A 29-Year-Old’s Diary Entries From Early January, 1981

early-january-1981

Thursday, January 1, 1981

7 PM on New Year’s Day 1981. Here we go again, folks: this is the twelfth time I’ve begun one of these entries on January 1, and I’ll spare myself an invocation to the Muse and get down to business.

Last evening I spoke to Mom, and when I told her about the $1,000 price tag the truck rental places had given me, she said my furniture wasn’t worth that much.

debbie-harry-calendarSo we pretty well decided that hiring movers would be cheaper in the long run. Tomorrow I’m going to call up some moving companies and get estimates, but this afternoon I noticed a small classified ad in the Times that offered a move to South Florida by a 14-foot truck.

I called the number, and the guy, McKey Hubbell, said he’d charge me $300, a bargain, and that he’d call me on Sunday to see what was what. He plans to leave New York on Tuesday or Wednesday, so that wouldn’t leave me much time to get my shit together.

I worked for three hours today, throwing out a great deal of stuff: books, old letters, junk that I like to accumulate. It was almost physically painful to get everything thrown out.

What I really need are more cartons; the ones Marty gave me are too large for heavy items like books and papers. I now have five cartons filled with towels, linens, dishes, glassware, some books and other goodies – but so much remains to be done.

kinski-81-calendar-2My grandparents are leaving for Florida on Saturday, and I’ll be completely on my own if this guy comes through with the truck. If he doesn’t, I’ll have to get another mover come the following week, when Dad will be here.

I can feel myself growing tense just imagining what’s ahead of me in the next two weeks. I still haven’t gotten rid of the car yet. Tomorrow the temperatures are supposed to plunge below zero again, and I just don’t know how I’m going to handle everything I have to do without anyone else’s help.

For the past week I haven’t slept more than five hours a night; I’m tense and dizzy and worried about getting the flu; and next week I have school to deal with. Once I get to Florida, I’d better give myself a week’s vacation before I start planning what to do about a job.

Last evening I went over to Gary’s. After sitting around for an hour or so, we drove to Valley Stream, where Gary wanted to see Raging Bull at the sunrise-sixplex-adSunrise Sixplex Cinema.

I didn’t mind seeing the movie again, as it took my mind off my worries – which also include my grandparents’ health and Marc’s safety.

I feel as though I’m going to have as many bad times in 1981 as I did in 1980, and when the movie let out and Gary announced it was after midnight, I felt relief that the year was finally over.

Back in Bayside, we snacked on cheese and banana chips, and Gary told me about his job problems: his supervisor gave him a lousy evaluation because she is jealous that the gap between their salaries is narrow (Gary makes $24,000).

I left at 1:30 AM, drove carefully home, read in bed until 4 AM, and woke up feeling lousy five hours later.

2nd-ave-deliAt noon I drove into the city, getting there in record-breaking time because the streets were empty.

After I picked up Alice, she took me out to lunch at the Second Avenue Deli.

Alice seems happier than most people, but then, she has a lot to be happy about. She has a full life, a delightful relationship with Peter (they don’t always feel the need to be a couple, and last night she left a party while he stayed on), a good job, a nice apartment, tons of friends, lots of entertainment . . .

Everything seems to have worked out perfectly for Alice; she’s gotten just about everything she wants, and her New Year’s resolution is not being envious of others’ career successes.

How come things turned out so differently for me?


Friday, January 2, 1981

8 PM. “How come things turned out so differently for me?” was where I left off yesterday, and here comes more of the same.

nearing-grace-2In this week’s Publishers Weekly I read that they’re making a movie, Blue Dreams, out of Scott’s novel Nearing’s Grace, which Felicia Eth sold for $100,000 and a share of the movie profits.

Two years ago Scott and I started at about the same place: we were both having books published by Taplinger and edited by Wesley. Scott is now a wealthy and successful young writer, and I am 30, nearly broke, and about to move back in with my parents.

Don’t tell not to feel sorry for myself because I have it better than 99% of the human race: that only makes me feel guilty and ashamed. How can my new publisher, Kevin Urick’s poor little White Ewe Press, stack up in this world of glamour and big money?

