HOPSCOTCHING EMOTIONS 3


Some nights are a lot of laughs at La Posada, some are just me and my posse at the Staab House: Ears Eric, Daddy Raul, Captain Kelly, All Alec, Invisible Ian, and Smiley. They listen to my story, and I am hugged, toasted, advised and teased. I love them for this. I’ll never forget their compassion and trust.  Some ask ‘What’s up with that Dude? I cannot answer because I really don’t know.

This one night was tinted with a glow of self-assurance. I talked with some guests and circled the property to dose myself with the tease of spring. The morning after, still a resonation of comfort as I opened emails. I’ve become a servant of solitude. It’s perilous to engage with people as I have loose tear-ducts. An email from Limbo arrived. I paced a bit before reading. He stated that all the utilities will be turned off Tuesday (it was Friday) The second I read it the tremors started.

He also stated he was returning in a week to collect his belongings.  I wanted to slash the glass door when the representative at the Electric company said I’d have to pay his past due amount of $1600.00. I slipped into my Kimono and got on the bed. Then I called all the other utility companies and paid all the past due amounts.  What infuriated me is that I’ve paid the utilities for the last ten years.  I’m flipping through the bills when the phone rings.

“ This is Maureen Werther with the Ballston Spa Journal, and I’d like to interview you about your book.”

“Hallelujah!”

She laughed, and the interview began. It was about Follies House, weird to talk about how I ended up in Saratoga Springs in 2000. As I’m answering questions, the memories surface.

“Tell me a little about the book?

“I grew up with gangsters. My father was Bugsy Siegel’s partner.”

“ Wow!”

I forget that the majority of the public did not grow up in that tribe.

CHAPTER TWO

I am in a meeting with Tony, the attorney.  He said that no one wants to end up selling their house to the court at a fire-sale. I told the whole story, and he rose to my defense.

“ I’ll subpoena him for the documents we need. You can’t make a decision about selling your properties without access to the accounts.” I was most relieved when he told me Limbo’s attorney is a bully. He addresses opponent clients as if he is writing an executive order.

The wind is blowing as it does in April- gusts of dirt get in your eyes. Just as I’m passing La Posada, Limbo is unloading materials for his renovation at La Posada. He uses the GMC for work I suppose and the SUV for the Dragon. As I passed, he looked over, and my chin tilted way up.

I walk away from Tony feeling a shield of defense. I’m dizzy trying to analyze options that I did not expect. What to do? Where will I move? Who will help me navigate the unfamiliar? It is the day I grow-up in a way I never have; not since Dad died.  I feel just like that, suddenly I am unprotected. Being an adventitious and reckless runner though life I adore the men who prevent me from walking outdoors with my pants inside out, leaving fragile adornments on the porch only to be broken, misreading maps or fixing anything electrical. Men tame my erratic impulsiveness. When they say, ‘Loulou you can’t do that?” I listen. Unless it is dancing where I shouldn’t be dancing, crying when I shouldn’t be crying, or having more amusement than the man with me.

The house being in foreclosure rubs my mood, so I avoid going in there.  I asked Tony if I could lease it and when he said, yes, it was a surprise. Limbo could have had the house rented all these months and gotten the money. Tony said,” You need the income, for house utilities, repairs, and your legal fees.” Two weeks have passed, and the Bully hasn’t responded. I’ve learned to keep an extra set of keys, a flashlight, household supplies, and conserve on everything. I’m sick of prepared food, but I’m obliged to Kuannes Market for all their take out.

20170405_182307[1]JoeAnne – JuJu

JoeAnne and I met at La Posada during this week. I grind out my fears, anxiety, confusion, and JoAnne serves back the glistening future I am facing., ” It will work out.”  and I shake my head, “No it doesn’t always work out. “Yes, it does–but you have to believe it will. You’re going to be fine.” I want to believe that.

A few women standing next to us were bouncing beers and giggling. One jumped into our conversation and asked me what I did. “I’m an author.” I love saying that. She wiggled with interest, so cute, and so I told her the name.

“Can I speak with you a minute.”  I turned around and approached a woman.

“I heard you talking about your book.”

“Yes, it was recently published.”

“I have it on my bedside table.” We both just stared at each other for a moment.

“You are kidding?”

“No. My friend told me about it,”

“What’s your friend’s name?”

