Today is New Year’s Day, which may explain my hangover. I remember a particular New Year’s when just the typewriter keys hitting the paper gave me a pounding headache. Does anyone still own a typewriter?
The first novel ever written on a typewriter was “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” by Mark Twain in 1876. (I may have written the last “An Eight Pound Six Ounce Lawyer” in 1986.) Well, it turns out that Twain didn’t do the typing himself. Oh well, back to 2009.
In January, I was full of hope as Obama was the first African-American president. However, I’m still waiting for the change I voted for.
My right-wing friends take delight in my dilemma. Some want Palin for president in 2012. If 60 percent of the GOP do, I’d say 100 percent of the Democrats do. But, rather than complain about Obama, I decided to catch my readers up on some Santa Monicans I’ve written about during 2009. (Or meant to.)
Eva Brody, 79, called every Friday after reading my column to add her 2 cents. (Often hers was funnier than mine.) On the occasions that I called Eva back, I had to be on my toes. She kept up with the issues and wasn’t shy with her opinions. I was touched when Eva said that, to her, Friday was “Jack’s day.”
Eva was born in Hungary and received her bachelor’s degree in psychology while still a teenager. She had a facility for languages and worked at the embassy in Budapest. Then came the failed Hungarian revolution in 1956.
The U.S. didn’t provide military support to the Hungarian freedom fighters but, shortly afterwards, President Eisenhower sent Vice-President Nixon to visit Budapest. Nixon was so taken with Eva’s intelligence and charm that he arranged for her to come to the U.S. (No, she did not buy a used car from him.)
Eva gave birth to her daughter Susie in the U.S. and took a variety of jobs to support them. She made jewelry, sold her artwork, was a golf caddie and ultimately wound up working with autistic children. Susie lives in Santa Monica and is engaged to be married.
One Friday, I didn’t get a call from Eva. Nor the next. Then, when I finally phoned, the number was disconnected. As I would find out much later, Eva had passed away, just one day after her 81st birthday. Fortunately, I located Susie on Facebook and was able to write about her mom’s and my friendship.
Michael Hartman and I have been friends for 35 years, that is, until recently. Michael’s furious about the new smoking ban in apartment building and condo “common areas.” (And he doesn’t even smoke!)
At our pool recently, Hartman dropped a few loud and vociferous F-bombs about the ban and threatened to take up smoking just to defy the law. Quoting the late Sydney Pollack to cross-dressing Dustin Hoffman in the movie “Tootsie,” “Michael, I begged you to get help.”
I’ve written numerous times about gymnast Ebba Rosenblad, 78. In September she did a TV commercial for Verizon Wireless and then, in October, she won her 19th gold medal at the Senior Olympics. (At this rate she’s going to give Michael Phelps a complex.)
I also did a column about Ebba’s friend, Liz Bevington, 85, aka “Skateboard Mama.” Weather permitting, Liz roller blades daily between Venice and the Santa Monica Pier. Given Liz and Ebba’s age-defying antics, I’d say it must be the water. But, but since they both frequent Big Deans bar by the pier, forget the water, it has to be the beer.
Joe Geletko, 78, is also a friend of Ebba’s, having auditioned for commercials with her. He and his wife Kathy celebrated their 51st wedding anniversary this past June. Both have battled health issues but it doesn’t slow them down a bit.
Joe’s a retired Santa Monica mail carrier but his roots here go back to 1953 when he played football for SMC. His “second career” is acting. This past year he was a stand-in for Bruce Dern on “Big Love,” and as a Cardinal in “Angels and Demons.” He looked so realistic as a priest, I half-expected him to offer me a communion wafer.
Lest this seem like an article in AARP Magazine, my young friend Cameron Cooley, a senior at Santa Monica High School, got his first job in 2009. He works as a “courtesy clerk” (box boy) at Bob’s Market at 17th Street and Ocean Park Boulevard. If you haven’t been to Bob’s, it’s like stepping into the “Twilight Zone.” It’s never crowded and the employees are so friendly you’ll think you’re in Mayberry and start looking for Aunt Bee.
Frankly, I can’t tell if this column is any good. But, and I’m not suggesting that it’s a cure, at least my hangover is gone.
Jack can be reached at Jackneworth@yahoo.com.