On a Thursday night (a school night), when I was 15, a thing happened that has made me feel closer to George than to people my own age, ever since.
Richard and I lived in a small town about 30 miles east of Los Angeles proper, called Monrovia. Monrovia nestles right up against the base of the San Gabriel mountains, like a dog curled up and napping at the foot of a master’s giant bed. The flat, southerly part of Monrovia is mostly apartment buildings built in the 1950's. One time I was walking around a neighborhood that had literally only pick-up trucks parked in the driveways and along the curb.
As the land starts to noticeably elevate, in other words, when you start to notice you're walking uphill, that's where the nice houses are, little mansions some of them, Ranch-style houses, also built in the 1950's. I don't know if it's from something I read or saw a photo of, but I imagine that Marilyn Monroe stayed in one of these houses. There was a park at the end of one of the east-west streets in the fancy area that had something wonderful and abandoned on its grounds. It was a huge old iron and wood apparatus with a ladder that went at least 50 feet up and led to a horizontal crossbeam laddered with iron bars. I'm not quite sure how to describe it, I was always so confounded and amused whenever I made my walks there, but I think it was trapeze equipment for practicing circus acts. I think it was the type of giant dinosaur that some circus worker could glance at only peremptorily and say, "Oh yeah, it's just a pedestal board and some fly bars, duh! Big deal," but to me it was an absolute mystery. Why was it there? More than once, especially in the amount of time since I haven't been back to Monrovia, even for a drive through the streets, which happens to coincide with this current time we're living in where virtually anything can be found out about online, I have tried to look up information about the old circus equipment in that park, and have found absolutely no information about it. When I used to live there, though, I didn't tell anyone local about it, except Richard, of course. And then Josie. The night I'm about to describe has mostly to do with Josie, and with George.