Saturday, May 1, 1982
4 PM on May Day. Mayday?
I had hoped to be so productive this weekend. I wanted to get started on the Coda article on the South Florida literary scene and I just can’t seem to. The Florida Endowment for the Humanities grant application is now unnecessary; it was for a grant for the summer, Jean Trebbi said.
I haven’t cleaned up the house or my files. The place smells of the exterminator’s spray; when there was a knock on the door this morning, I hoped it was Sean. Sean! I can’t seem to stop thinking about him. I wish I knew how he felt about me. I wish I knew how I felt about him.
Does he want me as a friend because he already has lots of lovers? Does he want me as a lover in addition to his other lovers? Does he want a “one-and-only” relationship?
Wait a minute, kid – you, the 30-year-old one. What do you want? I want to make love to Sean. I feel a little silly being so old and not having any real experience with guys, but I’m sure Sean can teach me what needs teaching. And when you feel real feelings, the sex part usually comes naturally.
Hell, I’d settle for being Sean’s friend. He’s made me feel 18 again. This morning I got out all my old photographs of me and my family and my college friends. I started thinking about the past in a new way.
I feel like writing again.
Very nervously, I called Sean’s number at 11:30 AM. No one was home. For a while, I went over to my parents’, where I fiddled around with the cable TV (they’ve got two new stations, the Movie Channel and Music TV), tried to call Sean again (again no answer), and read a letter from Rick.
He got written up in Michelle Slung’s “Book Report” column in the Washington Post’s Book World (the one I was in) with the D.C. Lit Mag Anthology. Rick sent me the transcript – a page of it, anyway – of the Voice of America short story symposium that Kostelanetz had with me, Steve Dixon, Carol Emshwiller and Ken Gangemi.
And he wrote about Tom McHale. Damn, I keep thinking about Tom’s suicide. Rick said maybe even the one interview that I was going to do with Tom for Gargoyle would have helped. . . Who knows?
Tom Whalen has hired Jeanie Thompson to run the visiting writer series at NOCCA so he can concentrate more on teaching fiction.
Stacy writes that she and her girlfriend, like Elihu, are facing the New York housing dilemma: Do you pay an exorbitant rent or squander all your savings into a down payment so you can have the illusory equity?
Equity – why am I writing about equity?
Stacy asked me, “What’s doing with your student?” – meaning Sean. And she said she’ll look forward to reading Jane DeLynn’s In Thrall on my recommendation.
Sean Alving, what have you done to my life? You didn’t even exist until October 1964, months after I became a man in the Jewish religion (I assume you’re Catholic but maybe you’re Protestant), at a time when I was in the ninth grade, campaigning for the Democratic party (“Get on the Johnson,Humphrey, Kennedy Team,” said my palm cards), when the Russians got rid of Khrushchev, the British voted out the Tories, Red China exploded the A-bomb, the Yankees fired Yogi Berra, and Walter Jenkins was arrested in the YMCA men’s room.
Shit. When I was a freshman in college, you were not even in kindergarten. When I was making love to my girlfriend, you were learning to read. When I was in graduate school, you were nine years old.
What the hell does any of this mean, anyway? Oh, Sean, I don’t know if I’m coming or going now. Even if you disappear from my life tomorrow, you’ve already changed things for me.
Sunday, May 2, 1982
7 PM. I spent a good deal of time thinking about Sean.
On further reflection, I decided it’s certain he already has a lover: the guy he went to Key West with, whom he spent Easter at the Marlin Beach Hotel with, to whose place in Fort Lauderdale he was going Friday night.
It’s also undeniable that compared to this man, who’s obviously young and good-looking and successful in the gay world, I am a total square, a misfit: dull and boring.
I don’t drink. I don’t dance. I don’t do drugs and I’m not up on what’s happening. I have very little contact with the gay world. Yet I’m me: boring chubby, and unfashionable I may be, but I’m not going to change for a 17-year-old boy, no matter how deeply I may think I care for him.
He’ll have to accept me on my own terms – just as I would have to accept him the way he is. The best I can hope for with Sean, I see now, is a pleasant friendship and some fun times in bed. But not a real relationship.