I didn’t recognize the name. She was as excited as I, and that brought on an expressive shout to JoAnne and a lot of attention. I haven’t mentioned the emotional element of rejection. At the core of Limbos abandonment is a blatant kick in the book he watched me write for twenty years.

  I forget which friend said,  He’s  jealous, maybe resentful and feels inadequate.  I don’t believe that. I can’t.

COME IN. DOORS OPEN


        My stories stem from the inner voice where all the gaps of expression are liberated.

As a child reared under the MAFIA CODE OF SILENCE, speaking was too terrifying. My diary became the root of my expression. So I write!

I’m self-taught so if you notice my syntax off you know why.  My pen moves from Creative Nonfiction to poetry. Column writing is how I began; I love the 2000 word lifestyle story that rises from adventuress in livingness.  

This year (after a seventeen-year crawl) I’ve finished a memoir:  “CRADLE OF CRIME.”

 THANK YOU FOR VISITING.

Luellen Smiley is a creative Nonfiction writer and award-winning newspaper columnist who writes a bi-monthly column “Odyssey of Love” and has been a regular contributor to MORE Magazine. Her “Growing Up With Gangsters” stories appeared in the New York Post and in Southern California.
Luellen has completed a memoir  based on her life as the daughter of Hollywood racketeer,  Allen Smiley, Benjamin Siegel’s partner and best friend. Her extensive research the past twenty-five years led to numerous TV and Radio interviews regarding her discovery and breaking the silence.

BOOK SIGNING


There was this one bookstore in Del Mar that I browsed every week.  The owner was a sweet New England woman. Her collection and arrangement likened to  going into a candy shop as a little girl.  Over stuffed chairs, benches and a roundtable for readings and workshops were not unused. People spent hours in her salon of literature. Right next door was the Pannikin Coffee House that catered to loyalists of aromatic coffee, pastries and slouching.  I ordered coffee, sat outside on the walkway and read the book I had just bought.  Almost every time I bought a book the cashier commented, ‘ I love that book, or that looks interesting. ‘

At that time I was working on one of the first drafts of my book.  I  browsed  every new display title, imagining someday my book would be sitting upright on a table. I remember the day I drew up enough courage to tell the owner about my book.  She raised her brows and smiled, ” Well, you’ll have to do a book signing when it’s published.”

After a year or two, she quit asking how my book was coming along, and I quit going into the bookshop.

Today twenty-three later, I am signing my book at La Posada Hotel.  This is why I am remembering those days in Del Mar, when the dream of completion seemed light years away. ‘You have to dream baby’ Carlitos Way.

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HOPSCOTCHING EMOTIONS 2


I’ve become a servant of solitude. It’s very risky to engage with people as I have loose tear-ducts.  Serving the spontaneity of communicating this chaos with friends and strangers is my basement of strength.

    “JoAnne!”

    “LouLou!”

I sat down next to her, commented on her hair, and how beautiful she looked. She was perched on a bar stool as if she was painted. Her long mane of hair fell onto a fur wrap beneath a wool overcoat. Her frame is so petite she could wear two coats and retain her silhouette. I met JoAnne several years ago. We meet spontaneously, and this time I practically jumped into her lap. She is neutralized by my state of bursting panic.

“What’s going on? You look tense?” After I’d released the story, she took my hand and held it a moment.

“This is going to be a new chapter in your life. It’s time isn’t it?” We harmonized about how our singleness has run its course. We both want a shoulder to embrace our independent spirits. “I can’t be controlled,” she said.

“Neither can I unless he’s a Daddy double.” We chipped away some humor and laughter. Two gentlemen next to her were slugging beers and spinning stories.  “They’re Aussies. Don’t you just love the accent?” She said. In the swirl of their jokes and JoAnne’s gentle inquisitiveness, we became a cluster of chatter. When she asks a question, earnestness is visible in her brown eyes and the way she sits perfectly still to listen to the answer. She’s the cat’s meow, and men gravitate to her like little kittens.

Some days I just wait until I can call Jimmy in Palm Springs. In one of the memoir versions, I wrote all about him. It’s time to open him up to the world.  I met Jimmy when I was about fifteen years old. I could not even look him in the eyes; acute bashfulness and adolescent adoration riveted my confidence. He was a bleached blonde surfer, with sea-blue eyes, Kennedy teeth, and a Hollywood billboard body. Johnny Roselli, my father’s Mafia boss after Bugsy died, adopted Jimmy, actually the whole family after falling in love with Jimmy’s Aunt Joanne. The day Jimmy was born Johnny was there, the day Jimmy’s father, Jim Senior returned from the military service, he was there.

