Monday, December 13, 2010
I had intended to post this Christmas memory ON December 13th - the day that it would have been relavent -- but, golly Moses!, the Christmas Holiday certainly can take it in your grip and guide you down an unwilling tobogan ride, can't it! It's all good, though... better late than never.
On December 14th, I awoke to the news that my beloved girlfriend, Nancy LaMott, had died the night before. Cancer. She was 44 years old.
Nancy and I were good friends, though she had better. Nancy and I had only known each other a few years. We didn't get to see each other often because she was on the CUSP of huge stardom and was always busy traveling, performing, and spending time with people bigger and more important than I. We did, though, spend time together and it was usually just the two of us when we did and it was always quality. I have many stories about Nancy and me - or just a few; I don't seem to be able to separate those visits anymore. All the good times seem, to me, rolled into one happy visit.
I remember the last two times I saw Nancy. The first was the release party for the cd LISTEN TO MY HEART. She was tired. She was sick. She was not able to socialize the way she wanted. She sat at a table at the party and people came to visit with her. After awhile, I decided it was my turn; so I went to her table and sat beside her. We talked a little. But mostly, we sat, holding hands and watching the people who loved her celebrate the release of her greatest cd (it is one of those true works of art that you hit play and let run to the end). There we sat, in silence, feeling the love between us and the sickness that was making her so unhappy, as long as everyone else who knew it was killing her but who didn't know what to say about it. Then I got up, gave her a kiss and told her I loved her. Then I went back into the crowd.
The other time I saw Nancy before she was gone was the day before Thanksgiving, just a couple of weeks before her death. I went to her house, at her command by telephone; and upon entering, I saw her shove her hand into a big box and pull out LISTEN TO MY HEART. "Hot off the press - you get the first copy." I said, "NO. That's not the first copy. David and Scott and the rest of Team LaMott have theirs," quoth I. Her reply "Yes, David and Scott do. And you. The first copies." So we were hanging out and talking about the cd and her holiday plans (not, though, about her health) and I told her that if there was anything she needed, ever, that she should call me. She said that there WAS something she needed a little help with. Anything. Anything at all, I said. It turned out she was hosting Thanksgiving tomorrow for a lot of people. And she was just so tired. And .... well.... would I mind helping her clean her refridgerator? OF COURSE I would. I am an expert and devoted house cleaner. I'm good at it, too.
So I crawled into the kitchen as Nancy sat on a little chair in the doorway and I held up item after item and asked "keep or kill?". Whatever was killed went into the trash, what was kept got wiped down and set on the counter. Then the fridge got wiped down and it all got put back. When I was finished, that fridge could have been photographed for an ad campaign! And you know what?
There were six different types of ice cream in the freezer.
"Nobody should be without choices when they want ice cream." Nancy said.
The morning of the 13th, I turned on the tv to hear Kathie Lee Gifford say what I already knew. Nancy had died the night before around 11pm. On her deathbed she had married Peter Zapp.
I didn't cry. Well. I didn't cry much. I cried, some; but for me it was not a lot. It was 9:05. I needed to get ready to do my Christmas shopping. I left the house by 10. It was snowing.
Every record store I went into that day was playing Nancy LaMott music.
please note: I chose to publish two photos of Nancy with this story: one is the most famous photo I did of Nancy and, I feel, Nancy at her most glamourous. The other is a photo of Nancy having her head shaved when she got her wigs - I am in the mirror behind her, my face obscured by my camera. It is the only picture of me with Nancy LaMott.