone messages from famous people, including Lucy. He is a big bear of a man with a huge, enveloping hug, a larger than life personality and a terrific husband.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

40/365: Jade

Probably the most fun interview I’ve done. We met for coffee at Borders and quickly dispensed with the subject of the show she was directing, and talked about her amazing background. I was intrigued because she came from Australia and we were able to talk about that country. I’ll be interviewing her again later this year, if her plans for a new production work out.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

39/365: Sam

I first saw him as Puck in a university production of Shakespeare’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream.” He was the kind of actor you couldn’t take your eyes off of. I reviewed his performances several times, and interviewed him once or twice. He’s now been offered the opportunity to dance in England. He is an immense talent. I’m sure he has many great opportunities ahead of him!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

38/365: Juan

The only proctologist I ever met. He was a shy guy who lived with us for 3 weeks, the leader of a group of students from Chile. He introduced me to empanadas and taught me to dance the cueca. We visited the redwoods near San Francisco and he ran into a student he had known in med school. It is a small world after all!

Monday, August 4, 2008

37/365: Shell Shocked Guy

They said he was a WWII Veteran who had been shell shocked. I didn’t know what that meant, but I was afraid of him. We saw him all over the neighborhood, always wearing the same dirty clothes, a hat on his head, hunched over in a unique body posture, swinging his arms, and talking to himself. Now they’d say he has post-traumatic stress, I suppose.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

36/365: Camera Store Guy

I was a regular at the camera store when Jeri was a baby, spending hundreds of dollars on photos. This guy was my favorite clerk. I was delighted when he invited Walt and me to join his wife and him for dinner one night. How disappointed I was to discover that it was just a pitch to sign up with Amway. Changed our relationship forever.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

35/365: Mavis

She asked if we would host a student from Brasil for 3 weeks, and with that request she changed our lives. At the end of three weeks, our student stayed another 4 months, Ned lived with his family in Brasil for a year, and I took over coordinating groups of foreign students. We hosted 70 students from 14 different countries over the next 10 years.

Friday, August 1, 2008

34/365: Marie

She was born at Tanforan racetrack, where her family was interned during World War II, which I always told her explained her lifelong love of horses. She played a mean piano version of “Flight of the Bumblebee.” We went to grammar school together and were members of the “rosary club” in high school. I have thought about her often and wonder where she is today.