JOHNNY ROSELLI                   Johnny Roselli on his way to testify.

This conversation was in Jimmy Seniors home in Palm Springs. Jimmy and I reconnected in 2011 through a mutual family friend. It was the first time I’d seen Jimmy since I was a teenager. Dad kept Jimmy away from me, and I asked about him all the time. He was capricious, a masterful joker and he could not stand still for more than a second.

Jim Senior didn’ hesitate to answer my questions. “Johnny was at our house most every day. Pretty soon he started giving orders. Johnny asked me what I was doing now that I was out of the service. I said I was looking for a job. Johnny picked up the phone and said, “Not anymore.” He made one phone call, and I had a job at the Rose Bingo Parlor in Santa Monica.”  There aren’t many people that really knew Johnny like Jim Sr.

“This one-time Johnny and I and some of his other fellows were sitting in a booth in the parlor talking. Mickey Cohen comes up to the table and is about to sit down. Johnny challenged him with that deadly one raised eyebrow and said. “You ask me before you sit down.” Then he waved him away. I’ll never forget the look on Mickey’s face.”

“Did you meet my Dad?” I asked.

He shook his right to left and laughed through the memory. “Johnny asked me to pick up your Dad in front of his apartment, the one on Sunset. I never met him before, so when I drive up, I’m trying to pick him out of a small crowd. I look one way, and there’s this tall man standing on one leg, the other with his trousers rolled up and high-kicking. He was some character, always had a gag of some kind.”

Soon after Jimmy graduated high school, he landed a job with the Hollywood Reporter as the Chief Society Photographer. “Nobody believes my stories but you. They can’t believe they’re true.” I knew they were; his African Safari trip with William Holden, dropping acid with Timothy Leary, sharing his apartment with John Barrymore Junior, and mingling with the movie stars at the Academy Awards. He was at the first Spago after party. That day at Jim Senior’s home I heard more stories about Johnny, some heartbreaking, others rarefied secrets only Jimmy could tell.

“I think being around Johnny influenced my whole life. I was using a camera to get into the centerfold of Los Angeles, while Johnny used a pistol. He had more power than anyone I met. He took me to Vegas a lot, and this one-time Elvis was playing at the Desert Inn, and all the seats were sold out. Johnny told the manager to set up a table on stage. I watched Elvis from the stage!”

After that visit with Jimmy, we are on the phone for hours every few weeks. The bond is tight as a brother and sister, mostly we talk about Johnny and Dad. “I remember seeing your dad driving around Beverly Hills in that lime green Cadillac wearing a matching alpaca sweater with the little poodle on his lap!”

Over the years, he’s told me stories; he pulls them out like loose weeds.  “Johnny taught me everything, how to behave in public, how to wash socks, dress, how to lose an FBI agent tail, how to respond, and how to fake a lie detector test!

“How?” I asked.

“He put a nail in his shoe!  When I graduated high school, Johnny was in Prison. He sent a photographer to take photographs of me. God, I miss him. I think of him every day.”

I called Jimmy this week. He always answers FBI or something like that. I told him what was happening with Limbo.

“What would your father do?”

“Wrap him around a pole.”

“What would Uncle Johnny do?”

“Kill him!”

The very next day, I checked emails and received an invite on LinkedIn. I looked this man up and when I noticed his business was Commercial Real Estate Litigator, I wrote back. He said he found my mob stories online and he’d love to talk with me. We spoke later that night, in fact I was dining at Il Piatto when he called.

“You know this is very strange. I’ve just been slapped with a real estate lawsuit from my best friend. We own three commercial properties together.” I said.

“What?”

“I’ll send you dozens of stories if you can help me out a bit.”

“I’m your man.”

After I told Mick my story, he agreed to write a letter to Limbo’s threatening attorney.

“Hey–did your Dad know Meyer Lansky.” He asked.

“I met Meyer Lansky.”

“Wow!”

I returned to my seat in the restaurant and clinked glasses with Honey and Matt, the doves of Il Piatto’s delicious dining. I have never been in a lawsuit, only small claims court, so this is a mountain I’m climbing barefoot. Everyone I invite to listen offers advice, and I learn their stories.