I feel like a fool for even allowing myself to feel any satisfaction in having a arnold-dolly-calendarbook published by White Ewe. Alice said we shouldn’t compare ourselves to others, and of course she’s right, but how do we stop?

I guess maybe I’ll go back to rereading Emerson’s “Compensation” tonight.

The wind is howling, the room is cold, the walls and bookcases are nearly bare, and life has rarely been so unsettled. This morning I had intended to get up early, but I needed to stay in bed: I felt calm and relaxed, rare feelings these days, and about to get rarer, I’m sure.

I mailed my NEA application, got one letter (Oyez Review said my story will appear in their spring issue – as if it matters), was unable to go to the Jamaica Savings Bank because of a humongous line, bought twine and tape, had a slice of pizza at Ciro’s, and walked over to my grandparents’.

They were both as nervous as hell about their trip tomorrow, and they were making me nervous, so I surreptitiously handed Grandpa Herb the stamps and cigarettes he’d asked me to buy, and I was off as soon as possible.

empire-calendarNaturally Marty won’t be able to drive them to the airport tomorrow, so good old Richard will have to take them.

I’ll go over there at 10:30 AM, and I’ll try to be back by 1:30 PM, when Avis and Anthony are coming to take my desk. A few hours after that, I’m going with Larry and Mikey to visit Mike and Cindy at their house in Franklin Square.

All afternoon I packed and threw out stuff. Although I accomplished a lot today, there’s still a great deal to be done. I feel angry that I had no one to help me, but in the end I’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that I did it all by myself.

I now feel more alone than I have in years. I feel somewhat aliemarvel-1981nated from my friends; it’s as though I’m speaking a slightly different dialect from everyone else.

Oh, how I want to leave New York – but I wish I didn’t have to. I can’t say I’m not bitter at the way things turned out – or to be more accurate, the way things didn’t turn out. I cannot help feeling that I’ve failed in some way. I just don’t know what I did wrong.

Unlike almost all of my friends – Alice, Teresa, Avis, Mikey, Gary, Scott, Libby, June – I don’t really know what I’m doing with my life. I seem to have no direction except the one pointing south to Florida.

Maybe there I can figure out – da-dum – the meaning of all this. But I expect life to get a lot worse before it gets better, and I don’t know how I’m lawrence-theatergoing to cope with what’s ahead. I’m scared out of my wits.

This evening I went to Lawrence and Woodmere for a Burger King dinner and a movie: the rather boring Popeye. I have more packing to do tonight.


Sunday, January 4, 1981

9 PM. Tomorrow my “vacation” ends and I have to return to John Jay, but I feel so worn out that I really need a vacation right now.

First of all, there are the problems of moving, which I’ve had to handle completely by myself. It’s exhilarating and draining, and I don’t know how I can manage all the details.

mad-1981Then there’s this horrid winter weather. It was below 7° all day today, with a wind-chill factor of -40°. My apartment is like an icebox, and tonight is expected to be really cold again. I just can’t take it anymore.

Josh called this morning. He’d gotten in from Copenhagen last evening and said he’d had a wonderful time. When he asked me to have lunch with him, I decided I would.

The car started up and I got to Brooklyn Heights without any trouble, but when I got to Josh’s block, I found him and his car in the middle of Hicks Street.

He was moving it for alternate parking when it died. A police car had tried to push-start him, but they refused to go any further because they said he was close to the exit ramp of the BQE and it was too dangerous.

bk-hts-winterSo I got roped into pushing him with Grandpa Herb’s car; it was bad enough to drive home from Mike and Cindy’s house in Franklin Square in the snow last night, but this really freaked me out.

I pushed him around the corner, but he refused to get into a legal parking spot because he said it wasn’t safe and the car would get stripped if he left it there. Finally I tore the rear bumper off his car, and I said that was it. I pushed him to a pump and he called his cousin Moe to get him to a legal spot.

