Date:         Sun, 6 Aug 1995 13:48:38 EDT
From: gilbertsmith <>
Subject:      WHTMITTC 1
To: Multiple recipients of list WORDS-L <>


After leaving on Thursday at 1 p.m. and returning Saturday 7:30 p.m.
to 488 messages from wordslers, and after reading a *selection* of
them and deleting the rest, being convinced that I have things of at
at least as much interest to say,  what follows is the true and
accurate narrative of an adventure.

1)  So, I cannot decide whether I *really* want to go to Winston-
Salem to see Della Reese at the Black Theater Festival, or to see
pkuritz and Della, or to see p and Della and some woman do a one-
woman show about Alberta Hunter, or just stay home and throw away
some more <trash>, after the twenty big leaf bags full I have already
discarded.  I cannot decide, so I turn to my trusted analyst for help.
After some discussions of what is wrong with me and why I can't just
go off and have fun, I get in the car and drive away.

2)  Previous correspondence with p reveals that he is to be lodged at
the InnKeeper Downtown, and I have a reservation at the other
InnKeeper, since my favorite motel was full and the Downtown has no
pool.  One of the primary reasons for this trip is to ftf with p;
another is to see Della; another is to lie by the pool in the hot sun
all afternoon and all morning.

3)  After a strenuous drive along I-85, I arrive in W-S at 2:45 and
find the InnKeeper, average, slightly low-rent motel with a pool high
on a hill above the registration office.  I secure the room, call the
InnKeeper Downtown to let p know that I really did come and that we
should <do> barbeque at 5:30:  My conversation with the desk clerk,
as follows:

ME:     Can you tell me please, has Mr. Paul Kurwitz from Maine
DK:     Who?
ME:     Mr. Kurwitz,  K-u-r-w-i-t-z, or maybe it's v-i-t-z, not sure.
        From Maine.
DK:     No.
ME:     No?  No, what?  He hasnt arrived?
DK:     You're spelling it wrong.
ME:     What?  Well, it's like w-i-t-z, or v-i-t-z....
DK:     Paul?
ME:     Yes, Paul.
DK:     He's not here.
ME:     Does he have a reservation for tonight?
DK:     Yes, but you're spelling it wrong.
ME:     Sorry.  Tell him that *gib*  : g-i-b : will meet him for
        barbeque at 5:30 and that I am at the *other* Innkeeper.
DK:     What's the name?
ME:     gib.  g-i-b.  Please spell it right.
DK:     I'll tell him.  But it's K-u-r-i-t-z.
ME:     I think you have it wrong, but thanks.

I hang up, quickly take a <pee> and then put on pool outfit and walk
up the hill to the pool.  Sign on gate reads:  For Registered Guests
Only.  I try the gate.  Locked.  No one in the pool.  Two
housekeeping people are struggling up the hill with a bin of dirty

ME:     Can you tell me why the gate is locked?
HP:     They're working on it.  It's closed.
ME:     It's *closed*????
HP:     Yes, it's closed.

I am furious.  I head for the registration desk.  Ready for a
confrontation.  The description of this place in the AAA book clearly
says:  "pool"...  I want pool.  In my wildest dreams do I imagine
what happens next.

Date:         Sun, 6 Aug 1995 14:10:57 EDT
From: gilbertsmith <>
Subject:      WHTMITTC 2
To: Multiple recipients of list WORDS-L <>


4)  So I walk into the lobby and see several people at the front
counter, waiting.  I walk up and wait to be served.  Registration
woman says:

RW:     May I help you.
ME:     (breathing heavily by now and speaking loudly so other
        potential customers will be warned about the facilities)  I
        see that your pool is closed.
RW:     Yes.  It is closed.
ME:     The only reason I decided to stay here was to lie by the
        pool and swim.  And now (breathing more heavily, getting
        upset) I find that your pool is closed.
RW:     They're working on it.  It's closed.
ME:     Well, I never.  Do you know if the Innkeeper Downtown has any
        rooms available?
RW:     The other one?  Why?
ME:     Because I want a pool.
RW:     They have rooms but they don't have a pool.
ME:     Oh.
MY LEFT:  So, you want a pool?
ME:     (Suddenly really mad, turning to confront this intruder on
        my private life)  Yeah, I want a pool.

