Monday, May 26, 2014

Chapter 39 – There is a God

It was now Wednesday, March 11 and Donna was looking like a woman who swallowed an inflated beach ball. She was already five days passed her due date and we had tried everything we knew and told about inducing labor. Exercise, garlic pizzas, Balsamic vinegar salad dressing, you name it, we tried it. We went down to the driving range in Van Nuys after eating a falafel at the local Greek place. Donna tried her hand at hitting a few shots with my nine-iron. It was truly a sight to behold watching her swiping at the ball not being able to see over her protruding belly—she missed each shot swinging the club nearly a foot over the golf ball. Exasperated and frustrated, we went home.
That night she thought she was experiencing some pains in her uterus. Was she going into labor? Her water hadn’t broken yet and this was our first child so we didn’t know what to expect. She called her mum in Scotland and then talked to my mother. They advised her to ride it out the rest of the night but if the pains became regular, she should go to the hospital. She paced and moaned to herself all night long. I felt so helpless wishing there was something I could do to help her. She really couldn’t drink and sex was out of the question so I slept in hourly intervals. The next morning we were both exhausted and by six o’clock on we watched the clock waiting for the sun to rise. I made her some breakfast but she was too agitated to eat. We decided to wait until after the morning rush hour traffic and then go down to Centinela Hospital to visit with her OB/GYN, Dr. Von Dippe (that rhymes with trippy). I stuffed her into the TR-6 and drove the coast route to Inglewood and got there around ten AM. After an hour or so they told her she was not in labor and sent us home saying if anything changed or became urgent to return.
“I canny believe it,” she said. “I thought for sure I was in labor.”
“I guess they know best. Maybe we should wait until your water breaks and then rush back. But I scared that it might be cutting it too close. Do you think we should get a hotel room around here somewhere?”
“I’m not going to spend a hundred bucks on a hotel when we live less than an hour away,” she said in her typical defiant Scottishness.
“I just hope there isn’t a lot of traffic when, you know, it happens for real.”
“It seems real enough to me the now.”
At around two or three in the afternoon I was shocked to see a puddle of water surrounding her bare feet. Her water had broken. We got our things together (her suitcase and my coaches bag) and this time we took the Nissan so she could have plenty of room to stretch out. She was huffing and puffing all the way there and I had visions of pulling over on the 405 and having to deliver our baby on the shoulder. We made it to the hospital around four and they rushed her into the waiting room. It seems like an oxymoron to be rushed into waiting, but that’s what it was. While I filled out all the paperwork she was being examined. She was seven centimeters dilated. It was definitely going to happen soon.
She was taken into a semi-private room, one she shared with an African-American girl about fourteen years old who was also in labor. It was sad because there was nobody else around to help this poor girl with her pregnancy. By nine o’clock Donna was starting to progress, but slowly. I kept a constant supply of ginger ale and ice chips while she cursed me every time a contraction hit. I, after all, was the one who got her into this condition. She was eight centimeters by midnight. It was now Friday, the thirteenth of March and I knew the baby, probably a boy, was gonna be born on this day of superstition. There was even a movie with that title. I sort of liked the idea of the baby being born on a “special day” and if he or she was healthy I would always love Friday the Thirteenth and honor its very existence.
By two a.m. She was a full ten centimeters dilated.
“Breathe honey,” I said trying to encourage her to relax.
“What the hell do you think I’m doing, swimming the channel?”
“Do you want the shot?” I asked thinking that maybe an epidural might make things easier for her. I asked the nurse but she then told me that it was too far progressed for an epidural. She was going to have to go the natural way. Dr. Von Dippe had finally entered the birthing room a little after two. I wondered what had taken him so long but then realized that most of these guys wait until the last minute to make their appearance like the main act at a rock concert. They let the nurses do all the hard work while they breeze in and steal the show. I hope there wasn’t gonna be an encore. Twins would be too much, but I could think of worse—triplets
Her contractions were now a minute apart and that’s when I heard the doctor instruct her to push. Donna was screaming like a woman possessed. I don’t think I could handle what seemed to me like excruciating pain, but she was doing fine—great. Torn between panic and euphoria as I leaned in, I saw the head crowning. Then the doctor instructed her to give one last big push. The baby’s head was out and it looked like the shape of a giant pill—so oblong and stretched out of proportion. By two-thirty a.m. on March 13, 1992, Jonathan Brewster Haymer made his first appearance to the world’s stage. He offered the scissors to me and I cut the cord. I was beyond happy. He looked beautiful.  His head resumed a more normal shape as the doctor weighed and measure him at nine pounds ten ounces and 21 inches. He then handed him to Donna who cradled him in her arms. We both cried as Jonathan rested silently against his mother’s breast. I was leaning in the positive direction of believing that God was a reality. The miracle of birth couldn’t just happen by chance—no way.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Chapter 38 – Something’s Growing Inside

Life of Santa Lucia was serene, hectic, calming and nerve racking all at the same time. Universal Data Supply’s new headquarters in the West Valley meant that I could no longer service my local Hollywood customers as easily. One of them was Entertainment Tonight, the company where my sister, Susan, worked and she had gotten me that account years earlier. I think I must have made fifty thousand dollars off of that one account—thanks Susan—you’re the best sister I have, even if you are the only one.