Josh didn’t have any money to have it towed. He called Todd, who said the car would start when it got warmer. So Josh and I waited for an hour in the godforsaken car, freezing out asses off.

mcd-calendarAfter a while, I couldn’t stand it any longer – I could hardly feel my toes – so I went into a coffee shop. I felt blind rage at New York (for alternate parking, for the car strippers) and the cold weather and I could only think that in Florida, these things wouldn’t have happened.

Josh and I went to eat at The Leaf & Bean after his car was settled, and he told me how wonderful Denmark was and what a downer it was to be in New York and the States again.

He had a good time, blew $1,200 ($300 on presents, including a Danish datebook for me) but said it was worth it. Despite how impressed he was with the Danes, Josh still doesn’t want to leave New York and he thinks I’m crazy to be going to Florida. Maybe I am.

playboy-calendarThe moving guy never returned my calls, so now I’ve got to find another mover quick. What a drag. All afternoon I froze and threw out stuff. I have so much to handle and can’t handle it: the car, the bed, school.

Why does everything I do always end up so difficult? Is it because I made it difficult or am I just unlucky?

Teresa called today, and we made up. On Saturday night, she’s taking me to see a Broadway show – which one, she isn’t saying. Mikey also called to find out when I could see him.

Flash: McKey Hubbell just called and said he would be here on Thursday. He has to pick up a load in the Bronx and will be here in the late afternoon. Great! – I hope.

Maybe everything will work out. I hope so. It doesn’t have to be so much trouble, does it? How I wish I were in Florida already! But I can last another ten days.

miss-piggyI called up Mom to complain, but I hated myself for it. Maybe that’s my main problem: hating myself.

Okay, old buddy, I’ll let you in on a secret: Human beings have survived worse than the little problems you’re dealing with.


Tuesday, January 6, 1981

9 PM. My apartment is basically a shambles now, but I got a great deal of packing done today. I had a terrific night’s sleep, so my wish was granted. I kept waking up thinking that the night was over, only to discover it was 11 PM, 1 AM, 3 AM.

I slept solidly for twelve hours and had delicious dreams. As often happens, my unconscious compensated for my winter frustrations with dreams of sunny summer weather.

tolkien-calendarIn the best dream, I was running by Kings Plaza, running with both feet off the ground, literally floating on air. I awoke from that dream with a sense of satisfaction I’ve rarely had, even after my most significant real-life accomplishments.

The night set the tone for the day: everything seemed do-able, and I had tremendous energy. If only every day could be like today, I could win the Nobel Prize in any field before I turn 40.

But life – as if you didn’t know it, chum – runs in cycles, and there are good days and bad days, winter and summer, youth and old age, and all of those pairs mentioned in Ecclesiastes.

r-hallIt was somewhat milder today; the wind died down during the night. I arrived at Brooklyn College early and gave the CUNY tests (with the same topics as the ones yesterday at John Jay) to my Veterans Outreach class.

My one worry is that I’ll have to go to Florida before I can hand in final grades: that will put me in a real pickle. But I’ll worry about that when the time comes.

After handing in the papers, I got a haircut at Sexy Sizzors, where Phil told me that no Florida stylist could match his tonsorial prowess.

I had intended to take out my money from the Jamaica Savings Bank, but their line was too long again, so I came home to make good use of the cartons the Hosenballs gave me after they finished packing yesterday.

mm-calendarWorking from noon until 4 PM with a break for lunch and a shower and beard-trimming, I must have thrown out two dozen plastic garbage bags’ worth of stuff: things I’d like to keep but don’t really need.

In a way, I find this throwing-out business to be satisfying: I’m simplifying, slimming down, eliminating all but the essentials, traveling light. The fewer possessions I have, the freer I am.

But there are still dozens of items yet to be packed although all drawers and cabinets are now empty except for some eating utensils. And I have yet to pack the most difficult items: the lamps and the mirror. But I do have all day tomorrow and much of Thursday.

sharkeyI’m going to give Josh my weights and my humidifier, and I’ve got a carton of canned goods that I’m going to give to Mrs. Uberman across the hall.

