Speaking of “Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque,” Philip lived in a beach house at Capistrano Beach –back then the average Joe six-pack could live in a beach house in Southern California, though they were just renting. Later, they bought their own house in San Clemente, not on the beach.
Anyway, even though my father had shown me how the chess pieces moved years before, I had no idea how to play the game. So, Philip showed me. It was a painful though fascinating experience. I had to keep losing before I became a strong enough player to even challenge him.
Also, on his window sill he had a cute set of Edgar Allen Poe books, which he got cheap for helping out at an antique store. At school one day, when the power went out, he happened to be in my room on student business, and offered to recite “The Raven” from memory. Consequently, I sent away to Captain Company back east for an Edgar Allen Poe record album: one side had a narrative of “The Pit and the Pendulum,” while the other side was “The Tell Tale Heart.” It only took about 6 months to arrive in the mail!
Amazing time with Philip in the beach house enjoying Poe and chess!
One day he was on the back of my bike as I was dropping him off near his house. He was so entertaining, that I didn’t want to stop the bike, and wanted to take him home with me, but he jumped off the bike–almost nothing could distract him from his impending accomplishments.
Even though Philip could have skipped grades, his parents held him back wanting him to be more like a normal person, but by high school they no longer saw any reason to hold him back. Just hanging around Philip boosted my vocabulary to the top percentile for my age, but I didn’t keep it up, when I moved back to LA, since I am somewhat of a sluggard.
Even though Philip was a grade ahead of me and a year older, he was actually smaller than I (I am an average size person). Philip being a scrawny person, though he was wiry from working out on the monkey bars. So, one day we were wrestling, though I was bigger, he was actually stronger, and he was on top of me pinning me down as two of the cutest girls
in school came by to observe. I thought this cannot be! A little runt like Phillip getting the better of me, while wrestling in front of two really cute girls, who were enjoying the spectacle. So, I struggled mightily trying to throw him off me, but it was futile as I’ve never had much upper body strength –just like a girl!
The girls really seemed to enjoy watching me being humiliated by the smaller but stronger Philip!
Once Philip and I went to the Los Angeles county fair in Pomona. I brought back a fake derby hat and a bamboo cane. Philip was one to utilize things. I was informed by him that I would be performing as Charlie Chaplin in front of the entire school! I would do almost anything for him. So, they painted a fake mustache on me and had a fake pie in the face made from shaving cream (whipped cream would have tasted better).
I’ll not bore you with the details, but my Chaplin was based on
Chaplin. Notice: I related better to women even back then.
For my thirteenth birthday Phil, Lynn (more about him later), Shaw, and myself were driven to Hollywood to see a movie. I wanted to see “Cleopatra” at the Pantages, but it was a dollar more than the other moves, times 4 with my friends. So, we were dropped off at some crummy run-down theater down the street to watch a lousy black and white movie (nothing against black & white movies–some of my favorites have been such!), after the movie we spent the night at my house.
When Philip advanced to the next grade, requiring that he attend another school, I was lost without him. As I exhibited bad behavior the principal offered to drive me home. He got excited, when he discovered that I was actually in another school district as the line went through Shore Cliff estates! Even though he was being a mean jerk, I do admire the slick way he got rid of me.
So, at the next school I met Lynn, who just loved the “Bye Bye Birdie” record album. As I was an introvert, Lynn was an extravert, which made us a good team. We were both in the Boy Scouts. Even though I started in the Boy Scouts in Los Angeles and continued in San Clemente, I never made it beyond tenderfoot –never earned any merit badges! (Throughout my entire life I’ve never been any good at getting promotions!)
Lynn got me a date with Cathy,
who was another incredibly cute girl. When we went to the picture show, Cathy would touch me and say “I wish you would reciprocate.” When she touched me, I would shake all over, which was my same reaction a few years earlier when I saw my divorced mom
on the floor with the lights on, and the radio blaring, while Geno was giving her the in & out!
Last time I saw Philip he was on television calling himself
and arguing with Joe Pyne! Philip had gone to Berkeley, and as an honor student he was able to talk the faculty into allowing him to major in “Magic”! Philip had a University of California diploma with a major in Magic, including a facsimile of governor Ronald Reagan’s signature printed on it!