The middle bedroom was my new office, recording studio and the place where I practiced my new, red MSA Supersustain pedal steel guitar. I was getting pretty good and diligently learning new things by studying the cassette tapes by Paul Franklin, Buddy Emmons and Jeff Newman I would get in the mail. It was time to take my knowledge to the next level; I looked for a country band to add my skills. I saw an ad in the Music Connection or one of the local papers (in the days before the internet became a mainstay) and found a band called The Jeffrey James Band. They were a bunch of twenty-something rednecks from Texas. Before that I had hooked up with another poser country band called Platte River Crossing. They thought they were the best thing to happen since sliced cheese but they weren’t half as good as they thought they were and were a bunch of assholes. For short, they were dubbed, PRC—I called them “the pricks”. That didn’t last long so I was off to the next—The JJB. I had no acronym for them—I guess I could have called them the jujubees, but it didn’t fit.
Donna was still driving her red, TR-6 to Centinela Hospital in Inglewood but had found a much more pleasant route, even though it took her more than an hour to get there. She would take the ten mile stretch of Topanga Canyon to the ocean, turn left and wind her way through Santa Monica, Venice, toward the airport and make a left on Manchester. I, on the other hand never left the house except to walk Bridget and Ginger at the rustic part of Mulholland Drive east of Topanga. It was a dirt road that backed up to quaint homes; one in particular had the most intricate rock garden that incorporated some of the strangest knick knacks and bric-a-brac I had ever seen. Donna and I would take that walk every weekend which would amount to about two or three miles.
By August 1991, Donna was having morning sickness and was just beginning to show. What is it about pregnant women? They look so beautiful with a natural glow and aura—I thought she looked amazing. Even though she was as sick as a dog, she kept on working. Scottish work ethic—she’s a good lass—the best! Around that time, Donna and I drove down to Centinela Hospital for her first ultrasound. I really didn’t know what I was looking at when the nurse pointed out that a healthy baby was growing nicely. Staring at the monitors that showed what was going on inside Donna’s uterus, I thought it looked more like a lava lamp from the sixties and I could hardly believe there was really a baby in there. somewhere. The second ultrasound at four months, the same nurse asked us if we wanted to know the sex of the baby.
“You can tell already?” I asked.
“It’s all right there, if you know what to look for,” she said.
Donna and I decided that we would rather be surprised, but I thought to myself that if there was something to see, it was most likely a boy since a willie would be more prominent than the female thing. But what the hell did I know—I was only guessing; although I had a feeling I was right.
I couldn’t really fit my pedal steel and amp in my Austin Healey or my Tr-250 so I bought a 1974 Ford LTD in a rusted coffee color from Paul Downing for $300. It was a gas eating hog. I had a gig in Simi Valley as a solo act in a seedy bar called The Main Office while I rehearsed with JJB in their garage in Van Nuys. Jeffrey James (who sang and played guitar) and his bass player and drummer were gigantic—all well over six foot six. Not only that, they wore cowboy boots and ten gallon hats. I’m about five foot eight and wore flat shoes since I couldn’t maneuver the pedals on my steel in heels. I felt like Danny De Vito next to those guys but at least I was sitting down. We secured a gig at a place in Canyon Country called The Buffalo Chip—a fitting name. The place looked like a dried out turd.