I got a call from Saturday Night Live: they want me to write three sketches for them if I want to be considered as a writer.

Also, Pete Cherches called and said he led the field of candidates for the CCLM grants and he said he thinks he’s got a good shot at it: Charles Plymell, Opal Nations, Kirk Robertson and two academics are also in the running. Pete said he’d be down in Florida in late April.

When I called Florida, I got the latest news. Last week Mavis’s beloved poodle died at age 17 and there was a funeral at the Miami Pet Cemetery.

pet-heavenThe Littmans’ rabbi was shocked that they asked him to officiate and said no, so Dad spoke about the dog and read the 23rd Psalm; then everyone in their family and ours shoveled a handful of dirt onto the little coffin in the grave. It was Jonny’s first funeral.

Dad said that Grandma Ethel and Grandpa Herb are “the craziest old people in the world.” He and Mom wonder if they’ll end up that way, too: “We’re doubling up on our vitamins.”

Grandma and Grandpa were pretty bored at my parents’, where there’s nothing for them to do. Today Aunt Claire and Uncle Sidney took them out, but Claire didn’t realize Mom had a sunken living room and she badly twisted her ankle when she walked in.

patriarcaWhen my parents called Marc in Rhode Island yesterday to wish him a happy birthday. Rikki’s parents wanted to speak to Dad, and her father told Dad not to let Fredo bully him, that Dad’s been too timid with Fredo.

Rikki’s mother told Dad to adopt the attitude with Fredo that because Marc is 26 years old, he and Mom have nothing to do with Marc’s problems. “You can threaten to call the police on Fredo,” Rikki’s mother said. “Fredo doesn’t want to get involved with them.”

Anyway, late this afternoon I left for BC certain I was on top of everything. I had dinner at Jentz before my last class of the fall term, and suddenly I felt exhilarated, that there were endless possibilities before me in Florida. I can do anything I want to there and not be shackled by the mistakes of the past.

ing-nightFor some reason I began thinking of Janice’s death and how meaningful I found helping her get through it. It made me wonder if I could work with the dying; it would be a nice change from the narcissistic life of a writer to help someone with something important.

Still, I suppose I helped my Liberal Studies students tonight; most of them probably wouldn’t pass the CUNY exam if I didn’t give them extra time (nearly two hours) and assistance.

The students want to have a post-exam meeting next week, and I don’t really mind, especially since I suspect they’re going to get me a present.


Thursday, January 8, 1981

6 PM. Tonight it’s the hell of the moment. What a day it was! If God had planned it, he couldn’t have done a better job of making me absolutely crazy. It’s like a race between me and Life to see who is going to win: Will I make it out of New York on time? I now doubt it.

rocky-mountMrs. Hubbell called at midnight to say that McKey, her husband, the mover, wouldn’t be able to come until Friday at 4 PM, not today. He got stuck someplace in North Carolina with his truck.

I had no choice but say all right, even though it will be a horror tomorrow because I have to mark CUNY exams at John Jay. But last night, after I lay awake awhile in bed, I felt okay about it, that it would give me a day to tie up loose ends.

This morning I decided to drive to John Jay to pick up my paycheck – my first mistake. It was so icy on the streets that when I returned to Grandpa Herb’s car, I was stuck – but good. It was nightmarish. This sounds unbelievable, but I was stuck at the parking spot on Ninth Avenue for two and a half hours.

icyThat was the unexpected crisis I had been expecting. I tried kitty litter, sanding, rocking the car, and I ended up facing the street at 45° angles – both ways. At least ten different bands of good samaritans tried to help me, and all eventually gave up.

Finally, the last valiant band got me totally on the sidewalk and shoved me onto the street. But the car was riding oddly and on the tedious drive down the wreck of the West Side Highway, my brakes went.

I was so sick I thought I would die. But I managed to get the car to Bob’s. It was frigid again, and I froze as I went to Brooklyn College by bus; I got my paycheck, then gave Payroll envelopes (as I had at John Jay) for them to mail my remaining checks to Florida.

flatlands-libraryThen I had lunch, cashed my checks at the check-cashing place and took the money to deposit in the bank. I waited in the Flatlands library until 3:30 PM. When I called Bob, he said he had to replace the brakes and it looked to him like someone had been driving the car with the emergency brake on.