I woke at dawn, to a shade of Moroccan blue, like Maxfield Parish used in most of his paintings. Mick called Limbo’s attorney, and I wrote up my response and included the settlement agreement from four years ago when Dragon tried to devour Rudy’s finances. Along with the email, I sent Bugsy’s FBI files, stories, photographs and I sent him my book.

Mick copied me on the letter he sent the attorney. The letter read like it was a memo to a colleague. Limbo rejected my terms, and Mick said, “Well, I have to bow out now. It’s going to be too complicated.” Uncle Myron told me nothing is free of charge, and he was right again. He’s my consigliere, he’s either arranged, or been arranged by every kind of scam, pretense, and crime known to only a handful of men and women.

The following week unfolded like Gaslight,  Ingrid Bergman is taunted to madness by her husband Charles Boyer.   I’m at my desk, trying to concentrate on which documents I will need to support my defense. White Zen insisted I go see her attorney and stop trying to be my own defense. I agreed. Searching through documents, derailed and I ended up in my photos folder peering at prime times with Loulou and Limbo. The phone rang,

“Ok. Now tell me what’s going on?”

Blair is a long legged broad dressed in iridescent spring colors, and an equally effulgent punch that pierces pretense, arrogance and all around nauseating behavior. I unzipped the story, numbly, I was in a descending mood.

“Here’s the thing. Stop looking at photographs and get yourself into making decisions. You have a lot to do.” At the end of the hour chiseling away at my frailness, she had put bricks on my chest. She really did!

“Call me next week and give me an update.” She said.

“I can’t let my team down.”

“That’s exactly right!” Click.

Some nights are a lot of laughs at La Posada, some are just me and my posse at the Staab House. This one night was tinted with a glow of self-assurance. I talked with some guests and circled the property to dose myself with the tease of spring. The morning after, still a resonation of comfort as I opened emails.  An email from Limbo arrived. I paced a bit before reading.  The second I read it-the tremors started.  He stated that all the utilities will be turned off Tuesday (it was Friday). I wanted to slash the glass door when the representative at the Electric company said I’d have to pay his past due amount of $1400.00. I’ve paid the utilities for the past five years.

He said he’d  be returning in a week to collect his belongings and he was no longer part of the house.  I slipped into my Kimono and got on the bed. Then I called all the other utility companies and paid all the past due amounts.

A week later, as I crossed the street I noticed Limbo,  without the cowboy hat and boots; almost unrecognizable.  We did not make eye-contact, as he got into a  new Chevy SUV.  A few hours later, he returned in a tin colored GMC.  The next few days are like watching a Chaplin silent film as he drives up and down Palace switching from one car to another.

Now, three weeks later, the furtive activities have escalated to the madness of mystery. Where is the Dragon? Why isn’t he living in her condo up the street?  What does it matter anymore? My friends harmonize; he is not the same monkey-man and he may never resemble the Limbo of years past.                           2006 Move to TaosDSCF0072

ROCKED BY FRIENDS


Continued from previous post. HOPSCOTCHING EMOTIONS.

In the early stages of writing, 1996, there was this one bookstore in Del Mar that I browsed every week. The owner, I imagined was from a  New England literary village because her collection and arrangement likened to going into a candy shop as a little girl.  As soon as I walked in, I looked at the new releases set on wooden frames. The dream was already soaring above practical measures; one day my book will be sitting upright on her table. Right next door was the Pannikin Coffee House that catered to loyalists of aromatic coffee, pastries and slouching.  I ordered coffee, sat outside on the walkway and read the book I had just bought. Almost every time I bought a book the cashier commented, ‘I love that book, or that looks interesting.’

Twenty-three years later, I am signing that book at La Posada Hotel. Friends walked in with these glowing smiles, and it’s funny they thought it was about me, and I felt it was about all of us. You know how many times some of them have read different versions of the book?  Baron has been reading the stories for ten years. He is on the board of commissioners of LouLou’s adventures. We met through a gallery owner in Taos, who knew I was going to open Gallery LouLou Rock & Roll Photography.  Baron arranged to meet at Harry’s Roadhouse, a ranch style restaurant that makes you feel like you’re on Main Street in a western saloon.  Limbo was there, following my throw of dice, that a gallery of Rock & Roll Photography from the 60s-70s would make us gleefully rich. I was wearing these new Spanish platforms I’d bought in Del Mar, and I was six feet tall.  Baron stood up immediately as we opened the door, “You must be Loulou and Limbo.” I looked down and suddenly felt like an amazon out of the jungle. I sat through a two-hour dinner listening to Baron talk about photography, not knowing any more than what I picked up in museums and galleries. I didn’t know platinum from giclee.