I’m not going to take that all-or-nothing attitude I had in the past. I’ll settle for half a loaf. A piece of goddamn bread, even.
In Sunday, Bloody Sunday (a film much better than this year’s crop of gay movies), I always sided with Glenda Jackson when she said, “Sometimes nothing is better than anything.”
But now I agree with Peter Finch, who said at the film’s end that the lover wasn’t the guy he was looking for, “but he was something. . . we were something.”
I spent today reading the papers (another article on “The Lost Generation of Gypsy Scholars” in the Times), catching up on my correspondence, exercising, eating pizza and yogurt, avoiding my parents, calling Grandma Ethel (whose non sequiturs lead me to believe she may be getting senile), and contemplating a fantasy wherein I live in basement in Hoboken, write great novels while enjoying New York night life and somehow have enough money to live on. (I don’t ever have a job in this fantasy.)
And of course I spent lots of time not thinking of Sean. Also cleaning the bathrooms: there’s nothing like scrubbing two different toilet bowls in one day to make you feel virtuous.
Last night I read With Hitler in New York and Disjointed Fictions and found that they stand up pretty well; I even laughed out loud half a dozen times. Sometimes I find the stories are richer now. If Sean doesn’t adore these books, he’s not worth dealing with.
Ahem. But seriously, folks, I’ve got three days of freedom ahead of me and then six weeks of teaching Term IIIA. I can’t wait to be in New York for the time of the summer solstice.
Hey, I just realized that Wednesday is the pub date for Lincoln’s Doctor’s Dog. I don’t expect much more in the way of public reaction. I got creamed by Kirkus, nice reviews in the Orlando Sentinel and Publishers Weekly, and those mentions in the New York Times Book Review and Washington Post Book World columns, plus the Herald feature article.
More reviews? Probably not Library Journal, thus killing Kevin’s chances for breaking even. Maybe two more local (small) newspapers. Possibly American Book Review and the West Coast Review of Books. But definitely not any reviews in the Times Book Review, Time, Newsweek, the daily Times, Harpers, The Atlantic, Los Angeles Times or Washington Post. Which means it’s all over but the silence.
Monday, May 3, 1982
7 PM. Sean left half an hour ago. We made love this afternoon. It’s so strange, I feel a little shaky, and it’s not just from hunger. After all these years, I’ve finally had a homosexual experience – a real sexual experience, anyway.
It was good. At first I felt very scared, scared because I didn’t know what to do and because I was afraid I’d look silly, that I wouldn’t get a hard-on, that I would panic.
It was I who made the first move, though: touching Sean’s shoulders and arms until, miracle of miracles, he grabbed my calf. It was very awkward, like 12-year-olds, but very sweet.
I told Sean I hadn’t had sex for a long time but I didn’t tell him how long. We started out on the floor and somehow we ended up in bed. There was a lot of kissing and hugging, and it was very tender and gentle.
I had no trouble getting an erection, but I didn’t have an orgasm. No matter: this was the first time and all I wanted was that luxurious feeling of being close to someone, of loving and being loved.
Sean was so sweet; I’ll always adore him. “Schöner Kopf,” I called him. We were in bed for hours afterward, hugging and kissing and talking. It did all come back to me, the feelings and the instincts.
There were moments in the beginning, rolling around on the living room floor, when my brain kept flashing on: the neighbors will see us through the open window – Sean was your student – he’s seventeen – this is it, your first homosexual experience.
Sean was patient enough; he’s been having sex for a year and seems to have had a lot of experience.
Last night I ended up driving around Davie, trying to find Sean’s house. I got up the nerve to call him, but his mother answered the phone and I hung up. I came home to read Miller’s Tropic of Cancer, a favorite old book.
I woke up at 8 AM because someone was knocking at my door: Sean. Oh God. I took a shower, got dressed, had breakfast while Sean looked at old photos.
We drove to Coconut Grove and walked around and then went to Miami Beach. Remarkably, Sean had never been to either place, and he’d lived his whole life in South Florida.
We didn’t have all that much to talk about because our references are so different. Sean kept apologizing and I kept telling him not to. He has a delightful serene manner, and I like his expressions: “Neat,” and “Rough life.”
