How I Met My Wife:
I have been quietly mourning a dear old buddy of mine, George, ever since he passed away in September of 2007 — when he suffered an untimely death at the age of 61 — but I’ve cherished his memory ever since, because he gave me the single greatest gift I’ve ever received, an introduction to the woman I was lucky enough, later, to marry.
George presented his gift to me at an epic party he threw at his 24-room apartment at the Dakota, the legendary building that sits on Central Park West in New York City.
George liked to throw parties, and since he was extremely well-heeled, he had the means to throw extravagant bashes.
George particularly liked to throw parties to benefit his favorite causes, and I recall one that was a fundraiser for his favorite organization, the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC). He had invited a large crowd of his well-heeled friends, and he packed the house at his Dakota pad, because he had had the good sense to invite as his special guest one Robert Redford, who showed up with his wife Lola, and wowed the crowd with a great speech. This speech caused a number of George’s well heeled friends to increase their donations that night.
I was a beneficiary as well, because I got to corner Redford and chat with him about his latest movie, “The Electric Horseman,” which co-starred Jane Fonda. I also got to have a chat with Lola, who was captivating.
George held the party that benefited me in March of 1978, but to fully appreciate why I needed his help, I need to backtrack a bit.
Midway through my seven-year stint as a graduate student of English at Columbia University (1972–1929), I had taken a job at a prep school in Vermont, Vermont Academy, for a couple of reasons: First, I needed to make some money in order to keep up with my tuition payments; second, my plan was to write my dissertation in my spare time at VA.
This in retrospect was a hilarious proposition, since, as I should’ve known full well, as a prep school teacher I would have no…