Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Friends...

A short note today. I need to get on with a writing project, for which I have had too little time this week. I mentioned earlier that I have been asked to write a catalogue text for Blake Edwards--who, aside from his distinguished film-making career, has been making paintings and sculpture for many years. It has provided me with the opportunity to visit a couple of times with this very sharp-witted man, now getting along in years and still deeply engaged in the process of living life to the full and inquiring into what it all could mean. Ellie and I were over at his house on Monday night for dinner, and delighted in the opportunity to spend the evening with Blake and Julie Andrews, his wife of many years.

On an earlier visit, Julie had promised me a copy of her recent autobiography, "Home: A Memoir of My Early Years," and I have been reading it with relish. Born at roughly the same time in roughly the same part of England, I was fascinated to read about her memories of World War II, the Blitz, and the effects of the war on our families as children. It has been a special pleasure, also, to learn that she shares my deep, abiding attachment to the English countryside, to the memory of picking daffodils and primroses, and riding a bicycle through village streets. Most remarkable of all about the book, however, is its revelation of just how hard she worked, as a child and as a young adult, to train her voice and hone her acting skills. A formidable discipline, which has obviously provided the foundation for a lifetime of unparalleled performances. The moral of her book, so far as I have read it: Work hard, and then work harder. Oh, and along the way, be sure to discover your own heart...

So, a wonderful evening on Monday, and then, yesterday, a wonderful Rosh Hashanah (New Year's) dinner with good friends and family. It was a hot day in Los Angeles--so hot that we were unable to eat out on our balcony, as we had hoped. But we managed nicely indoors. And it was a special pleasure to have our old friend Bill sit with us, even though the unkind ravages of age have begun to rob him of his once razor-keen intellectual faculties. Along with Bill's wife, Tressa, our long-time friends Sharon and Donald, and our own close family, we sheltered ourselves momentarily from the storms that plague our nation, and celebrated the Jewish New Year with good food, good talk, and warm hearts.

3 comments:

robin andrea said...

I was remembering last night how when we were very young, my siblings and I practiced saying Gut Yontif to my grandmother when we arrived for Rosh Hashanah dinner. It was our special little yiddish gift to her.

Your evening with Blake Edwards and Julie Andrew sounds quite lovely.

citizen of the world said...

That does indeed sound like a pleasant evening. Always good to celebrate with friends.

Anonymous said...

Gary Lloyd-I often read my neighbor's public posted
poetry when I walk with my boys and our dog after school. Lowell is 95 and still walks, is alert and witty.
As he walked with us we met our friend from Brooklyn who greeted us with "vus titzuch" and it was
Lowell who answered "That scmuck Bush is not going to spoil Rosh Hashanah because we are not watching TV tonight". He interpreted the "what's happening" yiddish phrase to me and the boys who are now using it when they greet their friends.