It was a fairly pleasant day. Just before getting back to the condo, we got pizza on Sunset Strip and ate it here and then talked pretty intimately. I told him about my life and sounded like an asshole, I’m sure. But then we began making love.
It was awfully sweet and I’m so glad it happened. I told Sean I’ve always been a lucky person but now I was sure of it. The first time should be special and this one was: it was with the guy I’ve been fantasizing about for months.
He’s cute, bright (Mensa), honest (he can’t tell a lie), incredibly un-neurotic. I told him how much I admired him and respected him, and I do.
Whatever happens – even if this ends up a disaster, with me (I’m paranoid, Sean says) losing my job and friends and family – and with Sean and I ending up in God-awful scenes of recriminations and whatever – I’ll always have today.
Do I feel different? No. I was always scared that after one sexual encounter with a guy, I’d become some sort of screaming queen. But I feel more of a man, if anything. I feel like shouting it to people – but of course, I can’t.
Funny thing: it was really no different than having sex with a woman. That surprised me.
I can smell Sean on my body now. I feel tired and a bit worn – my making-love muscles must have atrophied – but very, very nice. Mazel tov, Grayson!
Tuesday, May 4, 1982
6 PM. Last night I kept waiting for the wrath of God to strike, but God must be on vacation, or more likely, he couldn’t care less. I took the phone off the hook because I didn’t feel like talking to anyone.
It turned out that Sean was trying to call me after reading my stories. I phoned him this morning and he came over at about 1 PM, when I was reading the Times. We had an idyllic afternoon together, the kind of afternoon I’d always dreamed about.
After an hour of talking about this and that, we got down to some serious lovemaking. Again, I wasn’t relaxed enough to come, but I’m not going to let that worry me. I had retarded ejaculation with women, too, probably a mixture of nerves and the side effects of Triavil.
But I enjoyed myself enormously, and I loved giving Sean pleasure. His cock is so much bigger than mine, and he’s awfully cute, with his long thin body, hairy legs and angelic face. He’s incredibly affectionate; I’ve never known anyone to give love so freely.
We’re also very playful and unserious: to me, that’s the secret of sex. We laugh together an awful lot and play with each other’s faces and generally act silly. It was heaven lying in bed for the afternoon, hugging and kissing Sean, loving him.
He’s got to get a job for the summer tomorrow, and I’ve got to go to BCC and also help Marc move his things into the mini-warehouse.
It’s unlikely Sean and I will be able to do this every day, which is okay with me: Sean may be a virile teenager but I’m not the guy I was in the spring of ’71, when Shelli and I spent every afternoon making love.
We took a shower together and that, too, was another fantasy come to life. I soaped Sean more than was hygienically necessary, and after we got dressed, I kissed him goodbye – he’s about six feet tall, so I really have to stretch up – as he went off to Fort Lauderdale, probably to another lover.
Oddly, I don’t care. These men who have taught Sean stuff are helping to teach me, and I certainly can’t fulfill all of Sean’s needs, sexual and otherwise. I don’t understand what he sees in me – my fat, stubby body – but I’ll always bless him.
I feel alive in a way I haven’t felt in years. I lived so long, not so much without sex, but without intimacy and sensuality.
I wonder if it shows. Does my brother see it when I go to Davie to pick up my mail? Can my elderly neighbors tell?
I just noticed the date: a dozen years ago today was the Kent State massacre, probably the formative world event of my adolescence. Odd how close I feel to being 18 again.
This idyll can’t last, of course, but I should try to be un-Jewish enough to relax and enjoy it while it’s happening.
Miriam sent a letter – I showed Sean her sentence: “What’s happening with your student Sean?” – that made me happy, for she is having one hell of a good time, going to the Zen Center, getting massage clients, and being with Robert. They’re moving in together in the fall.
Miriam said that Zephyr Press will do a twelve-story collection of mine, and they hope for a fall pub date with a party in New York City. Gosh, that would be neat!
“Neat”? See, Sean’s influenced me already.
Wednesday, May 5, 1982
6 PM. I’ve had time to reflect upon my relationship with Sean today. I didn’t see him or speak with him, and I was at BCC and at my parents’, talking with co-workers and my family. (Incidentally, it don’t show that I’m sleeping with a guy: everyone can see I’m still the same old asshole).