I turn and look at him and there he is:  p.!!

ME:     What are you doing here?
P:      I saw a sign for the Innkeeper on the interstate, but I think
        I'm at the wrong one.

So, through this most amazing of coincidences, we talk and arrange
supper and the RW calls the other Innkeeper to be sure there is a
reservation for him.  Then, I complain some more to paul, wondering
what to do.  He goes off and I go back to my room.  What do I do?
Make a decision?  Phone the analyst?  Take matters in my own hands?
I get in the car.

5)      I drive to the Kings Inn just down the road, but on an
impulse drive inside the grounds to look at the pool.  Nice pool.  No
water.  What *is* *this*?  Nobody's pool works.  It is now 3:30.
I get back on the expressway and drive until I see another motel.
Get off, find it... Nice Comfort Inn, nice pool with water, though no
one in it even though the temperature is now at about 95.  I go
inside and have to wait ten minutes while the Desk Person helps some
one else.  Finally.

DP:     May I help you?
ME:     Do you have a room for tonight?
DP:     Yes, we do.
ME:     Does your *pool* work?
DP:     What?
ME:     Does your **pool** *work*?  I've been to three motels
        (exaggerating a bit) with pools that dont work.
DP:     (Laughing).  Well, yes, our pool works.  Even our whirlpool
ME:     Good.  I'll take the room.

I now have two motel rooms for the night.  What would the analyst
tell me to do?  Yes, go back to the other motel, check out, demand my
money back.     If they refuse, pay the money and write letters to the
Home Office and the AAA.  If all else fails, it's only $38.

This is not like me.  Doing this sort of thing.  It is now 3:50 and I
am dying from the heat. Have to ftf with p in 1 hour 40 minutes.
I never.

Date:         Mon, 7 Aug 1995 11:49:33 EDT
From: gilbertsmith <>
Subject:      WHTMITTC 3
To: Multiple recipients of list WORDS-L <>


6)  On the way back to the Innkeeper, I recall the rest of the
conversation between p and the Desk Person:

p:      Will you check to be sure I have a reservation at the other
        Innkeeper, please.
DP:     Yes, (phoning).... Yes, please, do you have a reservation for
        Mr....  uh....
p:      Kuritz.
DP:     ... for Mr.  ... uh... Kuritz.  (to p:) Could you spell that,
p:      K-u-r-i-t-z.

I get back to my Innkeeper room, pack up my stuff, smooth out the bed
where I had sat, picked up the lint from my socks off the floor,
checked the bathroom to be sure it was not obvious that I had <used>
it, and put my stuff in the car.  Looks like no one has been in this
room.  Good.  Back to the registration desk.

ME:     (handing over key):  I just checked in and now your pool
        doesnt work.  I do not want the room.
DP:     What?
ME:     I don't want the room.  I want one with a pool that works.
`       I havent used the room.  Just walked in, went to the pool,
        then went off and found another room somewhere else.

DP disappears in other office for a few minutes, then emerges
carrying my key.  Informs me that she has to go check my room.  I
never in all my life!  Like she thinks I used her bathroom.
Other desk person emerges, trying to be jolly.

ME:     I really think you should inform the guests when they check
        in that the pool doesnt work.
DP:     Well, they are working on the pump so it doesnt work.  I'm
        very sorry.
ME:     I understand, but you could put up a sign: Pool Does Not Work.
DP:     Maybe we should.  Everyone is always so excited about going
        for a swim when they arrive.  Particularly the children.

