Trouble and Strife
A napkin worth a thousand love letters
Three months later, I received a letter from Sally Myers. I had given my address to her on a napkin from the Kings Road pizzeria, and she kept it safe. Now knowing Sally for 47 years her keeping of the napkin was in itself a miracle.
An abundant exchange of letters began almost on a daily basis for another 3 months into the summer of 71. I have kept her letters to this day. They are now battered and weathered having been invaded by spiders and vermin in a number of sheds and attics.
My letters to Sally Myers were somehow lost years ago but the survival of that pizzeria napkin is worth a thousand love letters.
This was the year Sara graduated and like most American college students she spent that Summer working in restaurants at the beach, in her case, Ocean City Maryland.
I had a British girlfriend at the time and we were committed weekend hippies into a certain amount of communal living. I shared a flat in Blackheath, wore an old ladies double breasted coat preceding Brian Eno's gender bending attire.
As my exchange of letters with Sally Myers blossomed . I moved to Wimbledon sharing a flat with Graham, a work mate.
We both worked just off Grosverner Square more or less adjacent to the US embassy.
Brian Colghoun and Partners were a firm of consulting engineers with lucrative contracts in the middle East. They had a small architect's department where my proudest claim is the design of the first ever public toilets in Abu Dhabi.
My Office was on the 5th floor of a formerly exclusive residence,
a 5 storey Georgian Mayfair residence, with no lift.
A further flight of steps and I was on the roof where I frequently got up close to Georgian chimney stacks. One afternoon from that rooftop I had the pleasure of hearing the Beatles perform Get Back on the nearby roof of the Apple HQ in Saville Row.
In the same week I saw John Lennon's controversial art show in Bond Street, and purchased 2 copies of Yoko's book Grapefruit signed by John and Yoko following their legendary signings in Selfridges, Oxford Street, where I would normally buy my lunch.
One lunchtime I returned to the office from Selfridges, lunch in hand, and there I found an unannounced Sara Myers, the author of the love letters, a gal I thought I would never see again, and who I had not seen since she waved goodbye out of the rear window of the black cab six months earlier.
The gift of my lifetime, Sally Myers , arrived that one magic lunchtime .
I abandoned my job for the rest of the day and we took off in no particular direction. With no apparent logic, we took a memorable Thames walk between Richmond Bridge and Kingston upon Thames where I spent my formative years. This would be a walk I had never made before nor since.
With a permanent grin I invented nonsensical stories about what we passed, naming ducks, and yuppies, all the while never taking my eye off that beguiling smile of Sally Myers.
I was so overcome with pleasure I welled-up and showed my vulnerable side.
"It's OK," Sally reassured me.
"Are you gay.?"