I don’t think that much harm can come from my relationship with Sean. He’s a bright kid, but more than that, he’s been around. His having lots of lovers is a plus; he won’t become dependent upon me for either sexual satisfaction (of which, I’m afraid, by comparison to others, I can provide little but the barest boners) or emotional attachment.
I do love him, but it’s not the obsessive, all-encompassing kind of love. (I’ve steeled myself against that too well to ever feel it again.) I’m grateful to Sean for what he’s done for me, and I’ll always love him, but I realize, certainly, that there’s no question of a long-range relationship, except maybe as friends. He is seventeen and I am thirty; you can’t pretend there’s no difference.
Am I hurting Sean? I can’t see how. I can be his friend, and maybe kind of a father-figure, and maybe a different kind of role model than the other gay men he knows – though of course I don’t want to change Sean one whit.
I hope he’ll always be glad that he knew me. But if not, there’s not anything I can do about it. I can’t make any demands of him, and I can’t be at all possessive: because of our age difference, he needs to be in control in this relationship. I respect Sean and I admire him, whatever choices he makes.
Does all this sound too much like psychobabble? Basically, it is how I feel.
Another question: Should I tell anyone: Alice, Teresa, Josh, Mikey? I don’t see what point there would be right now. Probably yes, when I’m in New York and can talk to my friends face to face, I’ll do it – because what happened with Sean is an important part of my life and it wouldn’t be fair not to share it; I’d be misrepresenting myself otherwise.
With my family, there’s nothing to be gained: it just doesn’t matter right now. At school I’ll be discreet but I will never ever deny being gay. That would be like passing for Gentile to avoid the Nazis.
Tomorrow the new term starts; it looks like both the 8 AM 101 section and the evening 102 will have enough students to run.
Another ethical problem: Should Sean remain in my 102 class? He registered for it weeks ago. Maybe I’m blinded by my feelings, but I think I can be objective with him and his work.
Knowing Sean, I feel he’d work harder with me than with anyone else because he wouldn’t want to disappoint me. What I feel a little weird about is hiding our relationship from the other students (since the class is at night, I won’t have to worry about faculty or staff).
But is it hiding it or just realizing that it plays no part in the classroom situation? I realize it’s a tricky issue and I might be wrong, but I don’t believe Sean’s being in my class would hurt me or Sean or the other students, who deserve equal attention and regard from me.
I have just five weeks left in this apartment, a very short time; helping Marc with his belongings today made me realize that things are fairly transient. There’s no guarantee I’ll be back at BCC in August.
Right now I have to live day by day, week by week. Hey – I just remembered: today’s the official publication date for Lincoln’s Doctor’s Dog. Nedda called and said the party would be at our next South Florida Book Group meeting, which is so nice of her and the others.
Thursday, May 6, 1982
4 PM. I spoke to Josh for an hour last evening. He’s been very busy working overtime and trying to get out the magazine.
Josh is finding that being a little magazine editor is difficult: Fat Ronnie submitted a story that was so rotten, Josh told him he wouldn’t print it. The second story Ronnie gave him was also badly written (“He’s very unsophisticated about language”) and homophobic.
Josh advised him to try to revise it, but it made him feel uncomfortable. Worse, Josh had to reject a long story by Todd, who refused to respond to Josh’s request that he submit a shorter one.
Todd’s wife told Josh that Todd has been severely depressed lately. Todd is 38, has two little kids, and hasn’t gotten anywhere as a writer. “And to Todd,” said Josh, “writing was a religion; it was more important to him than it was to you.”
True – which is probably why Todd never made it as a writer, and in my modest way, I have. I see the same issue with Patrick: these guys get trapped in the stupid macho mystique of Hemingway (and less so, of Faulkner and Fitzgerald).
The idea of the Great American Novel is another idiotic macho contest. Who cares whom Hemingway could beat up? Only Norman Mailer, and he’s approaching old age.
I was drifting off to dreamland at 11:30 PM last night when Sean called; I was very tired but even happier to hear his voice. We talked for an hour about this and that and nothing: Cocoa Krispies (he had two bowls for breakfast), Winky Dink, and With Hitler in New York, which he finished reading.