Every night before I went to the gig Donna would recite her checklist. “You got your picks, your bar, you’re cables, extra strings, your tuner, gas for the hog,” on and on and on. I never did forget a thing with her to back me up. After the hog blew a piston rod on the 118 freeway, my days at the Main Office had come to an end. I managed to get all my gear in the Nissan and continued with JJB for about four or five months. I just couldn’t take it anymore—that redneck thing wore me down and they all began drinking and doing hard drugs becoming more and undependable. At least I didn’t have to hear Rocky Top again (until I moved to Tennessee—their national anthem).
We never made enough money to cover the phone bills. The straw that broke the camels back with The Jeffrey James Band was this: One of the band members had a girlfriend who was a moose of a woman. She had to be at least six foot two and weighed in at two hundred if she was a pound. She always gave me a hard time. Maybe it was because I was from New York and nobody from New York should be allowed to play country music, or so she thought. I think down deep she had a crush on me. I was wearing a shirt that used to belong to my father from a show he did called, The Couch. It was a white bowling shirt with black geometric shapes that made it look like a leopard skin from a distance. I could still smell my late father’s sweat and greasepaint even thought the shirt had been washed dozens of times since he last wore it. The fool of a girl began chasing me around my pedal steel like it was some kind of twisted game of hide and seek. I was in no mood for it at all. She reached over my steel and grabbed me by the shirt and tore it to shreds. I was devastated. I packed up my gear and left never to return.
In mid December we decided to take a trip up north. We visited Hearst’s Castle and San Francisco. We saw all the sights, the Fisherman’s Wharf, Haight Street, Golden Gate Park, and had some of the best Chinese Food ever. Donna was definitely showing now as we hiked up Mt. Tamalpais in Marin County which is a part of the John Muir Woods. The steep and narrow path up that mountain was exhausting. I don’t know how in the world she was able to keep going but she was a real trooper and somehow plodded along with me step for step. I thought back to the time my father was playing in a show called Flower Drum Song in San Francisco and we had rented a house in Tiburon for the summer of 1962. I remember when I went to school there for the last month of the year I was referred to as the dark haired kid since all the other kids had blonde hair and blue eyes.
While my dad was rehearsing in town, my mother had decided it would be fun to do a little sightseeing in Marin County. She was driving a 1953 Buick Roadmaster coupe that was a monster of a car. My mom was less than five feet tall and had to prop herself up on pillows just to see over the steering wheel and dashboard. We were driving up a curvy mountainous road with no place to turn around. She was beginning to panic as we climbed higher and higher. My sister was up front next to my mom and she decided to climb in the back with my, brother and me. Robbie was six years old at the time and was scared to death. He began to whimper. There was a song that Susan and I had learned in camp called Down the Mountainside and, just to taunt Robbie she began to sing. I joined in. Down the mountainside we go oo we a oo we oh. Where will end up no one knows oo we a oo we oh.
“Stop that singing, your both driving me crazy,” Mom shrieked from the driver’s seat. We kept singing and Robbie was crying full force. It was an innocent teasing but we had no idea how panicked my mom really was. Hey, we were kids and you always think your parents can handle any situation that comes up. After all, they’re grown ups. We finally reached the top of the mountain and saw a turn off. It was Mt. Tam. As we crawled down the narrow mountain road we could hear the sound of gravel and loose dirt on the tires. Now we all started to get nervous. Would we spin out and fly off the mountain and not even get to see our father’s performance? We made it at last to the bottom and my mom pulled over with a sigh of relief.
Now almost thirty years later, Donna (who was now six months pregnant) and I were hiking up the interior trails of the same mountain. Waddling her way up the rocky terrain she was panting and sweating and I didn’t think she could make it any further. I made her sit down and rest. I hoped I wouldn’t have to carry her down the mountain, but after half an hour or so, she regained her strength and we made it to the top. It was so beautiful and I was so proud of my steadfast wife who was able to reach the top in her condition. What a trooper! Scottish women are a tough breed.
Just after New Year’s 1992, we dedicated the rest of the pregnancy to fixing up the baby’s room. We covered the wood floor with an area rug and prepared the walls for a new coat of paint. Since we still didn’t know for sure if it was a boy or a girl (we didn’t care as long as it was healthy) we didn’t paint it pink or blue—we decided on neutral colors— white with a yellow trim and a border with little rocking horses. We had my nephew, Max’s white baby crib and matching rocking chair, generously donated by my brother and sister-in-law. We were going to be parents soon. OHMYGOD!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Chapter 37 – Lover’s Paradise

In June of 1991, we were getting ready to celebrate our first wedding anniversary and we wanted to do it in style. My good friend Chas just happened to have a house in Kauai, Hawaii in the quaint little village of Princeville. Good old Chas offered to let us stay in this wonderful little cottage while he was out in gallivanting around either in L.A. or New York. He would be there, he said, for the first day or so, and then he would leave us to our own marital devices. It was the nicest thing anyone ever had done for me in the thirty seven years of my life. I knew there had to be a catch.
