Today we received the proof of Jimmie’s book, A View from the Wings, A Theatre Memoir, and I don’t think I’ve seen my husband smile as broadly or as happily as he did at the moment when he opened the package and held up the book for me to take this picture. This after suffering my request to video tape the unveiling, as he struggled, his arthritic hands clawing at the tight brown card board. You won’t see that one, so don’t worry, but we have it for the archives.
It’s been an exciting week, starting last Monday, when we took Hal Holbrook and his assistant Joyce Cohen to dinner at the Pacific Dining Car, to thank him for writing the foreword to the book. Jimmie and I arrived a few minutes before them, and scoped out the joint, pretty quiet on a Monday night, and chose what I will call the blue room, a small room just past the wine cellar, where the plush royal blue wing back chairs beckoned me –
Come on in here! You won’t be disturbed here.
And we weren’t. When Hal and Joyce arrived, we were seated at a table near the entrance. Hal, wearing his 92 years with humble dignity and the mantle of an actor who has also lived his life in service to the theatre, and specifically to Mark Twain, came across the room and greeted Jimmie with great warmth. We convened for four wonderful hours of shared theatre stories until I had to cite my 8:00AM class the next morning.
Tuesday afternoon, our granddaughter, Skylar arrived with Whitney, our son’s lovely fianceé and their little dog, Cupid. They came for the week, to be with us for Thanksgiving. Chris came down also on Tuesday, but journeyed down on the team bus and was fettered to his hockey team at the hotel in Tustin all weekend. So, Whitney, Skylar, Cupid, Jimmie and I’ve had an active week of bonding. Skylar, eleven months, is struggling to learn to walk, and Jimmie, eighty-nine years old, is struggling to relearn how to walk with “Das Fucking Boot”. This week our apartment was stuffed with the appliances of babies and elders, two strollers, a walker, a cane and two humidifiers. We pulled the coffee table away from the sofa so that Skylar wouldn’t hit her head when gravity prevailed, but seeing that there is a safe walkway, I’m inclined to leave it out there after they leave to allow more space for Jimmie to negotiate the furniture.
On Thanksgiving morning, Whitney, Skylar and I awoke at 5:30AM, and drove off into the darkness by 6:30 to attend the 7:00AM hockey game at the Westminster rink. It was nice that the player’s benches were up against the spectators’ stands; it was lovely to watch Skylar watch Chris watch the players play.
After the game, we drove back to the apartment and got ourselves ready to go to dinner at the LA Athletic Club. We had a wonderful dinner at the buffet and then we took the worst family photo ever taken. Right after we finished the photo, one of the servers came by and said, “You should take your picture right in front of that landscape painting!” I said, “We did! Great minds…” Hadn’t seen the photo yet. This photo will be utilized in lighting lectures all over the country by academicians to illustrate truly bad top lighting.
On Saturday, we went to Griffith Park, trying to avoid the threatening black rainclouds overhead. We bought tickets to the carousel, and just as Whitney and Skylar were ready to board, the carousel operator cancelled the ride citing a loose belt. Not anything one need worry about on Thanksgiving week. It’s been an amazing visit. And now with book in hand, we move toward Jimmie’s 90th birthday having accomplished what we set out to do. Feels good.