I had a dream about Sean, but he was just a natural companion and not the focal point of the dream. This morning I struggled to get up at 6:45 AM and was on hand for my 8 AM 101 class.
By now, I’m not nervous even on the first day of class. I handed out the syllabus and explained the course to the students; letting them go early, I wandered around the office.
Since about one-third of the faculty aren’t around for Term IIIA, and since the student population is smaller, things seem quieter and more intimate. We haven’t gotten class rosters yet, and I still don’t know how many are in my night class. The day class has only 22, but it will probably grow.
I had lunch in the Broward Mall and came home to lift weights, read magazines and work on my Coda article. Sean called at 1 PM. He’s having trouble finding a part-time job. He needs about $100 a week to pay for gas and his expenses, and he’d like money for books.
In the background, I heard his mother say, “You should get money with your brains,” and Sean explained that she meant scholarships. I told him he probably could have gotten financial aid this year and that we should look into the possibilities.
We also talked about what kind of job he should try to get; he worked as a cashier at a Super X but quit because he got bored. I told him about my own shitty part-time jobs and said he shouldn’t feel rejected if he isn’t hired.
There are times when it strikes me that Sean is still a boy and that I’m much more experienced in the world than he is. His sophistication sometimes leads me to think Sean is my age, too.
If I can help Sean in any way, it’s my pleasure. He got off the phone and went off to the allergist and to collect a Beatles record he won when he was the fifteenth caller to a radio station, Y-100, in Hollywood.
Friday, May 7, 1982
1 PM. Last night I had my first good sleep in over a week. Luckily it’s been very cool the past few weeks, making sleeping more comfortable. Sean didn’t call again yesterday, and I felt disappointed that he didn’t come over.
It’s funny: I’m afraid both of losing him and of his getting too close to me. Everything on your own terms, Grayson: you’re so selfish. Why can’t you be satisfied with the gift he’s already given you? I’ll try to be.
I called him a couple of hours ago. He and his mother had just taken the dogs to the vet for treatment of a bladder infection. I realized that I was intruding, as Sean was attempting to get the dogs to take their pills.
Sean said he’d see me in class tonight. I got the roster, and I have a few other students I already know: Monica, who was in Sean’s class; Ken, from my 101 class last fall; and that brilliant black girl, Lottye, who’s already taken me for 100 and 101.
Dr. Pawlowski said many students may not show up tonight since the registrar neglected to say that the class meets this Friday, so tonight shouldn’t be too much work; we probably won’t stay beyond 9 PM.
It’s going to be strange having Sean in the class, and I hope we both can handle it. I can’t press him at all for anything: he wants to keep our relationship low-key, and I’ve got to take my cue from him.
Yesterday afternoon I got a call from a woman at Florida Atlantic University who wanted me to teach business English two afternoons a week. She said George Street, the BCC-North English chair, had given her my number, so maybe they’re considering me for that full-time job. Anyway, the course runs through August, so I couldn’t take it and I gave them Patrick’s number.
When Mom phoned to tell me that I’d gotten some mail, I asked her to open it and read it to me. I won second prize for “I Don’t Want No Education” in the Berkeley Poets Cooperative Fiction Contest: $100 coming up after I return the signed contract, with publication to follow, and I’ve got another credit on my résumé.
This morning’s class went well, as more former students showed up. It’s still a fairly small class, about 25, and on Monday I can relax, as they have library orientation.
There’s not much to do except the Coda article; I’ve made notes and plan to research and write it over the weekend. I always work better under pressure.
Crad Kilodney writes that he’s very disgusted with street-selling; his usual customers aren’t coming around and sales are very bad. He seems –
4 PM. Sean knocked on the door during that last sentence. He left just a minute ago. I still feel his arms around me. We had a wonderful afternoon in bed. Sean is so affectionate that I have to pinch myself that he’s real.
“You’re my best fantasy come true,” I told him. The thing that strikes me most about homosexual lovemaking is that it’s so completely similar to making love with a woman: I did not expect that. Today I came shortly after Sean did, so we were both really satisfied.
“I’ve read your books and I know all your secrets,” Sean whispered in my ear. When I look at him funny, he says, “Oh yeah?”
