Can't resist telling you what a laugh I had about the 'famous' telephone calls you made. So--what exactly did you plan to say, besides "Hello!", if 'Mrs. Chalkley'HAD answered the phone?? Knowing me, I would have tried to say something brief but something that made her laugh!! But--I don't think many people--including myself--could manage to say ANYTHING that she would have found even remotely amusing!!! (Actually, it's possible that all her calls went straight to an answering service!! And "Mrs. Chalkley was NEVER in!")
You are so right that the mystique of world travel on a shoestring--and the fun of knowing that you were out of reach--is in the ancient past! (I refuse to use a cell phone--if I'm outside taking a walk, I want to look around and take in the view--not plaster one of those things to my ear--and take in a voice!) Ah...."The World is Too Much With Us"!
Here's a sort of coincidence: while you were sailing back to England in 1969, I was living there for 9 months that year, on a temporary work permit, to see if I would like to 'settle' there for a longer period. And I loved London so much that this experience was the reason that I went back in 1970 for 12 years!!
" So--what exactly did you plan to say, besides "Hello!", if 'Mrs. Chalkley'HAD answered the phone?? "
Exactly so. There was I,a callow star struck youth and if the unimaginable had occurred and I suddenly found myself speaking to Mrs. Chalkley, I would undoubtedly have been either lost for words or setting a new record in unintelligible babbling. LOL.
Actually your observation that her calls were perhaps screened via an answering service is probably close to the truth.
As it happens, VALLEY OF THE DOLLS came out in London in late 1967 / early 1968 I think? I clearly recall going to see it there and I think it may have been at the Odeon, Leicester Square. I returned to Australia in mid '68, worked for a time and saved up some more travelling cash and then headed back to London on Chandris Lines for my fateful and doomed Miami telephonic effort en route.
Your stint in London was far longer than mine as far as consistent dwelling. I probably accrued around six years living and working there but in three separate periods of time.
As it happens, I was having a one week holiday on the Pacific island of Vanuatu in March 1975 and as we had mentioned- there were no cell phones then and most of the islanders spoke French anyway.
I had gone to a restaurant where I ate most nights ( mainly because it had a spectacular bar and also because the owner who sat near the cash register in the evenings looked like a blowsy Jeanne Moreau.)
I had just arrived and walked to the bar and greeted her in my very inadequate and broken schoolboy French, when she mentioned what I thought was Susan Hayward in a conversation with the barman. I asked whether I had heard correctly and she said ' The American actress Susan Hayward died '.
This was how I heard about it and the odds on that happening in that place at that time were staggering really.
How and where you learned of Susan's death strikes me as staggering, too--the fact that you were right there when the owner of the restaurant relayed the sad news! (Although the way Susan suffered at the end, it seems as if her death was a blessing to her.)
I have to admit that I was aware of her---but had not seen her films or known anything about her until I first read Beverly Linet's book a couple of years ago---and then found this Board. Reading about her and watching her act in films like "I'll Cry Tomorrow" made me wonder how I had missed out knowing more about her all these years. I have sure tried to make up for missed time, though!
After reading 3 books about her, I have now ordered a 4th---and though much of what is said in them may not be true, I do not have any other way to learn at least a little bit about her, as her sons--understandably--must have found it an overwhelming undertaking to write about someone so personal to them.
I must certainly have heard of Susan's death, when I lived in London, but, while I would have acknowledged how sad this news was.......I would not been at all familiar with her life.