With Jane and Steve Ackerman

Jane and Steve Ackerman gave a dinner party Monday night to raise funds for several literacy programs at the L.A. Library. My stepmother, Shirlee, is involved in this effort and she’s the one who asked me to be the author-of-honor which meant my speaking about my book after the main course. Except for Shirlee, I didn’t know anyone there but had a really good time. And I love libraries and literacy programs ever since I made “Stanley and Iris” with Robert de Niro. I taught him to read in that film.

First, there were a few people at the party who, like me, grew up in L.A. in the 40s-50s and remember what it was like pre-freeway, pre-smog, when there were plenty of fields and empty lots, a trolley (The Red Car) that carried people from downtown to the beach. When the San Fernando Valley, now wall-to-wall buildings, was a valley of citrus and avocado orchards and dusty horse corrals and tumble weed. My uncle had a gas station there back then and I remember it well. A small road through a tunnel was the only way to get to the valley and it was a trek. I love reminising with people about those days–something my children will never know. There were no restaurant chains then and few buildings over 2 stories and what is now Century City was the Fox Studio’s back lot where my dad made films like “Grapes of Wrath”. I could go on and on.

Back to the Ackerman’s: their house was pure loveliness and charm. The food light and delicious and, we were told, from a new cookbook by Betsy Bloomingdale…who knew!!!

Then there was their 2-year-old maltese named Frankie who I took a real shine to. I am considering changing Tulea’s cut to more like Frankie’s.

Ackerman Dog Frankie

At dinner I sat next to the host, Steve Ackerman, who was a Yalie. I told him my first 3 boyfriends were Yalies and he said, “yes, I know, I was in the same fraternity as Goey!!” I bout fainted. Goey was our nickname for James Franciscus (of Dr Novak fame), my first love. My 2nd love was a spaniard, Jose di Vicuna, who Steve is still in touch with and when I mentioned my old beau, Sabin Robbins Jr., Steve knew all about him too: “Sure,” he said,”Robbie was on the Yale swim team and was in the Whiffenpoofs (the famous Yale singing group)”
All and all, we had a grand old time.

Just got back from Chicago where I taped the Rosie O’Donnell Show in Oprah’s old studio. It was great seeing Rosie again and so happy for the response to her new show.

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