Oct 13, 2022

“Last night we celebrated Carolyn’s birthday—three ailing females, languishing on the mattress-sofa, swapping flu germs—while Steve, her boyfriend, served us dinner.

“’Well, you’ve got three choices,’ he announced. ‘B & M beans, boiled hot dogs, or canned spaghetti.’ Then he brought out a platter of chicken in a cream and wine sauce.

“‘You know, a camper horned in on our campsite late last night,’ said Carolyn.

“’Yeah, they woke us up playing reveille,’ said Steve.

“’They caroused and yelled, ‘Kill the commies’—and kept us awake all night long. Steve and I huddled in our tent plotting our revenge.’

“’You should have put tacks under their wheels,’ suggested Susan.

“’But that would have been tactless,’ shrugged Steve.

“’Why not peanut butter in their carburetor…or tomato juice in their fuel tank?’ I offered.

“’What?’ cried, Carolyn. ‘And waste all that food?’

“When Steve finally brought out the birthday cake—with chocolate frosting and candy sprinkles—Carolyn tried to blow out the candles with a hair dryer for Steve’s sake, so he wouldn’t get sick too, but accidentally yanked it out of the wall and missed the last two candles. So much for birthday wishes.”


Living with two artists, as I’ve said, was a revelation to me. Until I met them, I hadn’t realized how stimulating creative people could be, which made me feel for the first time that maybe I had something to offer as well. Until then I’d imagined that, not being supremely intellectual—which was my father’s standard—I couldn’t expect to be interesting and engaging to anyone else.