Jim and Robby

January 20, 2013

I don’t care if you are a giraffe and a zebra….but there is something about knowing and caring for someone for over 40 years….that joins you  together forever…

I had brunch today with my oldest (in longevity) friend….my uncle’s lover Jim….

we met in 1969 when I had just motored out in my Red convertible Datsun (that my wonderful brother-in-law Dave Donnelly had given me….) from Carleton College in  Northfield Minnesota….to Malibu….where my uncle’s beach house was on a bluff  overlooking the Pacific Ocean….there were like hundreds of steps down to the beach….the house was a sprawling one level, wood shingled house

which reminds me of years later….when it was my birthday and my Uncle Sumner took Jim and I  out for drinks to the Cranes (of Crane toilets)… in Pacific Palisades before we  motored onto his beach house …but  there was a terrible fire raging…that had cut off Pacific Coast Highway……so we had to take an in coast freeway and come down from the North…..when we got near his property ….there was a road block …

(in all honesty  we were a tad inebriated as Mr Crane loved to make a deadly drink called a “Scoprion)

But Sumner told the highway patrol officers that we HAD to get through as he had a daughter  alone in the house…well when we got there…he asked Jim and I to take the hoses up onto the roof…that were wood shingles and hose it all down..as the dry wind was blowing sparks from the very visible fire our way…told us if the house started to burn  not to worry ….we should just run down the hundreds of steps to the ocean…..

And then he made himself another drink of Bourbon and Ginger .. and called his old friends to chat  about the fire….LORD …..he Did love to talk  on the phone

….on the property…(due to the Coastal Amendment no one could develop the properties on either side of him….) he had built a house up near Pacific Coast Highway…a prefab thing that he rented out as a tax deduction…plus he rented out another unit closer to his house ….

my uncle never paid an income tax in his life…he was not particularly wealthy…just knew how to work the system…he took off his cats Rowdy and Becky as tax deductions under “exterminators”….and Uncle Sumner loved to be audited by the IRS …as to him it was a game like chess…when asked about taking off all the cat food and medical expenses of his cats as exterminators….in his “office” …a separate  single gazebo building overlooking the ocean…he said to the Asian auditor  “Well there goes Rowdy…and he is looking for rats…… as his “office” was like several 100’s of yards from his main house…

he even took off his shoes…as a “travel expense”….and you know they DID allow 20% for this…..

Anyway my uncle told Jim to be always make a point of taking care of me…which Jim HAS always done…(I was TERRIBLY Green back in 69 being newly gay).

…(I will NEVER forget that afternoon as Jim and I were walking on the beach down from Sumner’s house….the waves crashing onto the shore)

My uncle  had backed a restaurant “The Garden District”  near West Hollywood for another lover..Nicky Nichols….

this was pre-Aids….

they  all died within 5 years except the Mexican help and me…

they all slept with each other…

I was such a prude back then…never went to baths…always concentrated on a monogamous relationship with one person…

will never forget one party – (in the early 70’s) –  Sumner had on his long lawn over the ocean….one guy Jerry Toadvine’s lover had wiry hair and had poppers (amyl nitrate) curled up all over his head….weed was passed ….the player piano was going….for me it was scarey but an eye opener

As time has gone on ….I told Jim once that when he became incapacitated that I would be there to wipe his ass as I did for my father when he developed Parkinson’s…..

I just saw the movie “Amour”…which if you have seen people die…and been with them…as I was for my Grandmother, my uncle,…my mother, my father….there is nothing new you will discover….it is basically the love you show to someone who has been a longtime guide and friend  in your life….and you help them make their transition….

Jim has the most WONDERFUL sense of humor….a God given talent…I always wished I had that talent….

like on the  500 mile canoe trips father took us on…in the remote areas of the Arctic ….there is always a point where you feel totally lost and alone  …and father would say something with his front tooth out in the tent that night  …that was so wonderfully black humor… you would laugh genuinely so hard that it hurt….

Jim and I have compared our life to the movie “Old Acquaintance” where Bette Davis and Miriam Hopkins are old friends and always fighting over men….at one point Bette starts throttling Miriam…who is totally shocked…..as I think Miriam took Bette’s beau away…

the end of the movie finds  both of them alone  together sitting on a couch  New Year Eve in front of a roaring fire…toasting each other with champagne…..

I plan to move to Palm Springs in 2020…and will ask Jim to join me….but want a house where he is at one wing and I at the other….and I KNOW we will hate/love each other …. as every couple does…..

And though it is not a job I like… I WILL wipe his ass…..


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