Of course! During one of our struggles to get the car out of the ice, one of the good samaritans told me to put the emergency brake on. I could have killed myself for my stupidity! Why hadn’t I thought to release it? Now I’ve ended up paying $40 on Grandpa Herb’s car for no reason.

As long as I was in the old neighborhood in Brooklyn, I decided to fill my Triavil prescription, but Deutsch Pharmacy was again mysteriously closed. Maybe Mr. Deutsch died?

rockaway-po-1Back in Rockaway, I got my mail at the post office. The University of Minnesota guy wrote back to me, explaining I was not able to be considered for an assistant professorship because they are “looking for younger, less experienced” people.

Fuck academia! I give up! No more applying for teaching jobs! They’d only be three-year non-renewable gigs anyway, the next step up after you’ve been exploited as an adjunct. I am so filled with rage that it’s no wonder, on top everything else, that I’m going nuts.

I came home. I don’t have enough boxes for all my things; I kept going through old letters and staring off numbly into space; I finally gave up on trying to sell my own car and a guy is coming later this evening to tow it away for $20.

surrenderI give up, world. This is it: I surrender. Tomorrow will be another nightmare. I have to sit at fucking John Jay and read fucking exams and then rush home to the horror of moving – if I’m lucky.

All I really want to do is die. It’s so cold, I put the burners on now, and maybe, if I’m lucky, I’ll be asphyxiated tonight.


Friday, January 9, 1981

I suppose this will all seem like some kind of learning situation in the future, and that, as I now view the events of last summer, I will eventually see that I’m a better person for it. But it’s right now, and living through it is very uncomfortable.

icy-2I fell asleep with my clothes on late last night, only to be awakened by the door buzzer. It was the guy with the tow truck who had come for the car. I went out; I had already taken out my lenses so the world was fuzzy, dark and icy. We went to the corner, where I gave him the keys and the title to the car, and I signed a bill of sale.

I remembered, as I watched him take off the license plates, that first day I got the Comet. It was June 1973, and the car was shiny and new and full of hope, just like everything else in those days following my graduation from BC.

I didn’t stay to watch the car be towed away in exchange for the twenty-dollar bill he handed me. What an ignominious end.

tullyThis morning I used Grandpa Herb’s car to drive to John Jay, arriving half an hour late. I actually managed to get trapped in the fire corridor of the Lincoln Center basement parking garage.

We marked CUNY writing exams for three hours; I was so preoccupied I hardly read the papers. At one point, Audre Lorde pointed out that I’d given a 1 to a paper she thought was a 6; I looked at it again and saw I must have been crazy to do it.

I got a headache from tension and eyestrain. I left as soon as I could, after I got all my students’ papers back and entered their grades. Everyone who should have passed, passed.

I rushed back to Rockaway and made good time, but I just missed the ringing phone. I was very anxious that McKey Hubbell wasn’t going to show yellow-pages-2up, and by 3 PM I began looking through the Yellow Pages for movers.

Just then he called to ask directions. He was over by 4:30 PM; his wife was downstairs and in pain from root canal work. We loaded up the elevator with the boxes first, just the two of us; then we took the furniture.

I wasn’t as careful as Mom would have been, but I think we did all right. It was exhausting work, but we managed to do it in just three elevator trips. To my amazement, he was able to get all my stuff in his truck, though just barely.

We were finished at 6:30 PM and called Mom, who spoke to him and gave him particulars. McKey wanted to get to Davie on Sunday, but Mom told him the storage place stays open only till 6 PM. He said he’d give her a call uhaullater tonight.

I went to Citibank to get him $150 (Mom will pay him the other half) and then gave the Hubbells directions on how to get to New Jersey.

My apartment looked so much smaller devoid of all the furniture except the bed. I couldn’t help flashing back to the first time Mrs. Calman showed the place to me when I came to the building in September 1979.