     http://fotobaron.com.s49272.gridserver.com/

Merriam-Webster definition of photography: ‘the  art or process of producing images by the action of radiant energy and especially light on a sensitive surface (as film or an optical sensor)’

To this day I don’t know if I fooled him, but as we were walking up the entrance to his studio of photography, he turned and around and said, ” Do you have to wear such high heels, you’re pretty tall as it is LouLou.” At that moment, my self-consciousness came down. Baron is about 5 6′ and he walks like he is 6 feet tall. He doesn’t walk, he skips without his feet leaving the ground. When we met he was in his early seventies, but his eyes are ivy green marbles of light.

He started pulling out the photographs of Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Miles Davis; and my jaw never closed.

“These sell really well, take some of these.” he said.

Baron introduced us to Jim Marshall ( the Godfather of Rock & Roll photography) Micahel Zagaris: http://time.com/4553543/michael-zagaris/ and the word spread.  That was my dream in 2006, a  gallery of black and white photography. Limbo financed it and I managed the business.

loulou_classicrock_141

Michael Zagaris left and Jim Marshall at the opening of Gallery LouLou 2007. Photograph courtesy of Tony Bonanno.

Baron bounced into La Posada library like Jimmy Durante did on stage, and shouted, “LouLou, I’m here.”  In the next moment, he began shooting photographs of me. Limbo wasn’t there, and it really didn’t matter because of my friends. They rocked the cradle.

l1000302

Baron and I. Photograph courtesy of Tony Bonanno. bonannophoto.com/…e/tabid/36/Default.aspx

Sometimes one transforming moment leads to another. I am in the Spa working out on the treadmill. I turned around as the door opened, and hesitated for a moment before calling out.

“Hi Audrey. How are you?”

“Okay. How are you?”

I stepped off the treadmill and approached Audrey. We had been friends, more like sisters for several years. Then we were broken apart by a misunderstanding that never corrected itself.

“You won’t believe what happened!” I blurted out before even asking if she wanted to know.

“What?” she said with immense expression. Audrey is a tall long-legged exotic, the kind that withholds her appearance, as second to her compassion for people in pain. My story poured out and then she told me her father had died. When a woman makes up with another woman after two years, you know it’s going to last. That week she cat-walked, she does it really well into my garden and cooed, ‘Dawling, I brought you gifts.’ It was Valentines Day! Imagine. She had bunches of roses and lilies, a bottle of wine and Godiva chocolate. I just blossomed into her cradle of comfort. I’m not going to reenact our conversation because it was rapid-fire non-stop, like watching Thelma and Louise. Audrey is Louise.

That next week I called Limbo’s attorney after sending a response to his invective demands. It took a while to really sink in; by taking me off the deed in Santa Fe, he has the right to evict me.  Limbo used to be one trusting supportive and generous man. I wonder where that went? I know he used to love me. Why did it stop the day the book was published?  I dedicated the book to him, he’s one of the main characters written with all the love my pen could spill.

Another few weeks past, all about nerves, prescriptions, and nightmares.  I turned myself inside out waiting for five’ o’ clock so I could go to La Posada and be a tiny part of people enjoying life. As I crossed the threshold, the light of day fell on a head of Sophia Loren hair.

To be continued.

Cradle of Crime #BookReview


Title: Cradle of Crime Author: Luellen Smiley Print Length: 264 Publication Date: November 19, 2016 Sold by Amazon Digital Services LLC Language: English Formats:  Paperback, Kindle Goodreads Genre…

Source: Cradle of Crime #BookReview

HOPSCOTCHING EMOTIONS


Continued from previous post.

” Hi Stephie, are you sitting down?”

” Oh no. What happened?”

