Shortly after my mother received her diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, my parents sold their retirement house in the golden foothills of California and, to be nearer my brother, moved into an assisted living facility in San Jose. For Ruth and Clint, the place had a lot to offer: excellent meals, live concerts in the rec room and a professional staff that couldn’t have been more sensitive. The front-desk receptionist’s title was director of first impressions.
I was initially surprised to find The Artist and The Descendants running neck-and-neck for best picture at Sunday’s Oscar ceremony. Not that they aren’t worthy of the gold statuette. What I found curious is that the over-50 Oscar voters didn’t seem to be going for War Horse. It is, after all, the sort of movie that made a big impression on us as kids.
I spent almost a decade at People magazine in New York in the 1980s, interviewing countless stars, from Cher to Butterfly McQueen. I cannot post these articles as they, like Butterfly, are gone with the wind. I did find this one, though, with the outrageous Sylvia Miles.
Goldie had been in the shelter for more than two months. Despite her runway looks – short golden coat, long snout, Cleopatra-lined eyes and athletic build – no one had adopted her. “She’s very sensitive and isn’t eating. If you don’t take her, she’s going to die soon,” a shelter volunteer told me.
The high-pitched yelping of an injured animal filled the late afternoon air. My heart stood still. I knew something terrible had happened to my dog, Goldie.
I charged into the woods, running through prickly vines and over crunchy leaves. When I spotted Goldie, she was lying on her side next to a fallen birch tree.