We flew into Honolulu International Airport on the seventh of June and then boarded a small aircraft to the Lihue Airport in Kauai. I was scared out of my wits. I hate small planes and honestly I am not a fan of large aircraft either. The worst parts for me were the take-offs and landings; other than that I’m okay. Before we boarded our jet in Los Angeles, I realized I was wearing the Buddy Holly t-shirt I bought in New York when we went to the play of the same name. I panicked; I had to change my shirt and was even sorry I brought the damn thing with me. After all, Holly went down in a small plane over Clear Lake, Iowa forty plus years earlier. I know, I’m a superstitious person but I didn’t want to tempt fate—the t-shirt was coming off. I went into the men’s room and changed. I almost threw the shirt into the trash, but I figured as long as I wasn’t wearing it I would be safe.
I guess the costume change did the trick since we landed safely in Honolulu and even though the small plane was bumpy, the ride was short and we made it safely. Upon exiting out the jet, I thought it was probably the most beautiful place I had ever seen, and I hadn’t even checked out the ocean and beaches yet. Donna was so pleased when we entered the house and saw the modern white kitchen with brown and tan tiles. It had walnut cabinets, microwave oven, and side by side refrigerator—the place was immaculate. We put our things away in the bedroom then took a long walk on the beach.
We rented a yellow Jeep Wrangler with black pin stripes and were able to tour the island at out leisure. Gas was less than a buck fifty then so we could go as far as the island would take us. We thought we’d so a little adventuring and went down to the craggy Na Pali Coast which I was told was a very special place. The pali, or cliffs, provide a rugged grandeur of deep, narrow valleys ending abruptly at the sea. Waterfalls and swift flowing streams continue to cut these narrow valleys while the sea carves cliffs at their mouths. Extensive stone walled terraces can still be found on the valley bottoms where Hawaiians once lived and cultivated taro. It was all it was cracked up to be and more. I was entranced by seeing the mountain peak where the movie Bali High was filmed—too beautiful for words to describe. As we continued our long hike,  I remembered feeling like Daniel Boone in Pitlochry, but now I was more like Captain Cook as I leaned over the extremely high precipices that dropped more than five hundred feet into rugged and sharp crevices and ravines.  I then remembered that Cook was he was killed in Hawaii and I didn’t wish to share his fate. He was attacked by and angry group of King Kalaniopuu’s men and I reminded myself not to piss off any of the natives. “Like beef or what Haole boy?” I promised Donna I would be good and I later took her to the nicest restaurants in Hanalei, the closest town. A great start to a great anniversary.

The next day we booked a tee time for two at the Prince Course in Hanalei near Princeville. It was designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr. who integrated the wild beauty of the north shore taking advantage of wilderness areas, the dramatic coastline and natural waterfalls on three or more of the holes. I’m glad we not only had clubs but a camera as well. Even at ninety dollars a pop, it was well worth it.

That night we met Chas and his friend Alan, who was a singer and guitar player in the lounge of the restaurant in Hanalei. Chas got up and did a few songs and I went over some of my lyrics in my head in case I was asked to sit it. I wasn’t asked. Not enough hit records I guess.
We did the usual tourist thing and visited Fern Grotto or as I liked to call it, “The Grotty Fern” since it wasn’t quite as beautiful as we had hoped it would be and it kind of looked and smelled of swamp water. We boarded a small boat and the tour guide pointed out all these upside-down ferns growing right out of the lava rocks while he sang Hawaiian songs. It was very romantic in a Disneyland sort of way. We also toured the Spreckles Sugar Plantation and picked wildflowers along the palm and coconut tree lined dirt trails with songs of the Kauai Amakihi and the warbling Puaiohi serenading us overhead. I took a picture of Donna with a bouquet of gardenias and she never looked more beautiful. I was in total and complete love with her. I still am, by the way.

