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This reminds me of a very amusing incident in our lives.
When we met him, he was a basketball coach up in Casenovia,
New York, a little town upstate, near Rochester, I think. After
he had written The Oxbow Incident, we invited him down to New
York to stay with us at our house for a couple of days. He
arrived and turned out to be inordinately bashful and silent.
He came to our home quite early in the afternoon. I
didn't arrive until later that evening. Phyllis was going
crazy trying to find a way to make him talk. It happened to
be Saint Valentine's Day. My Phyllis loves to be remembered
on special days and I dutifully sent her a big bunch of flowers.
But I called up Max Schling, the florist, and didn't write the
card myself. I had said, “All of my love,” but it was written
by the florist. The flowers came while Phyllis was trying to
find something to talk to Walter Van Tillburg Clarke about.
She said, “This is how hard my poor Bennett works. He didn't
even have time to go to the florist himself.”
As a matter of fact, I was having cocktails with a girl
in the movies named Anne Baxter, whom I liked very much. She
had that same round, cupid, moon-like face that I've always
fallen for in girls. I neglected to tell Phyllis that I was
having this cocktail with her. When I came home that evening,
I started to detect ice in the air about six blocks away. When
I came home, Phyllis was waiting at the door. I had taken Anne
home first to her mother's apartment on Button Place. (Anne
Baxter was the niece of that great architect, Frank Lloyd
Wright.) She had left her purse in the taxicab when I took
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