I felt weak with hunger and stress, so I took some luggage and got into the car and went to McDonald’s for dinner. I was shaking like the proverbial leaf in the restaurant, a combination of exhaustion, emotional stress and the cold.

rockaway-apts-nightI came up to my grandparents’ apartment and swallowed twenty vitamin capsules. Since I didn’t get an upset stomach, I’m assuming my body needed and absorbed it all. I felt feverish and sickish (and I was upset to learn that Grandpa Herb is sick in bed in Florida) and very tense.

There was a nice hot bath and then I rubbed myself with baby oil – that felt good – and called Dad at the Sheraton. He had arrived in the morning and was at Sasson all day. I made up to meet him at 1 PM tomorrow in his hotel room.

Then I phoned Teresa, who said she’d be home tomorrow at 6 PM and we’d go to the theater then.

I still feel very tense and I know the next five days, my last in New York, will be painful – and memorable.


Sunday, January 11, 1981

hotel-room11 PM. I’m in Dad’s room of the Sheraton. This has been one of the most memorable, and yes, happiest, weekends of my life.

As difficult as the past week has been, that’s how wonderful this weekend was. It almost makes me believe that everything does turn out well in the end.

I didn’t get ill, all my furniture and possessions are now safely in Florida, and I’ve spent the last two days with people I love.

I came to Dad’s hotel room at 1 PM yesterday. When he opened the door, he looked at me in amazement; it took him several minutes to get used to my beard. Dad looks well: probably better than I do.

We went out to lunch at a health-food restaurant and talked. He said he was glad to get away from Grandpa Herb and Grandma Ethel, who are driving columbus-circle-streeteveryone in the house crazy. It’s good to know I’m not the crazy one; sometimes, when I’m alone with my grandparents, I begin to think that they make sense.

Dad was upset that Sasson took away their ladies’ line from him, but they offered him the job as their New York salesman. However, he wouldn’t move back to New York even for all the money he could make here.

He loves his life in Florida: the house has become a more valuable property; he and Mom see more shows and attend more cultural events than they ever did here; and Jonny is much happier.

columbus-circle-lollipop-bldgIt’s just too bad that Marc is such a mess. Dad screamed at Fredo over the phone Thursday night; he told Fredo that we’re not used to dealing with such people. Mom had been angry with me for telling Evie about Marc’s plight, his being in hiding, but as I said, she knew about it already because Marc had called Bonnie from Providence.

Jonny and Mom are very nervous about Fredo, who sent a girl around to the house to check to see if Rikki and Marc were in Florida.

Dad and I spent the whole day together, taking a walk up cold Seventh Avenue, watching a movie in his room, and then having dinner at the hotel coffee shop. Dad and I had a good talk. He wanted to see a show, but when he found it was $28 a ticket, he changed his mind.

I left at 7 PM to get to Teresa’s in time to see whatever show she’d planned west-85th-riversideto take me to. When I opened the door of her apartment, I saw a big grey poster that said NEW YORK WILL BE GRAYER WITHOUT GRAYSON and which had a picture of a teary-eyed Statue of Liberty holding a torch and a copy of With Hitler in New York.

“Surprise!” shouted a crowd of people from the living room. I was stunned, although everyone was sure that I had known that Avis, Alice and Teresa had planned a going-away party.

But I didn’t know what to say as I kissed and shook hands with Avis, Alice, Teresa, Peter, Mikey, Diana and Richard. I was handed presents and told I had come a bit early (as usual!). Within half an hour, Wesley and Marla, Scott Sommer, Ronna and Jordan, Barbara, and Simon all arrived.

good-luck-maryIt was something I’d wanted all my life: a party given for me, just like the going-away party given for Mary Tyler Moore in the opening credits of her old show. I was incredibly touched and a little shy. It was one of the happiest nights I’ve spent.

I was told the reasons for the absence of others: Mason called me to offer his apologies; Mikey said Mike, Mandy and Larry had a wedding to attend; Josh couldn’t come because Avis was there; June wasn’t invited because Richard was; Vito had tickets to a play; they couldn’t locate Gary or Elihu; and no one wanted Elspeth or Scott Koestner there (hey, the three women making arrangements were all his ex-lovers).