I discovered dimensions of wisdom inside Stephie, that wouldn’t have surfaced without unleashing the contents of the Letter. She turned the situation upside down, so instead of raking Limbo’s mysterious and spiteful motivation, she said, ” This is his journey, not yours. ” That spawned an image, of Limbo driving Dragon around and petting her desires with presents, lots of presents juxtaposed with me on a road of seriousness protecting my investments, my health, and my career as an author. I haven’t had the daily routine of writing as I did with the book, now it is the business of marketing and selling. It feels like going from the oceans fluidity of wave and crash to solid ground where my imagination is now used to strategize my defense against the Dragon. Two hours later Stephie induced laughter and caressing from my initial whimpering and hollowness.

l hung up the phone, got dressed and went shopping along Palace Avenue, to the shops I frequent. I felt this strange identity with my teenager consciousness in Los Angeles, walking along Melrose, drinking espresso at Cafe Figaro, window shopping, and tanked up on the street activity. A Sargent Peppers parade of bohemian and hippie lifestyles emerged in West Hollywood in the sixties. It was like a preview of a future without Limbo laundering my thoughts and feelings.

I went on a date, and even though he was not towing me in, he has a Tom Cruise smile, and he liked to talk and laugh at his jokes. Stepping out of interaction with Limbo, and his escapes, battles, complaints and vanishing humor, I reached for friends. They’ve been there all along, and I didn’t take notice until the day of the book signing. Wow-I hadn’t been available to mingle with so many friends because Limbo didn’t like them. He doesn’t attach himself to friends, just one woman and for thirty-three years- I was that woman.

A few days later I was perched on a bar-stool refreshing my mood with Eric, Zak, Jennifer, and Raul, the Staab House gang that greases my mood. A man next to me draws me into his conversation about the sixties. We’re just reminiscing, and the woman next to him is listening, observing in a very neutral manner.

” So what do you do in Santa Fe?” he asked.

” I just published a book. I’m an author. White Zen told me I should say that instead of I am a writer.

” Really, what’s the name of it?”

” Cradle of Crime.”

” What’s it about?”

” Growing up with gangsters. My father was Bugsy Siegel’s partner for ten years. It’s about my discovering his life.”

The gal then looked me straight in the eyes and said, My great-grandfather investigated those guys.

“Who was your great-grandfather?”

” Estes Kefauver.” If you’ve not read the book he was the Tennesse Senator that summoned every known gangster in the nineteen fifties to testify under oath on television. Dad was one of them. The excerpts of his testimony are in the book.

” What! Oh my God, he’s in the book, my Dad was one he interrogated.”

We both jumped out of our seats and rushed through the introductory connection without judgment or shame, and then we hugged. It is this kind of incident that broadens my catalog; I’m not ashamed of my legacy. We ended up in Casita, and I handed her a book.

kefauver

Robyn knew about Estes, his reputation was and still is a historical moment in Mob history. A reenactment of the courtroom and transcripts are exhibited at the Mob Museum in Las Vegas. She said this was meant to be, a way of healing our relatives vendetta. Robyn sent me this photograph today. In these unexpected adventures in livingness I forget all about Limbo, had he been there it would have been entirely different. Instead, he is leading the Dragon into my den to rearrange my retirement, friendship, and love for our homes.

The night before the book signing that splendid spell has metallized into a muted gray state of nausea, and I couldn’t breathe. I popped over to La Posada for a touch-up color.

Yvette called out, “Hi Loulou, are you excited about the book signing?”

” Not at all.”

” Why not? This is a huge deal for you.”

” It could have been-you know who ruined it.”

” How can he ruin it? He won’t be there.

” Exactly.”

” Come on– you’re going to have a magnificent time. I invited my parents, and I posted it on my Facebook page.” She harmonized topics I cannot recall, but at the end of two hours, I walked out without the grimace.

David Stone who juggles all the events at La Posada was moving furniture around and, and intermittently asking me where I want the tables and chairs while I set up my Square card ready to sell books.

