I’ve been writing a piece about Leslie Van Gelder, or Leslie Hipshman as I knew her then – the girl whose 1962/1963 letters were posted here in the last weeks. I want to round off those letters by describing an evening we spent together in December, 1961.
Maybe I’m indulging in self-delusion – imagining it’s possible to resurrect a night forty plus years ago as if it was last night. It wasn’t significant or life-changing for either of us in any way. We didn’t fall in love. We didn’t decide to expose J. Edgar Hoover no matter what the consequences. We just spent a nice night alone together in the city at the rainbow’s end.
Yet here it is, carefully stored on its own shelf down in the memory banks. Or enough of it to make me think I could try to resurrect the whole evening. I’m trying to see the seventeen-year old Leslie in my mind’s eye, listen to her voice and imagine I remember exactly what we talked about in that cheap Chinese restaurant so long ago.
I have several clear mental pictures to work from. But it’s a challenge. And a fun challenge for me, even though it’s keeping me away from the novel a little longer.
If I don’t put it up in a few days, then it is a failure, and I’ll never be able to face my friends again. So wish me luck!