Teresa’s sister and brother-in-law stopped in at the party for a few minutes, too. Avis said that Anthony needed to stay home to study for finals; she also talked a lot about their new vegetarian diet, which didn’t sound too healthy to me.

teresas-windowRonna brought her résumé for Teresa to give her neighbor at the Times; she said that her brother told her how great he thought I looked with a beard. I went over to talk to Jordan, who didn’t know anyone but Ronna and looked a little lost; he’s slightly boring but very earnest and sweet, a nice guy.

I introduced Jordan to Marla, and they discovered they were born on the same exact day. I can’t imagine two people less alike: straight-arrow Jordan and wacky Marla, who died her hair purple and told me she changed her last name to Darling.

Wes is doing work at that posh mental hospital, Gracie Square (where gracie-squareShelli’s father stayed when he had shock treatments). He played me a tape of his band’s newest songs, which I really liked.

Scott, true to his nature, did not seem excited by his movie sale; he looked as depressed as ever. His blond hair has gotten even longer, and he told me he’d like to get out of New York, maybe get a teaching job.

Peter wasn’t feeling well, but I thanked him for making such a great sign for the party. Alice gave me some gifts: the new International Directory of Little Magazines, a ream of Sphinx typing paper and a bag full of artificial snow.

farewellTeresa and Alice brought out wine, cheese, crackers, a turkey with gravy and stuffing, veggies, salad, and later, creampuffs. Barbara said she’ll really miss me, but she’ll call when she visits her mother in Hollywood.

Simon hasn’t visited his mother in Plantation yet, and it sounds like he doesn’t plan to. Richard put down Florida and most of the other guests; he and Peter have a funny, theatrical feud going.

Some people left early: Ronna and Jordan, on their way to meet Sid and Cara, said they’d call me when they go to Florida to visit Ronna’s grandparents in Orlando.

The last guests finally left when Alice, Peter, Richard and Mikey went to share a cab downtown. Then Teresa and I got into our night clothes and gossiped as we cleaned up. She made up the couch for me, and we chatted until uws-nightwe both felt sleepy.

I slept like a king, not feeling the cold outside. In the morning, Diana came over and we had waffles that Teresa made from scratch. A friend brought over the Sunday Times and we made out invitations to Teresa’s parents’ thirtieth anniversary party.

It was a wonderful, leisurely day: I love sitting around with Teresa and Diana, bullshitting and relaxing. When I get to Florida, I’m really going to miss my friends.

After a late lunch, I decided to take a drive, to Inwood and Riverdale and finally all the way up Broadway to Yonkers, where I’d never been before. As I returned on the Henry Hudson Parkway, the red sun was setting over the George gw-bridge-sunsetWashington Bridge. It was gorgeous.

I came back to the Sheraton and waited for Dad to come back from the Coliseum and then we went out to eat at the Carnegie Deli. When we called Mom, she had strange news as well as good news.

Joel phoned her with the news that Cousin Robin has married Drew, that black ex-convict she lived with years ago.

Moreover, she’s gone away with him to parts unknown, leaving 12-year-old Michael to come home to an empty apartment and a note saying that he should go live with his father. Joel got a note saying the same thing, and no one knows where Robin and Drew are.

Meanwhile, Marc called and told Mom that Fredo wanted Rikki to leave Marc and come back to him, and that’s what precipitated the crisis and their having to go into hiding.

gw-bridge-2What a family!

The good news was that McKey had brought all of my furniture and packages over to the storage place.

I’ll sleep here at the Sheraton in Dad’s room tonight and in the morning walk over to John Jay to hand in my final grades; I had a pretty nice term there and I’m grateful I had the opportunity to teach at John Jay.

Then I’ll go to Brooklyn College to see if the CUNY writing tests are in so I can hand in my grades there before I go back to Rockaway to sleep at Grandma Ethel’s.

And so, with just a few more days in the city, everything seems to be falling into place. TC mark

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