66. A Sense of Belonging …

From Summer Place forward, Diana and I went out and around with one another every weekend.  We were certainly entertained enough with what we were doing together yet we hadn’t committed to exclusivity.

Then the time had come in both our minds that I should meet her family.  Her parents were previously divorced and so it would be one at a time meetings.  Besides that her mother and sister had returned to the Midwest after the separation.   

I met her father and I felt he approved of me, at the very least, as his eldest daughter’s companion.  Now I said it this way because interracial relationships were still not easily accepted.

The only real prejudice I had previously encountered in my life was that over religious views.  California was certainly more relaxed than say, the Midwest states where her parents were raised and there was just a little concern that her relationship with me might’ve been frowned upon.  

We weren’t discussing marriage or anything and she assured me that her parents were well aware of her lifelong interest in all aspects of foreign cultures; this shouldn’t be too difficult for them.  

Well the fact is we got along quite well.  He really liked me as a human being and I felt him to be genuine.  One day he invited Diana and myself to dinner at a real nice restaurant in Westwood Village.  

Halfway through our time there at the table, Diana’s father gently placed his hand on our waitress’s hand when she stopped by, yet again with her very big smile and he said, “Doris I’d like you to meet someone.  You already know my daughter … and this is her wonderful friend, Parma.”

I knew it!  I had been pondering the obvious friendliness between Diana’s dad and our waitress.  Maybe they were just casually flirting? I thought.  Here it is, confirmed.  He had a real nice friend there who quite clearly was looking out for him and as a bonus, a nice 20% discount (he told us later) whenever he dined there.  As a single man that turned out to be quite often.

My days and nights moved along at a steady pace and that brings me around to the autumn.  🍁 One day a tenant called me to help her move something heavy in her place. I accidentally left my apartment door open when I went there.  In that time frame someone came into my residence and stole a few things.

Naturally I was alarmed and informed the owner of the building.  She in turn released me from my position and I found myself suddenly unemployed.  In fact she took me to court suing for I cannot even remember what but the judge dismissed the charges.  Apparently he had better things to do.

I say take that whole scenario any way you will because I know what I thought about it.  As might be expected I filled ‘mom’ in on what happened.  In her ever-luvin’ way she said to me, “Honey you never mind all that, I’ll fix things up for you.”  Mrs. Elson had another set of friends up Hollywood way and I found myself in a similar situation up there; resident caretaker of tenants.

As was anticipated Diana and I were still right on track even though we weren’t as close, geographically speaking.  She remained in Westwood and I now lived on Sherbourne Drive.

I was given a nice furnished studio apartment and also had a sort of guardian looking out for me.  This would be an older lady, a very dear friend of ‘mom’ – she’d call me over to her place for coffee or something to eat and ask me how I was getting on, a personal evaluation if you will.  

And Dave’s mom still called up regularly to check on me. We certainly didn’t want a repeat of the previous scene.  Speaking of Dave, we still found time to hang out together and we were both glad of it.  And whenever I could I’d give him advance notice of Diana’s visit, he’d happily make arrangements for the 4 of us to double date.

Out came the lite blue Ford Fairlane 500 again and off we’d go!  A favorite place of ours to dine at was up Malibu way. Just pick up your rotary dial telephone and place the call to GLENWOOD 7 2567 for your table!  We’d take the drive on Pacific Coast Highway to Trancas Restaurant at Zuma Beach for the best swordfish steaks ever.

Back up into Hollywood, the tenants of the building I looked after were nice people.  They all seemed to have everything they needed and most of the times, I was just called upon to help them bring up their groceries from their car.  

And though not in lifeguard capacity, I attended the swimming pool too.  I really felt comfortable here in Hollywood.  Yes the Hollywood of the late 50’s … hindsight, where are you?

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GLENWOOD 7 2567      love those phone numbers of the past.

42. 1958 Hanging About the Place

This life went along as usual and certainly not aware of the extreme changes that lie ahead.  I went to work all week, had one ice cold 🍺 Guinness two or three times a week after work, caught the bus home and that was the day.  Evenings were for home with my family, amazing cooking and playing with my nieces and nephew usually.  

Most weekends Noori came down from her home to spend time at my house.  We still had to conceal our relationship outside my home.  But for all that my family was most comfortable with her presence, not only for the light she brought into the house and the smile to my face but also in her nature that made her absolutely wonderful.  

Noori did more for me than my soon-to-be ex-wife ever did.  That relationship was not of my choosing and be that as it may, we were much too young, not really knowing what to do in a world that was changing rapidly.  

With hindsight I can truly say, I really don’t blame Hemma or for that matter, myself.  Our marriage was just a bad mix of ingredients.

This adventure now with Noori was whole heartedly of our own choosing.  Such a dear, precious heart with the patience of a saint!  And we certainly were enjoying our time.  

Whenever Noori was at our house, we felt almost like a married couple; she jumped right in to do the things a wife (at least of that time) did for her husband.  ☕️ She made tea for me!  

C - Dreamy Blossoms (sq) -signed

She cleaned up my room as in making my bed and straightening out and she insisted on washing my clothes even though I used to take them out to be laundered, she really wanted to do this for me.  

To be helpful for my mother and sister-in-law, she saw whatever else needing doing in the house and just did it, and always with cheerful disposition and a smile.  It’s as though doing these things somehow comforted her.

We would have our lunch together.  Noori and I were able to entertain one another quite well, including lots of heart to heart talking and planning for the days when we would live our lives together, free and out in the open.

She still had to be at her own home in the evenings as to not provoke suspicion of any kind.  Up to this time no one knew I was her Gary.  I mean in my house everyone knew because that’s the only way she addressed me.  

At her home though the family heard her occasionally speak of someone named Gary, never suspecting that he was a Hindu man, much less me but I’m pretty sure her little sister knew.  And her sister-in-law who was actually Hindu knew as well.

Noori and I even sang to one another.  🎶 Ah come on, you knew we both loved to sing!

Sounds a little like a Bollywood film, doesn’t it?  Well, I don’t know about that, what with the singing and all, we won’t even discuss the dancing!

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I’m not saying arranged marriages never work, I’m only saying what I felt was right or in this case, not right for me.  Goodness knows I gave in, let Sonia go and tried to make Hemma and me work.

Sister-in-law – yeah isn’t it interesting that the men in the family could marry a Hindu woman; the ‘no & no’ rule applying only to the daughter.  She could marry a caucasian man (the younger sister eventually did just that) but no marrying a Hindu man.