Monday, August 4, 2008

Black cord fever

All day I have been on the phone with people who knew Leonard Pennario to varying degrees. I talked to a wonderful guy who was an army buddy of Leonard's, and a former RCA executive, and a bridge buddy from his later years. Three very different people, all with different but very useful vantage points.

There is something that keeps me going through all this work on the book, and all I can think is that it is a gift from God: that I have this endless curiosity about the tiniest thing involving Leonard Pennario.

Interviewee: "So then he wanted to go to this ice cream parlor, and he got this strawberry sundae, and--"

Me (Dreamily): "Oh, when I was with him, he always got chocolate. So did he order strawberry ice cream a lot when you knew him?"

I am making up that exchange but I am not exaggerating by much. I ask people what their first impressions of Leonard were, if he ever expressed opinions on this or that, if they were lucky enough to go to movies with him and, if so, what movies they saw. I found myself asking the RCA guy what Leonard's residence had looked like, the penthouse where he lived on Wilshire Boulevard. Was it comfortable? Or was it the type of place where you were afraid to sit down on the couch?

The thing is, Leonard and I had kind of a joke about that. I was curious about what the places where he lived over the years looked like, but when I asked him, he would get all haughty and say, "I'm not a decorator. I'm not going to start talking about dishes and wallpaper and stuff." Typical guy. So I started asking him those questions just to tease him. I'd make it a point to ask about other people's houses, too.

"So, Leonard, Cole Porter's house, what did the dining room look like?"

"I'm not a decorator."

That was fun. I am never happier than when I am annoying someone I love.

Anyway, that was my day, poking and prodding at the endless, fascinating mystery of mysteries that is Leonard Pennario. I never get sick of it. Never. But now here it is -- gulp! -- 5:50 p.m. And I can't do any more work.

That is because I made the mistake of reading back on my blog and I saw the comment RaChaCha made the other day about Ron Moss's summons. RaChaCha suggested that next time Moss runs for mayor we have a parade of shopping carts down Delaware, with everyone yelling obscenities in the general direction of City Hall. He wrote it better than I did just now but ... what an image!

Now I am in the mood for nothing but fun and games.

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