RINGING BOOKS AND BELLS OF FRIENDSHIP 

In the early stages of writing, 1996, there was this one bookstore in Del Mar that I browsed every week.  The owner was a sweet east coast woman, I imagine she was from a literary New England city because her collection and arrangement likened to going into a candy shop as a little girl.  Overstuffed sofas, rocking chairs and a roundtable for readings and workshops. People spent hours in her reading salon.   Right next door was the Pannikin Coffee House that catered to loyalists of aromatic coffee, pastries and slouching.  I ordered coffee, sat outside on the walkway and read the book I had just bought.  Almost every time I bought a book the cashier commented, ‘ I love that book, or that looks interesting.’  As soon as I walked in, I looked at the new releases set on wooden frames;  the dream was already soaring above practical measures, but I imagined my book would be sitting upright on a table. Twenty-three years later, I am signing that book at La Posada Hotel.  The dream of completion was happening in the library room. Friends walked in with these glowing smiles, and its funny they thought it was about me, and I felt it was about all of us. You know how many times some of them had read different versions of the book?  Baron has been reading the stories for ten years. He is on the board of commissioners of LouLous Adventures. We met through a gallery owner in Taos, who knew I was going to open the Galleryloulou Rock & Roll Photography.  We arranged to meet at Harry’s Roadhouse, a ranch style restaurant that makes you feel like your on main street in a western saloon.  Limbo was there, following my throw of dice that a gallery of Rock & Roll Photography from the 60s-70s would make us gleefully rich.  I was wearing these new Spanish platforms I’d bought in Del Mar, and I was six feet.  Baron stood up immediately as we opened the door, ” You must be loulou and limbo.”  I looked down and suddenly felt like an amazon out of the jungle. I sat through a two-hour dinner listening to Baron talk about and photography, not knowing the any more than what I picked up at museums and galleries. I didn’t know platinum from giclee.

Merriam Webster definition of photography: the  art or process of producing images by the action of radiant energy and especially light on a sensitive surface (as film or an optical sensor)’

To this day I don’t know if I fooled him, but as we were walking up the entrance to his studio of photography, he turned and around and said, ” Do you have to wear such high heels, you’ar pretty tall as it is LouLou.” At that moment, my  self-consicousness came down. Baron is about 5 6′ and he walked like he was 6 ft tall. He doesn’t walk, he skip without his feet living the ground. When we met he was in his early seventies, but his eyes were childlike marbles that acted as his lens. He started pulling out the photographs of Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, The Beatle, The Rolling Stones, Miles Davis,  and my jaw never closed.

” These sell really well, take some of these.’

Limbo was jawed out too, and when we walked out to the car, the promising future was just overwhelming. Baron introduced us to Jim Marshall, Micahel Zagaris (his book was just released and is fantastic), and the word spread.  That was once a dream too, my own gallery of photography. Limbo financed it, and I managed it.  He used to be one trusting supportive and generous man. I wonder where that went? When people turn upside down and they are unrecognizable, frightening, sneaky and filled with hate. I know he used to love me. Why did it stop the day the book was published?  I dedicated the book to him, he’s one of the main characters written with all the love my pen could spill.

Baron bounced in the library at La Posada  like Jimmy Durante does on stage, and yelled, ” LouLou, I’m here.”  In the next moment, he began shooting photographs of me. Limbo wasn’t there, and it really didn’t matter because of my friends. They mingled, laughed, and bought books.

Sometimes one transforming moment leads to another. I am in the Spa working out on the treadmill. I turned around, as the door opened, I hesitated for a moment before calling out.

“Hi, how are you?”

“Okay, how are you?”

“I stepped off the treadmill, and approached Audrey. We had been friends, more like sisters for serval years. Then we were broken apart by a misunderstanding that never corrected itself.

“ You won’t believe what happened!” I blurted out before even asking if she wanted to know.

“ What?” she said with immense expression. Audrey is a tall long-legged exotic, the kind that withholds her appearance, as second to her compassion for people in pain. My story poured out and then she told me her father had died. When a woman makes up with another woman after two years, you know it’s going to be the last, at least I do. That week she cat-walked, she does it really well into my garden and cooed, ‘Dawling, I brought you gifts.’ It was Valentines Day! Imagine. She had bunches of roses and lilies, a bottle of wine and Godiva chocolate. I just blossomed into her cradle of comfort. I’m not going to reenact our conversation because it was rapid-fire non-stop, like watching Thema and Lousie, she of course is Louise.

That next week I called Limbo’s attorney after sending a response to his demands. Another few weeks past, all about nerves, prescriptions, and nightmares.  I turned myself inside out waiting for five’ o’ clock so I could go to La Poada and be a tiny part of people enjoying life, instead of the gruesome neurotic seemingly unsolveable problems of Limbo.  As I crossed the threshold, the light of day fell on a head of Sophia Loren hair.

” Joeanne!

“LouLou!”

I have  no control over my response to friends, again I blurted out, “Guess what happened?”  to be continued,