The last three hours have been pure heaven. I definitely love Sean. The only problem is in my head: I don’t feel guilty exactly, but I feel that I’m going to have to pay for this someday.
I don’t deserve Sean. Well, yes, I do – but things usually don’t work out so equitably. I feel I’ve never been so happy. (Or so reckless?)
Saturday, May 8, 1982
It’s just after midnight, just Saturday. I need to record how I feel now. If my Jewish/neurotic instincts are correct, and I’m in for a disaster, at least I can say now, at this moment, I am perfectly happy.
I feel I have everything I’ve wanted: a good job, a lover, friends, a happy family, my health, money, success as a writer, and time to enjoy it all.
For those times in the future when I’m close to suicide, I want to record that there was a time when I felt myself to be the luckiest animal on spaceship Earth.
This evening I went over to my parents’ after I had a quick veal parmigiana at Burger King. There was a note from Saul Cohen, telling me to keep the faith and to await good news from him. (I don’t expect it – and happily, I don’t need it.)
Rick wrote that he liked the article Grant Segall wrote about Tom McHale and said that if Taplinger doesn’t sell the paperback rights to Hitler, Paycock Press would love to do it. He also mentioned that there was a Voice of America paperback with the short story symposium I appeared on. I will have to find that book.
At school, Mercy and Mick seemed assured that few students would show up because of the registrar’s foul-up. They were right. At 7 PM, I had only seven students – out of a registered 23 – mostly adults.
It looks like a nice group. Sean looked uncomfortable, though; he could barely look at me and he was blushing. I gave the class the opening spiel and then let them go to buy books.
Sean started to leave and I had to catch up to him. I did do him a special favor: he didn’t have money for the text, so I gave him an extra copy I found in the office. Jeff was coming to pick him up and they were going to a bar in Miami.
I touched Sean lightly on the arm, but I think we both felt sad because there was such a gulf between the two of us, the two people who had spent hours this afternoon making love to each other. The night fell at about 8 PM; it was gorgeous out and it still is.
At my parents’ house, I found Jonathan home, just back from work. He had gotten paid and had a $100 bill and some pants from the store; he said he needed them because he’s lost so much weight since he became a vegetarian.
Jonathan said Marc has been much happier lately and that things have never been better at home: “We’re a family again and have fun evenings.”
He also asked me if I ever saw Maxine on campus. I told him no, that I had been thinking about her the other day and I assumed she must have left BCC. He said he hadn’t heard from her “since December.” Funny how little I know about Jonathan’s pain.
When my parents and Marc got home from dinner, I asked Marc to go to the movies with me, partly because I didn’t feel like going home alone and partly because I haven’t spent any time with Marc.
He does look better these days, and we ended up having fun seeing some dopey action film, High Risk. I got home a little while ago.
I spoke to Brad and told him what was going on with Sean. Brad said he envied us both and that I shouldn’t go looking for trouble when there isn’t any. Brad’s grandmother is coming up to stay with him; she says all sane people leave South Florida in May.
Sunday, May 9, 1982
8 PM. On Friday afternoon, Sean and I were getting out of bed and heading for the shower when he stopped and said, “I wonder how you think.”
I asked him if he meant that he wondered what I was thinking at that moment, or what I thought about him.
“No,” Sean said, smiling. “It’s just that I know how I think, and you can never really know how another person thinks.”
Although I have not seen or spoken with him this weekend, Sean has never been far from my thoughts. In some ways, it’s been a crummy weekend.
Well, no. As Garrison Keillor said on A Prairie Home Companion on radio last evening, “There are good days and bad days, and smart people know how to make the most of one and the least of the other.”
Hell, I don’t even know if I will ever see Sean again. I mean, he’ll show up for class – if he hasn’t decided to drop the course – but he’s never said how he feels about me except by responding affirmatively to my question, “Do you like me?”
I think that’s what makes Sean all the more precious to me. It’s like knowing you could die any day and so you’re living life to the fullest because of that. Which no one does, of course.
I’ve got my first cold in two years: headache, body aches, swollen glands, sore throat, running nose. I tend to get colds at times of transition.
