Months To Years Spring 2018 Months To Years Spring 2018 - Page 9

Let’s Pretend by Loren Stephens I did not believe in God or Heaven the summer that my Noel Coward, made for a strange atmospheric cocktail. father got sick, so I had no one to pray to, and my family My favorite part of the house was the back porch which was not about to start talking about “it” so I was pretty stretched end to end.  It had gingerbread trim (a nod to much on my own when it came to comfort, courage and its Victorian roots), a generous overhang made by the crying.   second floor, and a black and white terrazzo floor that in its heyday must have been glorious for dancing the My mother simply went into action, making plans for foxtrot and the quickstep.  It was cool even on the hottest my father’s recovery.  She decided that a country house summer days. Beds of heirloom roses festooned the rolling would be good therapy, especially one with a swimming lawn: Duchess de Brabant, Madame Antoine Marie, and pool and some sort of a nice view, other than 70th Street the dark Crepuscule all gave off a heady perfume. There and Fifth Avenue where my parents lived the rest of the were over 300 rose bushes, and I’d clip a few flowers early year.  Oh, happiness, when she learned that Helen Hayes in the morning and stick them willy-nilly in vases on the wanted to rent us Pretty Penny, her 17-room Victorian porch and in the enormous living room with its overstuffed mansion that sat on a hillside overlooking the Hudson slipcovered chairs. Beyond the porch was a heated, River outside Nyack.  Miss Hayes did not want the house Olympic-size swimming pool and cabana. The tennis empty and welcomed us as good custodians of her court had gone to seed, but my father, usually craving lifetime of Broadway treasures and family memories: the a competitive game with one of his pals, wasn’t playing wheelchair from Victoria Regina, the Tony Awards and the tennis that summer.  stage sets which she used as wallpaper for the octagonal dining room.   At dusk I’d sit on the porch with a book in my hand waiting for my father to come home from work. In the Walking through the house there was an air of sadness background “Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club about it – her daughter, Mary, had died of polio there at Band,” played over and over again on the record player: 18, which when mixed with the legends of gay parties with “Picture yourself in a boat on a river / With tangerine 9