Nothing Like A Romantic

September 28, 2014

As I was walking to LaLa’s the other day…a pasted on the wall “sign?” said:

“It’s a Sad Day…when you have to visit a pawn shop in Hollywood”

which made sense to me as….as it would mean reaching the Bottom of the Barrel .

the glamor of “Hollywood”…is totally mythical ….it just never has existed in that physical location…I mean when I arrived in ’69….I soo looked forward to visiting it…

man was I Totally disappointed as it was full of cheap shops that sold T shirts or sex toys….and full of homeless….pimps and whores and tired ass people who had never achieved their youthful dreams….

it was Beverly Hills that physically fullfilled that dream I had….the Polo Lounge at the BH Hotel….the shops on Rodeo……

this “sign” on the wall of Melrose….made me think of my friend Nona Acheson Allen….

the “chic”-est woman I have ever known…..she always looked flawlessly glamorous…..her make up perfect…

the first time I met her was when I had a kite shop in Houston in the Galleria with my lover Paul Millard……

(we had a shop in Beverly Hills across from what is now Neiman Marcus on Wilshire…plus an antique British hearse…which we named “Agatha”…as it was an Austin…with an “A” on the hood….it looked like an old Rolls with its classically large head lights….we use to take it to the gay beach “Ginger Rogers”…in Santa Monica to sell our wares…….

Nona was the niece of our Secretary of State under President Eisenhower….Dean Acheson…..

I had dated many years before Nona’s cousin…Eldie Acheson….at Mrs Shippens Dancing school in Georgetown….we went there from 4th grade through High School…and then when we went to college would come back and get together for all the black tie debutante parties…that truely were SOO MUCH fun….

Eldie was quite tall…and had fairly hairy arms in her sleeveless floor length gowns…..many years later I heard that she was a lesbian and became a prominent judge in DC………

Paul and I had gone to the Houston airport to pick up Nona..who was visiting us from New York… for a week….I was spell bound seeing her getting off the plane….she was one of the first off…dressed in a Chanel suit…..white gloves…carrying a small …what I assumed was a make-up case…Paul told me it was her jewelry……

Nona had been married 3 times….and all except the last were macho assholes….the first was a Mexican industrialist….who married her for her connection with Dean…his name was Maurice Salle(sp?)…….they lived in Cannes…for part of the year….and had at the time the largest Sailboat ever built which they called “The Weatherbird’….they would sail with a crew of 12…the Mediterranean ….in the spring and summer…in the fall and winter it would be the Carribean….

Maurice sold it to the actor Peter Ustinov……

her last husband Frederick Allen was one of the tops of IBM….but they separated for some reason…and he paid her a monthly sum that as time went on after his death was controlled by his son..from his first wife……who cut it down considerably..

when Nona entered any room….a restaurant…ALL heads would turn….as she was so Glamorous…dressed understatedly impeccably from her jewels to her gowns….

she had these soft brown chestnut eyes….that one could not help but fall in love with…..

and I have to admit I fell in love with her….and there was one candle lit night at The Cliff Hotel in San Francisco….Paul and I …and Nona had adjoining rooms……

well Paul passed out as usual from drinking too much

I opened the moon lit connecting door …to find Nona waiting for me…..

Years passed…we saw each other but less due to our lives..

…even though she moved to West Hollywood and bought Paul’s building at 8952-8956 Norma Place….which originally had been Norma and Constance Talmadges dressing rooms…with a dining room in between….and Louis Schenks (sp?) office on the top floor…..

after Paul bought it he turned it into 4 units…and the garage behind into a 5th unit…he bought the original balcony from the Atlanta house in “Gone With The Wind” and attached it to the front of the building…this was before I met him…..

Paul and I lived there through my 20’s ..he was my first lover…20 years older

.and what parties we had…we tented in the patio off his flat….

never forget Lana Turner’s daughter Cheryl Crane (who supposedly had killed her mother’s boy friend…”Handsome Johnny”…Johny Stampanato….in 1958) and her girl friend…

Peggy Fears in her floor length mink with a mink train that tripped you…….with her girl friend the “Weather Girl” from Atlanta …Teddi Thurman (and what fights they had….Teddi once bit off Peggy’s ear lobe and spat it out..only to have their cat…who was wandering by not giving an
F… lick it up and swallow it ……) ..

Chris Isherwood and Don Bachardy..whom I adored…Don painted 5 of me…two in the nude…and posing for anyone is a TOTAL Bitch….after hours and hours…I just wanted his art platform to collapse……….

.the British actor Istelle Winwood…and Man did I adore her…such a privilege to have known her…

Carol Veazie who was Ma Burnside in the original film “Auntie Mame” with the ohh so wonderful actress Rosalind Russell….

Ava Astaire (Fred’s only daughter)…married to the OH SO GAY Carl Bosterman (?) Paul said he went to their wedding…and Fred got drunk and fainted as Ava and Carl (attired in a suede cow boy jacket with fringe on the sleeves) drove off for their honeymoon…cans attached to their Rolls Limo……………..

Nona fell on hard times due to her allowance being cut after Frederick died…..

she lived in a small flat in West Hollywood on Lloyd….that was decorated ohhh so smartly with all the antiques she had assembled over the years………she was reduced to one helper …who she had hard times paying…..

I went over for dinner to her house….Nona would always ask me over once a month…and I would take her out once a month…..

all the candles were lit…the lighting subdued…..we sat down at her dining table with the old Acheson linen….and I noticed that the Acheson silver was gone…..

she apologized and said Rob…I had to pawn it in Beverly Hills…as I could not pay Esther…….

I was TOTALLY shocked that it had come to this…

It was the Holiday season……I sent her a Thank You note…and enclosed a check for $5000 (all the money in my Savings Account at the time)…asking her to get her silver out of hock and to make Esther’s Christmas a Happy One…

Nona was a romantic like I am……

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