I had a bad cold when I first came to Florida in December 1979 when separation anxiety grew overwhelming. I was sick in the fall of 1980 when I started my three-college teaching marathon and realized I would have to change my life. I got a stomach virus when I returned home alone in January 1980; another one when I arrived in Florida and began teaching at BCC a year later; another at Teresa’s, just as I was about to go off to something uncertain in New Orleans.
It’s happened all through all my life, so I see this cold as my friend, letting me know I am changing. Sean has helped me. A week ago I hadn’t even made love to any man. Now I have, and with Sean, I feel as though we’ve been together a long time.
I can’t say I find sex with Sean more satisfying than sex with a woman. It’s the same, but then again, I’ve had sex only with women I loved.
Yesterday I lay in bed until 1 PM. I was awakened by two phone calls. One was from a woman who asked if I was Richard Grayson, and when I said yes, she told me that the priest said I needed more information from my wife before the diocese could proceed with an annulment.
It turned out she wanted some other guy with my name, of course. The other call was from Selma, who was excited because she might get a job as a counselor and substitute teacher at the Blake School near her home.
The doctors and everyone else have been attempting to discourage Selma from graduate school. One physician told her, “Why don’t you just give up?” But God bless her, despite her stroke and her disabilities and infirmities, she “won’t sit around on my ass – which is getting bigger every day.”
I went to the Fort Lauderdale library and found nothing on the South Florida poetry scene, had a miserable lunch, a lousy drive home, and a quiet evening.
I called Teresa, who had good news: she’s now the press secretary for the campaign of Attorney General Robert Abrams. She’ll be making $30,000, and she’s a little overwhelmed by the responsibility. Teresa was highly touted by Frank, Richie, and Stan, and she said she has to prove she’s as good as they say.
Abrams is a shoo-in for reelection, with no primary opposition and probably a very weak Republican candidate in November. Teresa couldn’t talk long, as she had some more people coming over to discuss renting the summer houses.
This morning I called Alice, who only recently got back from her European cruise with Peter; she already wrote the article about the trip and sold it to the Christian Science Monitor, and that’s a relief.
Alice has been quite busy, doing major articles for Seventeen, catching up on her work at Weight Watchers, rewriting the book with her co-authors, and working on her play.
Alice kept complaining about how rich some people she knows are and how she envies them – which is pretty weird, since Alice seems quite rich to me. I do feel a little alienated from Alice and Teresa and their material success.
I feel I’m fabulously wealthy now – by my standards. Anyway, a lot of this came out when we all went to the Jockey Club today. I hadn’t wanted to go for the Mother’s Day brunch, but Mom said it would start at 11 AM and be over quickly.
Well, it turned out to be 1 PM, then 1:30, then 2 PM. I came alone and was immediately repelled by the garishness of the place. I felt uncomfortable around the fancily-dressed, well-groomed country club set. I also felt angry – like smashing in those people’s faces and giving their money to people in Liberty City.
I can’t stand being with the Lippmans. They may be good people, but I hate the constant talk of money, Irv’s stupid racist and sexist remarks, and the banal conversation. I guess I whined to my parents and Dad told me, “So go home, then.”
So I did. Of course I told them I felt ill (no lie) and of course I waited so long for the boy to bring my car that Marc had time to come out and tell me how I was making my parents unhappy and how much this brunch was costing Irv.
Imagine Marc lecturing me! Of course he loves the showy vulgarity of the Jockey Club. “I could get used to this,” he said, giggling. Jonathan would have agreed with me on this, but he got out of it because he had to work at the army/navy store today.
I went to the library in downtown Miami but didn’t have much luck with my research. Later I called Debbie Grayson, who gave me valuable information on Poetry in a Pub and the South Florida Poetry Institute.
The article is hanging over my head, but I’ll get it done in a couple of days. It will be past deadline, but early enough so that Coda can run it in their September issue.
This morning I called Grandma Ethel to wish her a happy Mother’s Day. I told her I’d see her in six weeks, on Father’s Day.
She cried because “Grandpa is getting weaker every day” and Aunt Claire is “very, very sick” in the hospital down here. Her daughters are here and they told Grandma she should come down too, “but how can I leave Grandpa?”
So much for too much happiness – that’s one thing I should never worry about.