Lois Lowry's Blog
So It Goes
Last night I stayed up till 2:30 AM reading a new biography of Kurt Vonnegut. So I am somewhat groggy this morning. And I am not at all sure why I did such a mindless thing. The book would have been there in the morning, and during the days to come. But sometimes one just gets absorbed.
Maybe it was because I have a fond memory of Vonnegut, and it involved Martin; and this being Thanksgiving, when M's kids and grandkids were here, I was especially thinking of him. Then the book arrived and I picked it up and settled into Memoryland.
It was a long time ago, probably 20 years. Martin and I were in New York and we were invited to a very fancy dinner party. Black tie. If there was anything that Martin hated, (more than bigotry or Brussels sprouts) it was pretentiousness. And on this particular occasion, he said he would go to the party if I wanted to, but he would NOT wear a tuxedo. Okay, he probably said f....g tuxedo. So we went. I was all dressed up, since I sometimes actually enjoy prententiousness; and Martin was wearing a business suit.
Of course every other man there was in a tux, except Martin, and...ta DA...Kurt Vonnegut, who if I remember correctly was in a rumpled brown suit.
I forget exactly where this party was. But it was on a high floor, and there was a terrace. Martin and Kurt went out and sat on the terrace and talked. They probably smoked. Of course everyone knows that Vonnegut smoked ike a chimney. Martin didn't. But he was one of the rare people who could occasionally smoke an offered cigarette and didn't crave another.
So while the rest of us flitted around pretentiously indoors, they sat on the balcony, rumpled and un-tuxed and smoking and talking. Turns out they both went to Cornell, then dropped out to enlist during WW II. Martin went to the Pacific and ended up on Okinawa. Kurt of course was captured in Europe, imprisoned in Dresden, and the rest is literary history.
May they both rest in peace. I hope they are on a celestial terrace somewhere together, sipping Scotch.