Monday, August 6, 2018

"The First"

Behold a cultural icon!  I feel an honorary stamp in not-distant my future.  I think I’ll start picking out a shirt.

Here’s the story.

Since returning from my recent magical experience, I have been asked on numerous occasions,

“Have you ever visited Oxford University before?”

(Regular readers may sense the advancing footsteps of a previously told anecdote.  Firstly, you can be sure I will tell the tale differently. And secondly, show some consideration for “irregular” readers.  Why deprive them of a new-to-them opportunity?  Remember when younever heard it before? That’s them, in just a couple of minutes.)

Okay, here we go.

It was the spring of 1967.


It was the summer of 1967.

I don’t know when it was. Except I am sure it was 1967.

I am living in a bedsitting room in Hampstead.  (An exciting update on that story tomorrow.  I am just bubbling with great news.  But don’t worry.  My buoyant demeanor is fleetingly temporary.  Stay tuned for returning pessimism and despair following this uncharacteristic flurry of sunshine.)

The thing is – at least it was in my experience back then – any acquaintance of mine who learned someone from Toronto was visiting London seems to have encouraged the impending traveler,

“When you’re there, why don’t you look up Earl Pomerantz?”

Thinking, perhaps, I was lonely, which I occasionally was.  Though there was no assurance some random visiting stranger was the ameliorating antidote, and there I’d be, hosting an annoyance.

Anyway, that’s how I met Steve Posen.  Whom I had never set eyes on before, our one tenuous connection being  that Steve Posen was my one-time orthodontist’s, Dr. Posen’s, nephew, who, if Steve was anything like his malevolent uncle, I could have done very well minus the surprise “drop-in.”  

Fortunately, Steve Posen was terrific.  Smart. Funny.  Enthusiastic.  And, particularly helpful to the moment, informative.

It was Steve Posen who told me that, as a college graduate and member of the (then) British Commonwealth of Nations, I was acceptably qualified to procure a job as a substitute teacher in the English educational system, and the following week, after four months of withering unemployment, that is exactly what I did, teaching school from April till…


So it was the spring of 1967!

You see how wonderfully valuable this activity is?  I crank out a post, and a lost factoid is clarifyingly nailed down!

Okay, so backtracking somewhat…

Steve Posen had recently gotten married, and he and his new bride had decided to move to England for a year, before returning to Toronto and starting their adult lives.

I was happy to meet them, Steve more than… her name eludes me… less reachable young wife.  Darkly very attractive.  Impeccably groomed, and stylishly accessorized.  The woman hailed from Detroit, which is fine, if you forgive Gordie Howe (his dominating magnificence.)  Her one perceived liability?

I dislike this acronym, which manages to malign two proud ethnicities in one swoop, but Steve’s newly-minted “Mrs.” had the distinct liability of being a JAP – a “Jewish-American Princess.”  (With apologies to both guiltless ethnicities.)  There was a detectable aura of entitlement and lavishly “spoiled baby” about her.

An evaluation confirmed three days after newlyweds’ arrival.

Steve Posen calls up super distraught.  His wife had abruptly gone back to Detroit, her brief English experience a little “Third Worldly” for her pampered proclivities.   (The English toilet tissue possibly overly chafing.  I am a time-lost stranger to the specifics.)

Anyway, the suddenly abandoned husband was understandably upset.  Uncertain how to respond, I just allowed him to vent.

“We had these wonderful plans,” he tearfully explained.  “We were going to Windsor Castle, Stratford-on-Avon, the University of Oxford…”

There was a long pause, a doleful Steve Posen, processing the catastrophe.  Finally, he says to me,

“Do youwant to go?”

Answer to the earlier question:  I had visited Oxford one time before, touring the campus, joining my ditched-husband-companion for a drink, reclining memorably in a flat-bottomed boat as the separated Steve Posen “punted” me easefully down the nearby river.

An idyllic tableau, to which I will add only this.

Gay marriage was legalized in America in 2015.

The first recorded same-sex honeymoon, however?

The spring of 1967.

1 comment:

Luke said...

I don't recall that story though I've been reading your blog for many years. Good story but I guess Steve left you! Did Mr. And Mrs. Posen (the first) reconcile?