Three weeks ago, I lamented the passing of Oscar de la Rascal, the 15-year-old seizure-alert Golden Retriever who belonged to an upstairs neighbor. Among Oscar’s biggest fans was Elizabeth “Honey” Brady, my downstairs neighbor. (For 30 years, with her on the 2nd floor and me on the 3rd, it was like the “Shores Dorm.”) We frequently took Oscar for walks or, more accurately, he took us. After sunset, to avoid a ticket, we’d occasionally let Oscar run in the water and dive through the waves. It was a thing of joy to watch. (A chore under the beach shower to get the sand off but worth it.)
One night, and to Oscar’s delight, Honey spontaneously jumped in with him! That was Honey, free-spirited, full of life and love. But, sadly, last weekend, and only days after her 70th birthday, she passed away. Stephanie Sanford, our friend of 40 years, made her a delicious organic birthday cake. And now, with Honey gone, truthfully, we’re all still in shock.
Honey was also a fan of “Laughing Matters.” Every Friday I’d drop a copy at her door and invariably, on Saturday, she’d call with kudos. If I disagreed she’d lecture, a la Katherine Hepburn, “Young man, don’t be so bloody insecure!” I’d explain that, for some writers doubt, is baked in but she never really bought it. When she thought she was right (often) Honey could be stubborn. “I’m Irish,” she’d say as if it was a free pass. It kinda was.
On occasion, Honey would accompany me on my “Shores paper route.” For elderly or disabled neighbors, at night I’d go on Main Street, collect the Daily Press and leave it at their doors. Honey went, enjoying window shopping on Main and running into friends, which could instantly turn into a social event. Honey was a world-class schmoozer.
Honey’s and her late husband, Fritz “Fred” Bahn, were married over three decades. (Fred’s 4th generation family business, P.O. Bahn on Lincoln, started in 1927!) Honey and Fred traveled the world, including Alaska, Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Tahiti, and Bali to name but a few exotic locales.
Bud Harris knew Honey for 45 years and she did his books for the last 25. Worried when always reliable Honey didn’t return calls, Bud, fearing the worst, rushed to the Shores. “The mind plays funny tricks,” he recounted with a tear in his eye. “When I saw her peacefully on the couch and the TV on, I was hoping she was alive.” If only.
Honey leaves behind an older brother, Daryl, three younger sisters: Kathy, Gwen and Star and many sad nieces and nephews. Honey’s late father, Daryl, a Clark Gable doppelgänger, was a WW2 bomber pilot in the Pacific. Shot down twice, he was awarded: the Silver Star, the Gold Star, the Distinguished Service Medal and a Purple Heart! After the war he was a foreign correspondent and filmmaker. Talk about a man’s man.
Honey was also exceedingly proud of her late mother, Elizabeth, the first President of the Las Virgines School Board. (Honey’s maternal Grandfather, Dr. Ralph N. Smith, was head of Abdominal Surgery at Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital and was a surgeon until he was 83!)
In the 1950’s, the close-knit and beautiful-looking Brady family lived on an idyllic ranch in the Malibu Hills. Life included horse back riding and, with the ocean not that far away, swimming and surfing, too. A great athlete, Honey was quite the equestrian, polo player and ballerina, explaining her lifelong trim figure. Long before “Baywatch,” California blond Honey was a lifeguard in summer and jogged on Santa Monica beaches for most of her life.
After graduating UCLA, Honey became an RN. Later, she was a Property Manager at the prestigious Ocean Towers. On the last Sunday of every month, Honey sold her collectibles in the Antique Show at SMO. Ever-busy (an understatement!) she was also employed at Rand and literally walked to work.
Honey had a flair for flamboyant fashion with stylish dresses and matching hats. But she also had a mysterious, private side. When I asked, “Exactly what do you do at Rand?” she countered,“If I told you, I’d have to kill you.” (Private as she could be, if Honey ever read this she would kill me, though she might love the Hepburn reference!)
If there’s an afterlife, I hope Honey’s there with Oscar at the beach. And Oscar’s joyfully diving through the waves as Honey joins him. Seeing that one more time, would be truly heavenly.