(There is a very good book with the title “How to Survive the Loss of a Love” by Melba Colgrove PHD, Harold H. Bloomfield MD and Peter Mc Williams. I suggest that anyone who is having a problem surviving a loss and finding it hard to function after your loss…please, go to your library or book store and read this book. It helps.)
The very first serious love of my life was Paul McCartney, yes, of the Beatles. I walked around in a daze madly in love from the age of eleven to about seventeen. Listen, when I fall, I really fall. Really no one could come close. Oh I had a slight crush or two but I was waiting for Paul. When Paul married Linda Eastman that was the end of our love story. After Paul … there was Oscar Warner, a serious German actor. I saw him as a passionate, misunderstood, tragic figure. Here is a weird (but for me normal) experience that I often have had in my life. Oscar Warner lived on my street … on a tiny little street, when I was a college student in Paris. Here I had been in love with him since I was a teenager when I saw him in the movie “A Ship Of Fools” … and at 20 years old I walked into a café with my roommate. In walked Oscar Warner. I am not kidding … I knew it was him from the back of his head. I saw him several times since we lived on the same street… and once he even walked up to my roommate and me to translate what the bartender in our local cafe was asking me in French… that I didn’t understand. Oscar walked up to me and said; “He is asking if you would rather have your beer on tap or in the bottle.” I don’t know what I said or did … I couldn’t speak. I often thought about walking up to him at one of our local shops and asking him to attend one of our college parties, but I never did. He was a tragic figure … I did see him very, very, tipsy a time or two in our local café. Not too many years later he died of alcoholism.
The first real feelings I ever had for a real person was in my darling little college in Iowa. There were a group of students that came from Chicago and New York, we found each other and became the “In Crowd” and called ourselves “The New Yorkers”. My best friend, (I later found out) was the daughter of a rather well know New York mobster. Another of our friends in our group from New York, years later became a pretty famous television, movie and Broadway star. In the middle of my first year in college I spotted a young man that had just arrived from a college in Colorado. He seemed and looked a little older than all of us. It was rumored that he was kicked out of his last college. He was quiet and I noticed that he just watched everyone … as if he was studying all of us. Then somehow overnight he became one of the group and maybe the most popular one of the group. He started talking to me. He was interesting and somehow mysterious. His father was a famous businessman, who’s picture, if you read the Wall Street Journal, was drawn in ink (which is a big deal) on the front page of the Journal with an article about my young man’s father. My mother who spent a good part of her day reading the Journal and the stock pages cut the article out and saved it in her top drawer with her jewelry. Many years later (when I had married someone else) she showed this to me as she suspected that I was going to marry this famous businessman’s son. I fell for this young man and fell very hard. We had deep conversations … he was full of fun and high spirits but with me he was very serious and we had several serious conversations. He was also the man people went to, to buy drugs. You might have guessed by now that I was not and am not a wild person or one who took or takes drugs. Although I have a very adventurous sprit I am not personally wild or a drug taker. I found out through my friends (who BTW smoked pot and took light drugs as college kids from the 70’s did and I imagine still do) that he wouldn’t allow anyone to give me any drug even if I asked to try one. I was the “goody two shoes” of the group and I didn’t even swear, which was a constant joke among my New York big city friends. We mostly did things as a group however; everyone could see that we were a couple. One day we had an argument and I can’t remember what it was about … I cried and left my boyfriend and the party. That night he arrived at my dorm; I was in my long white nightgown. When I opened the door of my room he said, ”The body that launched a thousand ships.” Still is one of my favorite compliments of my life, because that was just like him, smart and funny. He became very serious. He locked the door and sat across from me. He then said something that I will never forget and I have questioned off and on from then on. He said, “If I could date anyone in this school, I would date you, but I can’t and I can’t tell you why.” I knew him for a year and a half … this happened half way through our sophomore year. I don’t know why I didn’t question him more. I somehow knew that I couldn’t. Later we had a very big argument for some reason I have blocked out of my mind. I can’t remember what it was about but we stopped talking. I walked around in a sad depression and stayed far away from him until the end of the semester. I never went back to that college in Iowa.