Other DP returns, gives this one a high sign and they give me my
Mastercard imprint back and send me on my way.  I smart a little at
the implication that I am acting like the <children>, but let it pass.
Finally get *in* the water at the Comfort about 4:40.  Twenty minutes
to cool off, 15 to get ready for barbeque, then 15 to find p at the
Pig Pickin'.  And there he is, eating fried stuffed jalapenos.

7)  We discuss wordslers at length....  the saga of my quest for a
swim... Samson and why he lost his hair...  the twelve tribes of
Israel, each of which got a piece of the man's wife after he chopped
her up.... interrupted occasionally by sweet waitperson who claimed
to have studied Spanish for three years and tried very hard to learn
from me how to pronounce Dos Equis....  After peach cobbler with ice
cream, p went off to sleep and I went to look for Reynolds auditorium
and Della Reese.

8)  And she blew me away.  Wow.   Haven't seen anything like that in
years.  Excellent jazz backup, four dancers cavorting wildly behind
her as she sings "I know he's yore man but he comes to see me
sometimes..."  and "I want you to meet me with yore back draw-urs
own..."   Check her out on _Touched By An Angel_, Saturday nights at
9 eastern....  Her *attitude* as she speaks through the tube reminds
me of how she did her show, telling it like it is about men...  as
she says, while discussing how great men are...  "You have to check
'em sometimes...."

Date:         Mon, 7 Aug 1995 22:39:32 EDT
From: gilbertsmith <>
Subject:      WHTMITTC 4
To: Multiple recipients of list WORDS-L <>


9)  Standing outside Reynolds auditorium, which sits on a high hill
overlooking the skyline of W-S like some country estate (since it was
built by Mrs. RJ in memory of her husband, who, incidentally, was the
first cousin of her mother!), a Black man about 45 beside me and I, a
white man about 57, had the following conversation, inspired by the
view, no doubt.

BM:     This is the third time I been up here this summer.
WM:     Yeah?
BM:     Come up here for a program... my daughter was in a dance, fr'
        Richmond....  third time I've been up here.
WM:     (thinking, this is weird, from Richmond to W-S is *up* here!)
        Is that where you live now?
BM:     What?  Where?  I live down on the south side.
WM:     Of Winston-Salem?
BM:     Yeah.  My daughter she was in that 'richmun program at Mt.

So I go back in and hear some more Della... "My iceman he's a nice
man.....  My meat man he's a sweet man....
But my coal man, he's uh oooole man, he's 82, but he pops somethin'
to me like no young man can do...."     Then downtown to the Radisson
where mobs of Black people are watching African drummers and young
women are dancing wildly to the beat...  The hotel lobby packed with
finely dressed Black people moving to the music...  I stand and gawk
at the scene and wonder at the enormous cultural differences.

10)     Next day, by the pool in the sun, I decide I can't go home
yet and ask if I can stay another day.  Registration Person smiles
and says of course you can...  Then I go in search of the whirlpool
("Of course the pool works... even the whirlpool works...").  I find
it next to the exercise room and the sauna.  Sign on the whirlpool
WORKING ORDER SOON.   Oh well.  I decide to go look at the first
house I owned, havent seen it in several years.

11)  On the way up Reynolda Road, I see the sign for Reynolda House,
the country home built by RJR, the site of the shooting of Smith
Reynolds by his wife,  the showgirl Libby Holman, during a
drunken orgy.  Hoping to actually *see* Robert Stack and Dorothy
Malone, I drive up and pay my $6 and tour the house, now a museum
with what is probably the best collection of American paintings south
of DC.  Robert and Dorothy are not there, but the house is amazing.
And the art collection.  And the staircase, the one Dorothy strolled
up casually dragging her fur stole behind her after coming in from a
night of drinking and screwing around.   The guidewoman, however, is
very evasive when I ask about Robert and Dorothy (aka Smith and
Libby), claiming that no one ever knew what really happened.  When I
confront her about the family tree in the basement, which shows that
RJR married his cousin's daughter, she is even more evasive.  She
does not like to talk about these things, and keeps insisting that
_Written On The Wind_ is not the most reliable version of what

