in Greenwich before I’d finished teaching at Fairfield Preparatory School. I was painting the back porch of my parents’ home, my home too, the day he was due. He’d told me he would call me when he arrived.
I started painting after Sunday dinner at noon and remained alert for the ring of the phone. I kept taking breaks to drink water: it was warm on the porch. And, of course, I was closer to the phone in the hall.
Finally, about four, he called. That was the end of the painting. I covered the paint can, cleaned the brush and dashed upstairs to change my clothes. I was driving to Greenwich from Bethel to meet him for dinner. Later my father told me he knew something important was happening. I’d made an awful mess of the back porch. He had to repaint it the next day.
After I finished at Fairfield Prep, I taught after-school students who needed help with their reading speed and comprehension. I was already dreading Bernie’s departure for Los Angeles. He was to open a new office there.
And then, the next thing I knew, I was to go to California, to Los Angeles to take over from Rody, the teacher who was there already. Rody was to return. Ken Baldridge was being a double cupid, putting me in Beverley Hills with Bernie and allowing Rody to come back to try to win his blonde, buxom beauty, another reading teacher. (He didn’t.)
I took a night flight to Los Angeles. Rody met me at the airport and brought me back to the apartment where he was staying with friends. The apartment seemed to swarm with people, yet a bed was found for me. The woman whose bed I took moved into her boyfriend’s bed that night. The next day I moved into a small, cheap residential hotel with sinks in the rooms and ladies’ and men’s bathrooms down the hall. And it had a gravel lawn which the landlady watered occasionally to keep the dust off.
Southern California was so exciting! Gravel lawns that got watered, apartments where sophisticated men and women slept together, endless cars, cops on motorcycles and sun every day. How could it be better?