Having taken a peek at Geoff Gehman’s memoir before it went to press, before it went to print last week, I ran through the office saying I had been canonized.
But, as Geoff later correctly said in an e-mail, in order to be canonized you’ve got to be dead.
Damn. There’s no way we can get around it? Oh well, I’ll demur then when it comes to sanctification. Though it is nice to know that I once led a younger reader to think that you could have fun in relating facts, or at least in relating alleged facts. I do remember in recounting the theft at Truman Capote’s that I’d been dismayed by all the “allegedlys” Ev Rattray stuck in. They kind of broke up the rhythm, but they were necessary, I suppose, to fend off any claims that we might have been having too much fun.
As for fun, a photographer from one of the big city dailies, who saw how enthusiastically I was covering Norman Mailer’s “Maidstone,” recommended that I eschew visions of journalistic grandeur in favor of having fun out here.
And so I did, and not to my regret, though I had to be saved from fun three times — by Barbara Johnson, who took me in as a star boarder following a divorce, by Ev Rattray, who changed my beat from bored meetings to sports (what I call the joy department), and by Mary, who has said I’m the first man who waved to her in East Hampton.
I remember when that was. I was running down Abraham’s Path one morning, by the softball field, when I saw her driving up the street. She waved back. Lucky me.
That was some 27 years ago, and though she, a single mother then, put me off for a while, not wanting to risk loving again, I clung to my own invincible surmise and, in time, we leaped feet first into the unknown in the Quaker cemetery on Shelter Island as the twins, who had partaken of M&M wafers, grinned and said, chocolate at the edges of their mouths, “Kiss the bride.”
That was on the first Sunday of March, 1985, and though we were formally married by the late Sheppard Frood in our backyard five months later, on Aug. 22, we agree that we plighted our troth when we married ourselves.
I still wave to her when I set off in the morning and she’s at the window in the computer room. And she waves back.