After that, we decided to explore the inner parts of the island and found the wettest place on the planet earth—Waialeale. The mountain, at an elevation of 5,148 feet (1,569 m), averages more than 452 inches of rain a year. I’m glad we didn’t decide to get the Jeep washed before we ventured out. On our way off the mountain we decided to see if we could find a back way home to Hanalei instead of turning around and going the way we came. Big mistake! We almost got lost while jeeping on the back roads. I figured, Kauai being an island, there was no way we could ever really get lost—but I almost managed to do it since we drove around for almost six hours before crawling along on some of the roughest terrain I had ever seen in my life. I felt like I was Michael Douglas and Donna was Kathleen Turner in Romancing the Stone. We were literally going less than five miles per hour having to avoid pot holes and boulders the size of grizzly bears not knowing how far we had left to go until we hit civilization again. Our gas tank was on empty for the last twenty-five miles before we found the main road again and a mile later, mercifully, there was a gas station. I didn’t know such a small island could be so big.
On June 9th, our official anniversary we decided to revisit the Na Pali trail. It was an extraordinarily hot day so by the time we made it down to the beach we raced each other int0 the ocean. Oh, I can’t tell you how wonderful it felt to immerse my body in that cool water then ride the six foot swells back to the shore. Donna stayed close to the shallow water, even though she is a gifted swimmer; she is not one for daredevil bodysurfing antics. Me, on the other hand, grew up on the rip tides of Santa Monica Beach and was a fairly good bodysurfer, if I do say so myself. The sun was going down and we knew it was time to leave the paradise behind and continue our celebration.
Back at the house, we made some margaritas and watched the last of the orange and purple rays of afterglow recede into darkness. We went upstairs, showered, and then made love beneath the cool, blue satin sheets. It was the best ever, not only because it was passionate, but it was spiritual too. I looked in her eyes below mine and I felt like crying—this had never happened to me before. Afterwards while we were lying in post coital bliss with my arms gently caressing her soon to be bronzed skin, I told her that we just made a baby. She said, “How can you be so sure?”
“I just felt it. You know me with my feelings, I’m very seldom wrong when I feel things as strongly as that.”

 Two days later we left the lover’s paradise and headed back to Los Angeles to get back to normal life again. Donna says that life with me could never be normal. I tend to agree. But now things were going to be even more abnormal because in nine months a new member of the family would appear. Would it be a boy or a girl? Yes it would.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Chapter 36 – Santa Lucia

Married life was blissful, chaotic, compromising, funny, serious and most of all the best decision I had made since buying my first guitar. Donna was driving the TR-6 I had semi-restored from Vine Street to Inglewood five days a week and the only time she ever broke down I had to drive down to Baldwin Hills to rescue her in the fall of 1990. I popped open  the bonnet and gave it a once over. Then I saw the trouble—the coil wire came loose and  all I had to do was stick it back in and she was on the road again. What a great car that was.
The gig at The Boathouse had run its course and the band eventually broke up. I was still working at home doing the Universal Data Supply selling typewriter ribbons and lift off tape but now the world of the written word was changing. Word Processors and computer printers were taking over and the job became much more complex. I had to learn a whole new slew of products. The laser printer was coming into fashion and the big thing now was to have them refilled; it was half the price of a new cartridge and it complied with the idea of waste not want not— I was now in the recycling business. Still, I spent most of my time locked away in my studio learning how to play the pedal steel guitar and, of course, writing and recording my songs. At that time a had a Fostex four track cassette recorder but it was getting a little funky so I made the plunge and bought an eight track, reel to reel tape machine—I think it was also a Fostex. I also purchased Richard Sandford’s old Studiomaster console that his surviving brother, Chas, was selling. It was five hundred bucks. With my guitars, bass, drum machine and pedal steel, I was a one man band.
All work and no play was making Jack a dull boy, as Stephen King’s character Jack Torrance from The Shining had revamped, so I knew it was time to get away. Donna hadn’t had a day off since our honeymoon and the Christmas holidays were rapidly approaching. My sister came through big-time. She had a friend, Paulette Douglas, who shared a flat on the upper west side of Manhattan with her boyfriend or fiancĂ© Woody. They were going to be out of town for the holidays and Susan arranged for us to apartment sit for a week or ten days. All we had to do was come up with the plane fare and enough cash to see a show or two and sample the wonderful New York City cuisine. We knew the food was going to be expensive, but the amount of money we were saving by not having to book a hotel was enormous. It was too good to pass up.