12)  Then a drive up Stratford Road and Kent Road to see the
extraordinary mansions, blocks and blocks of them, totally out of
line for a city this size.  Tobacco and textiles.  Jesus.  What a
place.  I lived here for three years and hardly noticed all this.
Find the old home place and it looks great.  Wish I had kept it
instead of selling the 8 room house and 2 acres of land for $14,500.
In 1965, and that was a $4,500 profit in three years, and that bought
me my first sports car, the Sunbeam Alpine, and a new Volvo station
wagon.  Still, wish I had the house.  Not a Stratford Road mansion,
but a fine old farm house, rescued from decay and rot by these little
hands of mine.

Date:         Mon, 7 Aug 1995 23:25:53 EDT
From: gilbertsmith <>
Subject:      WHTMITTC 5
To: Multiple recipients of list WORDS-L <>


13)     So I go back on Friday night to hear Della again.  She is
better, not hoarse like she was on Thursday, but her dancers are not
quite as inspired.  The crowd is better and more with her.  Then,
after a little sleep I head for the sauna for some relaxation.  The
equipment in the next room.  No.  All the cables are twisted around
and tangled in the pulleys.  So, more pool and sun.

14)  At 11:40 I gather my stuff to go up to the room to get ready to
check out.  I go through the health club to get to the elevator and
note with irritated amusement that the handyman is getting the
whirlpool ready to run.

15)  Matinee of _My Castle's Rocking_, a one-woman show about the
life and career of Alberta Hunter, performed by a North Carolina
actress who has had some success Off Broadway and in the soaps.  She
is not very good in the acting part, but when she sings, she looks
and sounds exactly like Alberta.  The play drags, not enough singing,
and it would have worked so much better if she had just told the
story instead of trying to act it out.  Having directed plays has
ruined me as a spectator...  I keep wanting to stop her and tell her
how to do it right.  Nice songs though:  "I may be brown as a berry,
but that's just secondary... cause you cain't tell the diff'rence
after dark..."  It's fun anyway.  Then, a visit to the Goodwill on
the corner to look at old books, where I find a first printing of a
1956 novel I haven't seen before.  About the tobacco empire of North
Carolina, by Robert Wilder, author of _Written On The Wind_.  And, a
first printing of a novel "Caleb, My Son", by the daughter of the
News and Observer publishing family, who was one of the women I got a
date with through the personals column between my marriages, a woman
I was not interested in, nor she in me, a woman who subsequently
inherited several million dollars.  Oh well.  I buy the novel to give
to my son Caleb on his next birthday.

16)   Everything is related to everything else in a very strange way.
I get in the car and listen to Etta James: "I'm thinkin' 'bout
breakin' up somebody's home..."

16)  Drive home in the heat, which gets more and more oppressive the
closer I get to Raleigh.  Have to get to work and get all my stuff
straightened up, my life in order, the m/m comes back on Tuesday from
two months in Europe.  I work at it Saturday night and all day
Sunday, then get a surprise call from an old girlfriend of 13 years
ago.  We go to dinner and laugh until we die about the things that
happened to us during our year-long fling, much of it in the
neighborhood bar where I had the date with the nascent heiress....
she, I sense, is disappointed that I am waiting for my mate to come
home.  I was 44 and she was 26 and I thought it was really weird
going out with someone that young...  Now she is almost 40.  Ohmygod!
 That makes me....   Oh well.  We have fun in spite of our advanced
age.  And grieve just a little bit that she is suffering from a
broken heart over her last guy and I am so married.  Just a little
bit, for old time's sake.

17)  Home from dinner, I reflect on the past three days and am
grateful that my <man> got me to see that it was time for some fun.
And I did have some fun.