I stayed friends with several of the dear friends from New York. I visited my best friend in New York several times and was friends with her whole family. Her father lived away from the family. Her father would show up for holidays and once while I was visiting my friend in her Long Island home her father arrived in the middle of the night. The curtains were drawn at all times and just like in the movies people would arrive and sit with her dad, bowing and kissing his ring. I over heard them telling him their problems about their businesses … their son’s boss… and on and on. People were ushered in to tell this man their problems. I really had no idea what this was about until I saw the movie “The Godfather” I was after all an upper class Methodist girl from Chicago. What did I know about this type of thing? One couple that lived next door to my friend in New York was constantly over at her house. My friend’s mother would give this young couple advice. Years later my friend said that they were FBI agents and not married at all. Therefore, as one of the only people allowed into my friend’s private circle I imagine I must be in a file somewhere at the FBI along with my friend’s father and family members.
I was heartbroken over my breakup with my boyfriend and applied to a University in Europe to get as far away as I could from my poor little broken heart. It really helped to be far, far away in Paris for one year and then London for two years. One night this is almost three years later, I was living in London and two of my friends and I went to a play. As I was being seated a young man in a tux came and stood next to me, smiling and saying nothing. He had short hair. Now when I knew my young man from Iowa he had long hair, he wore only jeans and t-shirts and a long green coat and he wore glasses… Round John Lennon looking glasses. This man that stood in front of me now at the theater in London was wearing an expensive tuxedo, he had short cropped hair and we wasn’t wearing glasses … but he looked like my boyfriend from the college in Iowa. He stood next to me staring for a bit … then he stared at me from the back of the theatre, next I turned in my seat and he was staring from the balcony. I told my friends about him and told them that he looked like my lost love. At intermission he was on the side of the theater talking to a few people on a staircase… while, off and on staring at me. I gathered up my courage and walked up to him and called him by name. I said (not his real name) “William, is that you?” He looked at me and smiled and said, “No” Later, I saw him again standing at the balcony staring down at me. Once again a mystery surrounded this person.
About a year after I graduated from college and had been working I heard from my girlfriend from New York. She told me Bill had died in a car accident. She was afraid to tell me. She also said how she wasn’t sure if he had committed suicide or not because she said not long before he died he had called all of his friends to say hello. She said maybe he was saying goodbye. I cried for over 24 hours even though at the time I had a new serious boyfriend. I wasn’t over Bill and part of me will always care… something about him touched my heart and it took years to get over my first innocent love. I have thought perhaps he was working for the government in some form or other. Perhaps, he was placed in our college to become friends with all of these New York children of important members of the New York Cosa Nostra. Was he really in a car accident or was he in a witness protection program? Spy? I really don’t know? I know he loved Colorado and had worked on a ranch in summers. Years later, I had been married for 15 years and I had two sons… my husband and family were living in Aspen. One day we went to a funny little hamburger joint in Aspen … sitting across the room was a man wearing a cowboy hat and jeans and boots with his arm around a lady. He looked over at me and my stomach jumped. He was older and in another unfamiliar outfit but I could swear it was the same man, my Bill. We didn’t speak. I don’t know … was it my Bill? He stared that was all and I can’t even remember who walked out first. I know I felt nervous and somehow embarrassed. Did I love him? I think so. I did get over him but not over the whole mystery.
I have dated a lot of men and really a group of very nice men. I liked them all and would love to see and talk to them all again. However, there have been three serious loves in my life and I will talk about the other two on the next post. I wonder if we ever really get over the loss of a love? They’re all kinds of loss and all kinds of love, from lovers, to husbands, to friends and family. It is even hard to get over the loss of a pet. I will go into detail about loss on the next post, next week. The older we get and keep living the more we must find out how to live with loss. Until next Thursday!