Monday, January 26, 2009

Go back in time

Return to Diablo. To my studio upstairs in the old railroad station. Downstairs is the Feed and Fuel store. One day a woman came to buy food for her horses. The owner of the store was occupied by another important customer so he said to this young smart looking woman, whom he knew from past business, Go upstairs and meet my new tenant. I'll be with you in minutes.

I was upstairs working on a painting when I heard footsteps coming up the stairs. It was the first time some one had come up uninvited for Joe and I had sworn, when I signed my lease, that we would never bother the other under any circumstances. My children were told they could call the store only if some one were dying. We had kept to our agreement until this occasion.
I quickly covered my wet painting with a swatch of green material I usually used for backdrops.

"Hi. My name is Elena. Joe told me to walk up, to meet his new tenant. Hope I'm not bothering you. I see you are a painter. I like your work. We are having a Christmas Party tomorrow evening. Can you and your husband come. We live in the house called Tao House where Eugene O'Neill wrote his most successful plays. Do you know where it is? You can let us know. I'll give you my phone number" She heard Joe calling her downstairs and rushed away calling to me, "I'll give Joe my number. Do come." And she was gone. I heard them throwing bales of hay on her truck and saw her driving away. What a whirlwind.

When I finished painting I searched for Joe to ask him about my visitor. He told about the couple, how much fun they were. The husband owned an auto dealer ship in Walnut Creek. Joe and his wife had been entertained by them many times. Just seeing Tao House is worth spending an evening there. He gave me the note with her phone number and I dashed away.

I told Sam about the invitation for dinner tomorrow, but he was doubtful about accepting such a hurried invitation. When he heard that they were in the Auto business I saw a spark of interest, (we were trying to buy a car for our Nr two child who had been given a job in Oakland in a bakery. She had to work on her vacations to earn money for college) We talked bout it for ages but not until I mentioned I was going to call Lois Sizzo to tell her about the invitation, did Sam look as if he was about to change his mind.

Lois was home, thank goodness. When she heard about Tao House she said, Oh, promise you'll go. I am so interested in that place. We've heard that the people who are renting it are really abusing the place and we have a group here who would like to have Congress declare it a National Landmark. Please see what you can find out. If Sam won't go, please go alone.

Well, Sam and I went. I put on a nice short dress and Sam went as he usually was dressed. We arrived and ahead of us was a woman dressed in a long white dress and a white fur stole, and with a husband who wore jeans and cow boy boots. It was a fun party, for there were only characters there. There must have been fifty people, and the cast revolved. The house was large enough that people could hide and come back hours later. I have no memory of what we were being served. I know Sam and I had a drink as we arrived, but I do not remember any crackers with pate or potato chips or anything like that. But I remember the rooms these people had painted after moving in, Absolutely atrocious. One room was worse than sky blue. Much of the house looked as if it had been sitting alone in neglect and solitude. We didn't stay long but what we saw was interesting. I felt like a spy for a lot of what I saw was going straight to Lois.

Her life as a name dropper was just beginning and from then on she was throwing names like Katherine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart and Jose somebody, around and she and the other person who worked as hard as Lois won their quest and there now is Tao House, where visitors can go to learn more about Eugene O'Neill. It is a lovely place. There is all kinds of Theatre in the Danville Hills.

As an addendum I will tell you about an Art Tour to Russia that I was involved with. I had read tin he Wall Street Journal, that in Moscow there were Eugene O'Neill plays being given. I found out before I left that the play shown the night I could go, was going to be 'Desire Under the Elms' I read it before we left and I copied the library version and took that along so I could read it again a couple of times. Next time I blog I will tell you all about that trip and that night in the theatre.

1 comment:

Joanna said...

Svensto the spy. 'Gotta love it!