The last person in the world sat in his room.
There was a knock on the door.
I was planning on writing another “Old Hollywood” story, but life has interfered. My daughter has Trochleitis. She is in constant eye pain and now is blind in one eye with cataracts in the other, so that renders her unable to read or to find her way outside of the house and garden. The doctors say it is a rare case and have no treatment outside of steroids to try to manage the pain, and that is ineffective. Her whole way of life has changed. She listens to audiobooks and “hears” television while I try to describe some of the action. At this point, after several months, I am disenchanted with the medical profession. I believe that dancers with chicken feathers around their ankles would be more effective.
If anyone out there has had any experience with Trochleitis, please let me know other areas to explore. Mothers are supposed to be healers. Well, this mother is a dismal failure. I can do nothing except try to make her life easier in any way. Help!
It is around Christmastime in the 1960s, and Eddie and Margo Albert are having a party for Harry and Julie Belafonte after one of his shows at the Greek Theater. It’s a typical Albert party with old friends dating back many years and newer ones. Among the guests are Rita Hayworth and her daughter, Princess Yasmin, the Vincent Prices, Rupert Allan(head of one of the most prestigious public relations firms in the industry), Frank McCarthy, stage and movie producer (latest film then, “Patton”),Edward Albert, Jr., and many more. Julie Belafonte is here, and we’re expecting Harry to appear after his performance. There is a lot of music. Frank and I are playing bongo drums. Later, Julie and I bang our spoons on glasses to keep time to the guitar rhythms. Eddie and Margo play and sing. Margo dances. Rita Hayworth sings to the guitar. Everyone is basking in the warmth and pleasure of the evening. Time comes and goes when we expect Harry to appear. Julie starts to worry. We call the theater. He left, they tell us. It has been a long time. Where is he?
A little after 1 a.m. people start leaving. Rupert and Frank take Rita home. Edward drives Princess Yasmin. Eddie and Margo drive Julie. The only people left at the house are Maria Albert, then a teenager, and me. We’re sitting in the living room talking when the phone rings in the library where I answer it. “Hi, this is Harry…..is Julie there?” I explain to him that the Alberts are driving her home. “How do I get to the house?” he asks. “I have something to drop off, and I think I overshot the mark. I’m by the Palisades market.” I give him directions, and then Maria and I go outside into the street with flashlights to guide his way. Pretty soon, up drives Harry Belafonte. He takes out a present from the car and then walks into the house with us. As soon as we’re inside, he says, “Can I get a drink? I’ve had quite an experience.” Soon, we’re settled, drinks in hand, in the living room, and he tells us what happened. “I still can’t believe it,”he says. He had finished the show, changed his clothes, and then headed out for Pacific Palisades. It was going to be awhile before he reached us. Driving through the white bread neighborhood, a black man late at night, he was stopped by a police car and asked for identification. It was then he discovered that he had forgotten to switch his wallet when he changed clothes. No ID. No license. The police ushered him to the station, not believing him when he said who he was. They were about to detain him for the evening when a detective on duty recognized him and sent him on his way. Looking back, I wonder why they just didn’t have him sing a chorus of “Day O” or “Waltzing Matilda.” That would have convinced them. He called Julie to let her know he was all right, and was on his way back to Beverly Hills, driving very, very carefully.