We left L.A. a day or two after Christmas and planned to spend New Years in the Big Apple. I hate crowds, so I knew Times Square was going to be out of the question, but we would figure something out—probably go bar hopping or watch the tumult from our apartment window on 72nd between Alexander and Columbus Avenues. At the time, Ray’s Pizza was still one of the best places to get a few slices. God how I missed good old New York pizza—there’s nothing else like it anywhere! Maybe it’s the sauce or the thin crust, but it had to be the water that made it so unique. My favorite thing to do there is walk. Walk and walk and look at the people and the store windows and of course the museums. So much to do and so little time. We did catch one Broadway show, Buddy, which was a musical about the life of one of my favorite singer/songwriter’s of all time—Buddy Holly. It was so good to hear those songs come alive again that I even bought the t-shirt. I was surprised that Donna had heard of Buddy Holly but then I remembered that Holly had a huge following in Britain and she told me her mum and dad used to listed to his music all the time. In fact, Olive and David Smollett had actually seen The Beatles (who were also big Holly fans) perform live in Scotland back in 1962 in Kirkcaldy.
Donna’s has a cousin, Alastair, who had a nice house in Morristown, New Jersey that he shared with his wife, Corrine, a wee Asian woman from the island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean. Alistair looked a lot like John Lennon, so I liked him right away. We spent a the day before New Year’s hiking the back trails of some state park, the name of which escapes me at the moment, but I never knew New Jersey had such lovely terrain. It was like being in the wilderness—not a car, house or any semblance of civilization in sight. By the time we got back to the house we were dead on out feet so we were asked if we wanted to hang out there for New Year’s Eve. Why not? It’s as good a place as any, and watching the ball drop at Times Square on television was fine and dandy with me. We would be with good company and far away from the madding crowds eating Chinese food and drinking champagne. It was now 1991 and we were officially in the nineties now.
Being back in L.A. was a bit of a letdown. You know how it is after a vacation, the mundane day to day life is chore and the apartment on Vine Street seemed too small now for us. Not only that, we had received a notice that the rent was going to be increased to over eleven hundred dollars a month. Outrageous—for a 600 square foot apartment—it was definitely time to move. My mom was still dabbling in the real estate biz and had suggested that instead of renting again, to buy a house. We had saved some money between the two of us (I had some of the insurance money from my father’s estate), so we began the search for our first home together. We figured we couldn’t afford the west side and the San Fernando Valley, even though the idea of living where the temperature was always at least ten to twenty degrees hotter in the summer would be our best bet.
My mom suggested a realtor, James Gary and Associates, since she had some previous dealing with that company. We had narrowed our search to the west valley, primarily Woodland Hills. The two real estate agents, Debbie and Nancy, were a couple of savvy women who seemed to know the area well and they were very helpful. The first house we saw was a darling little three bedroom bungalow with a pool and beautiful red rose bushes by the front door. It had parquet wooden floors, a fireplace in the living room and a nice size kitchen with all the appliances you would need and the master bedroom had French doors that open up to reveal a huge pool surrounded by twenty foot high hedges and a two car garage. I was ready to make an offer right then and there but Donna convinced me to keep looking. You never pick the first house without checking out some comparables, do you? I agreed to keep looking but I had a feeling about that house on Santa Lucia. It just seemed right to me and I knew we would be happy there—a good place to start a family.
Debbie and Nancy drove us around the area in their air conditioned Mercedes as the search continued. We must have looked at least a dozen places and I was getting irritable and worn out but Donna kept plodding along trying to convince me that we were covering all of our bases and not to make a rash decision (rash decisions were my specialty). I kept thinking about the house on Santa Lucia, and even though it was the first house we looked at, I knew it was the one. It was. We made an offer and the wheeling and dealing began. The offer was accepted. I was shocked and Donna was nervous.
The funny thing was, all three of the Haymer children were now homeowners while Johnny and Helyn, even though Mom was in the real estate biz, never owned a home. They always rented. I guess it was that actor’s mentality, never get too tied down in case you had to leave town in a hurry. They did purchase one house, the one my dad bought with his brother, Ellis near Pico and Doheny. That house was purely an investment and neither of them ever lived there. They were landlords so it really doesn’t count. But Donna and I were buying our first house—a Shangri-la—a lover’s paradise. YES, YES, YES!