When I first moved to the Shores apartments, Gerald Ford was president and, coincidentally, his son, Steve, had an apartment here. Steve was an actor on the soap opera, “The Young and the Restless,” which, mercifully, I never saw, but also in “Harry Met Sally” and “Black Hawk Down,” which I’m glad I did.
Nosey as it sounds, I always wanted to ask about his father’s pardoning Richard Nixon. If Nixon had gone to jail maybe Bush and Cheney would have thought twice before trampling the constitution. (Maybe they will go to jail yet? A guy can dream, can’t he?)
I don’t recall Steve’s Secret Service here, but after Reagan left office, an agent of his lived next door. When he introduced himself, I panicked, assuming it was about my Iran-Contra column. (I eviscerated Ollie North, who deserved prison but got a job at Fox News, while I was kinder to Fawn Hall, who got immunity for sneaking documents out in her underwear and now works at a West Hollywood bookstore.) After all that info, the agent was merely returning swim goggles I had dropped in the hallway. We became friendly because Reagan had Alzheimer’s and so did my mother.
He even introduced me to Reagan in an impromptu meeting in the beach parking lot. Wearing a suit, Reagan stood tall and broad-shouldered. They were going to take a walk, except that Reagan thought they’d already had. Alzheimer’s is such a hideous disease. Thankfully, Obama’s reversed Bush’s stance on stem cell research.
In 1975 no pets were allowed at the Shores, but some tenants sneaked in cats (or dogs small enough for a gym bag). When these tenants needed repairs in their apartments there would be a frenetic, almost comical, pet transfer from one apartment to another, including kitty litter boxes.
Pets are now permitted with a doctor’s note. I walk Oscar, a golden retriever who belongs to Colleen, a disabled neighbor. I’m with Oscar so much that Colleen gets slightly miffed when someone asks, “What are you doing with Jack’s dog?”
Our previous landlord tried to evict Colleen over her first dog, Sali. The case finally went to the state Supreme Court, which ruled that service animals fall under the Americans With Disabilities Act.
Today we must have 20 dogs between the two buildings. Because of seniority, I call Oscar the “Rosa Parks” of the group. The doctor’s note must state that the animal is necessary for the tenant’s physical or psychological well being. Following that logic, I could have a Playboy Playmate assuming I could find a doctor to write that note. And assuming I could find the Playmate.
With the incredible demand for pets and medical marijuana, “Note Writing” may soon be a course in medical school. Actually, we had a medical marijuana MD living here and the traffic from his apartment was staggering, though, no more than for the female “escort” who also lived here. Forget what a country, what an apartment building.
We do have rather draconian doggy rules, however. With your dog, you can’t chat in the lobby, walk between the two buildings, or use any of the many grass areas. But the dog-owning tenants are so grateful they don’t mind. (And, so far, no dog has voiced, I mean barked, a complaint.)
When tenants take their dogs out simultaneously, the front of the building is like a Disney movie, as they’re so many different colors and sizes (not to mention the dogs). We have two goldens, Oscar and Sammy, two Lab mixes, Bella and Goldie, and my favorite, Stella, a ridgeback/hound mix. Stella recently chased so rapidly after a battery-operated miniature car on the boardwalk (estimated 20 mph) she literally wore the pads off her back paws. She’s now in dainty, pink casts for seven days and loving the attention.
In the “petite” canine category (under 10 pounds) is Rita, a miniature pincher, Princess, a silky terrier, and Milly a terrier mix who happens to be a “rescue” whose owner says Milly actually rescued them. In the “aristocratic” canine class is Portia, a white-haired terrier, Ooogie, an imperial Shih Tzu and Carmen, a papillon, a European breed that dates back 700 years (or 4,900 in dog years).
We have two dogs named Teddy, a playful Portuguese water dog and a bashful bischon frias puppy. There’s Raja, a precocious pug puppy, Bella, a stocky staffordshire bull terrier, and a jowly English bulldog, appropriately named Winston.
At the Shores in 1975 no children or pets were allowed. Now we have both and we’re far richer for it. To have kids, so far, you don’t need a note from a doctor. Although, on some summer afternoons, as I’m trying to nap at the pool, and the little darlings in the water are screaming “Marco Polo!” I confess the thought has crossed my mind.
When he isn’t walking Oscar, or vice versa, Jack can be reached at Jackneworth@yahoo.com.