yes. s. was a true blue bon vivant; sometimes sinner sometimes saint three pointed like poseidon's trident. he had a powerful sense of identity. he felt fate switch his gears many times. and he resented that. he didn't mind dreaming of his destiny but he wanted to pull all the strings himself.
the spring art festival was coming up. bob anderson had found s. a little one room house on the highway at the head of the dirt road which led to the farm. so he was close to his mentor still. it wasn't as isolated as casselberry had been. he had dinner with the anderson family most nights and worked in the attic again.
it was march. in march the azaleas exploded all over and the fresh spring air invigorated him. the little girl down the lane often stopped on her way home from school. she was the new babysitter for the anderson kids. s. drew her many times. theirs was a pure quiet platonic relationship. hanna was twelve and s. was sixteen. eventually, the grownups disapproved of this gentle friendship and hanna was forbidden to visit.
the art festival came and went. s. got the blue ribbon first prize in representational painting. he sold everything. he was on the front page of the orlando newspaper with his self-portrait. the festival had grown from 130 artists to 270 the second year.
s. was working hard. he did portraits of obie and his brother bobby even a semi-nude of anita his stepmother. casselberry was given back. he worked intermittently on anita's painting. it was in the french impressionist style, but he never finished and couldn't explain why. it had something to do with sex, loyalty and embarrassment. he couldn't paint her full beauty without the alchemy of the loins. so he just gave up.
"the lord of the flies" by william golding inspired him to use a full sheet of masonite. but it was obviously unsaleable so he cut it up and used the boards for new ideas. there wasn't a single painting in the studio that hadn't been painted over an experiment which eventually after staring at the result for days went into the recycle mode.
s. was staying at the lake howell house in the heat of summer when the phone rang. bobby was very excited. "i found someone." he said. "what do you mean?" s. asked. "just get over here, there's this guy and his wife and a couple of girls." s. jumped on his bike and sped into town, found the house bobby was visiting and met gordon pennington the III and his wife margi. the girls were pretty and gordon was wild. he was about 35 with bright red hair.
gordon had wrecked a couple of formula one cars in european grand prix ( his father had invented the hydraulic clutch for chrysler) he was a great story teller and had a bombastic energy which was contageous. he and margi cooked gourmet meals all day long. but gordon was more of a gourmand. if you ate out with him and say, you had fried shrimp, when you finshed, he would say, "aren't you going to finish that?" pointing to the tiny tails. then he would gobble them all up with great relish and fanfare. he wore torn shorts and no underwear. he wore ragged sneakers without socks.
bob anderson couldn't get along with gordon and anita hated him. s.'s father was neutral. bob had a kind of justifiable laissez faire about his boys. but gordon was a lot of fun. he was entertaining and knew a lot of very interesting people. the brothers moved in. well, it was a big house on a lake with a couple of boats and gordon let them borrow either car whenever they wished. sometimes they would go on road trips to west palm beach and party at elite mansions. some of these people were famous racing drivers. one coterie was totally gay. the boys of course were a big hit at those parties. you just have to imagine pot and alcohol of every delicious variety… blue curacao, amaretto, creme de minth and creme de cacao. tia maria was s's favorite.
one night, a birthday party at the 'carousel' s. was tested. they called this mansion carousel because the circular driveway that let to the front portico was lined with real wooden carousel horses on candy cane poles. i say he was tested because, like they say, if you play with fire you will get burned. s. had been commissioned to do a portrait of the younger of this gay couple. (he is too famous to tell his name), and after awhile just joined in the revelry, got a little drunk and was followed to a bedroom by two pretty men. they tried all their tricks on him but s. wasn't even slightly gay and they lost interest quickly.
and recently margi filled in some details of the carousel: and about the g's and margi's house:
("House was on Lake Mizell. Had a Grumman sailboat canoe. We used to paddle
thru the lakes.You/Bobby drove G's car cause the WP police had suspended G's
license for speeding and he couldn't drive for awhile – they didn't like him much
'cause he drove loud Ferrari's down the mainstreet and had an international
manslaughter case that he beat."
"The French movie star at the Carousel in the Grove who commissioned you to
paint him was Alain Delon. The gay creeps who took you back to their motel
instead of driving you home when they were visiting us in WP were 2 gay ferarri
racing guys; you were too drunk to walk or drive and G should have stopped
them. The blond one committed suicide a few years later when his benefactor
dumped him for someone younger. ") from margi.
then s. had an affair with gordon's wife. he painted her portrait. then she seduced him. gordon either didn't know or didn't mind. after a month as her favorite she switched to bobby. s. was devastated and even cried. he was overcome with extreme suffering and jealousy. mostly, he had become hooked on sex and that perfume margi wore called 'shalimar' always drove him wild from then on.
luckily, he met a girl. she was a student at rollins. here's how this came about… walt wirth knew gordon. walt was a medical student at rollins and knew linda. he had access to syringes and knew how to extract opium from paregoric which was 'over the counter' in those days. paregoric was a paliative for teething babies. bobby began to shoot opium and sometimes amphetamines with walt. s. didn't like needles and just stuck to marijuana when it was available. it was through walt that s. met linda.
the first night they met they were sitting on a dock on the rollins campus lake. bobby, linda and s. dangling their feet in the water around midnight sipping a few beers. suddenly linda started crying. s. tried to comfort her and wheedled out of her a story about a famous folk singer who had got her pregnant and then went on tour in europe. she was three months pregnant and didn't know what to do. she had a very strict father who was very rich with two houses. one was in st. augustine on the beach with a ninety foot sailing yacht he had built himself. mr. t. was an architect with a boat factory in norwell mass.
linda's main concern was that she had no one to show her parents. she wanted her father to know that everything was alright. s. wanted to help and said, "i'll go with you to your father's house and meet him. we can tell him we are getting married and everything will be fine."
linda wasn't terribly pretty but she was very cute and best of all she was hot. s. took her home with him that night and was not disappointed. of course he didn't love linda, but who cares. he began to love her. let the games begin.
so that thanksgiving linda and s. went to st. augustine to meet the parents. oh, it was luxurious. but mr. t. insisted on driving the two to georgia and getting them married right away. oh well, thought s. who hadn't yet learned the fine art of caution. and he thought it was fine because they bought him a car and paid the rent on a new apartment in orlando.
he didn't know that linda loved him. he hadn't thought about robin in new york waiting for him in the storefront he had found on suffolk st. that would be his new studio and gallery when probation was over. bobby moved in with his girlfriend gin and they all set up house together. everything was hunky dory. s. now had three people in the house who modeled for him and a baby in the oven.