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Dear Norman – A Remembrance: Lauren Bacall

0 Comments 20 August 2014

Ladies & Gentlemen,

A bit of my heart died recently. We all have it. That lingering memory that lurks in the ether. The love, lust, longing for….the one that got away. For yours truly, it was Lauren Bacall. My life could have been completely augmented was it not for a somewhat cold roast beef sandwich and a wrinkled pair of pants.

Bacall was ‘it’. Born from immigrants but fortunate enough to have uncles sitting on gold mines my sweet Bessie (as I called her) went to the most pristine of finishing schools here in Manhattan. She could entertain sheiks with ease but was always at home amongst the underbelly. That was part of the reason I loved her. ⅓ parts to be exact. Another ⅓ was her lips and the final ⅓ was the way she ironed my trousers.

Take all of them – the models I mean. Klum, Brinkley, the field. Take my word, they wouldn’t exist if my Bessie didn’t knock the socks of Herb Schtenkel winning her the cover of Harpers in ‘43. We were waiting at Schnitzers for roast beef sandwiches when Herb walked by. Bessie was leaning over the counter, deciding on a potato salad, when Herb honed in. He was fortunate enough to get a look at her derriere from ten feet and was immediately drawn.

He approached, she turned and the deal was done. The 1-2 bunch of her caboose and that mug is enough to drive Attila the Hun to get a throw rug.

Nancy Hawk, that devil, did me in. Once she got the cover an idol was made.

It wasn’t until March of ‘45 until I’d see her again. Back in New York. She was in Hollywood and a man has needs so I shacked up with the closest Marcia I could find. Who wouldn’t?

Stupidly I was back at Schnitzers ordering my usual – Roast beef on rye….dry. I had spent the night at ‘Marcia’s’ and had thrown my trousers in the corner of the room as a product of my raging libido. When I awoke they were in a ball but I needed a sandwich.

Bessie knew I would never leave the house with wrinkled trousers if I had my head about me. Which I clearly didn’t. Our eyes caught when I was grabbing napkins from the counter and she was drinking her coke. She was on a chance trip to NYC on a PR campaign.

She looked at me and me at her. We’d never sorted things out. I saw her eyes look at my trousers as the look of disgust crept across her face. I was caught.

Clearly her ascension was paramount. I was a speed bump on the road to glory. But her seeing me in my wrinkled (see: soiled) trousers was the confirmation she was looking for. I had moved on in her mind. Her regret about leaving me high and dry drifted. I gave her an out.

But Bessie, and you will always be my Bessie, along with America – and the world – you taught me how to whistle. And, for that, I will forever be in your debt.


- who has written 512 posts on The Shade.

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