Cardboard Boxes


The day had come to pack up and head south. Somehow it took hours to repack and get my luggage in the station wagon. I followed Steve's suggestion and put our dog-sitting charges in the back yard before I left to minimize the chance of another doggie accident on the white carpeting. While packing the car I met a neighbor, cartoonist and songwriter Robbie Lane, who had lived in Marin County in the early 70's when I was at Wheeler Ranch. He ended up saving the day when one of my canine charges escaped the back yard, preferring to fertilize someone else's lawn. One thing I could not do was leave the house with one dog missing. She was recaltricent, but, with Robbie's help, I got her back into the house. Robbie offered to introduce me to Denise Kaufman, who I had seen perform as part of the 60's Bay Area girl band Ace of Cups, and who now teaches yoga to Madonna.

Next stop, Susie Heldfond, who I have known since birth, I think; our fathers performed surgeries at the same hospital until they retired fifteen years ago. An artist, an actress, a beauty, and married to a fabulous jazz pianist, Theo Saunders, Susie feels more like a blood relation than a friend. I adore her. I leave a box of art prints in her living room.

She is not alone in my cardboard invasion. I drive to Orange County and retrieve three more boxes--t-shirts and posters--from the home of my best friend from the twelfth grade, Helene Halperin. She is a sort of secret bohemian, meaning she works a straight job, and then takes outrageous trips to cultural and natural shrines around the planet. I love her extreme intelligence, acute powers of observation, ready wit and extraterrestrial giggle. It was she that introduced me to Fellini films and European styles when we were in high school. In those days she would paint brown eye shadow under her eyes "so I would look as if I had lived." She wore Replique perfume and tailored suits. Today she looks almost exactly as she looked then. She does not believe me when I tell her this.

I spend the night at the home of another beloved friend from my teen years, Geri Woolls. She ends up with a box of t-shirts in her living room. I am relentless, but my friends love me anyway.