Editor’s Page
By Alejandro Grattan-Dominguez

My Most Unusual Experience


north-pole-4(Several months ago, we asked our readers to send us an account of their most embarrassing moment. The response was brisk and we published some of them on a one-a-month basis. Now we’ll try a different topic, and as before, so as to encourage our readers to dip their toes in the water, I will jump fully-clothed into the pool myself.)

It happened in one of my more dismal periods—during which I had more ups and downs than a busy elevator—while toiling away in the American movie industry. I was living inside a friend’s wooden garage out in the San Fernando Valley during the summer, which made these quarters (which I shared with two little dogs I had snatched away from a drunk who was trying to drown them) feel much like a steam bath.

In desperate need of some cash and more suitable surroundings, I answered a newspaper ad: Wanted, Apartment House Manager. Light maintenance duties. Small salary, free apartment. Small pets okay. Call—

I had barely commenced my sales spiel when the man answering the phone said, in a middle-age, salt-of-the-earth voice, “Sorry, bub, need somebody steady. You’re leaving the country in the next few weeks. Besides, I know you’re broke, but your money troubles will soon be over.”

Thinking that either we had a terrible phone connection or one of us was crazy (even money, I thought, both ways), I pressed on until the voice interrupted to say, “Wanna grab a cup of coffee?” I figured this was a come-on, (the film biz had made me a rock-ribbed cynic), but figured that if I played my cards right, I might get a free coffee, maybe even a piece of apple pie.

The guy was nothing like I imagined. Tall, rugged, and looking something like the Marlboro Man, he kept saying that my troubles would soon be over. But I hardly listened to what he said because I was too busy eating the chicken-fried steak he had bought me, some of which I brought home to my equally hungry newly-adopted family.

As luck would have it, his prognostications came true sooner than he had thought. The very next day, my agent called to say that a script she had offered some six months earlier to ABC as a Movie of the Week had been bought! Then, one day later, I learned that a telegram had arrived for me at the house I had formerly lived in. It was from a brother I had not seen in almost a decade, but with whom I had sporadically stayed in touch over the years. The cable read: Come immediately to Copenhagen, Denmark. Have wired money for round-trip air ticket in your name, American Express, Beverly Hills, California. Wire date/time of flight. Your brother, Tom

Excited, I called my clairvoyant friend to tell him the news—which seemed not to surprise him. He even offered to drive me to the airport since he had also rightly divined that I had no car. Two weeks later, after I had bought the airline ticket, renewed my passport and taken the necessary shots, he drove me to LAX, where I was to take an SAS flight direct to Copenhagen (and over the North Pole, the most incredible sight I have ever seen), but just as I entered the tunnel to board the plane, my friend (I’ll call him “Cliff”) shocked me again.

Seems I was going to get married in Denmark. A beautiful blonde, and there was a child involved. Preposterous! I was only on a 21-day excursion flight, still basically broke and . . . well, you get the idea.

Over the ten years I had not seen my brother, he had become a rather wealthy man. Picking me up at the airport in a vintage Rolls Royce, we made away to Hornbeck, an exclusive area outside Copenhagen, where a dinner party at my brother’s place awaited us. All the way to the party, Tom spoke of many things but carefully avoided why he had summoned me from half a world away.

It was only as we walked into a gorgeous lake-front house that Tom grinned and said, “Okay, I guess it’s about time you met the girl you’re gonna marry.” And there she was, standing beside a roaring fireplace, blonde, blue-eyed and a dead ringer for the international film star, France’s Catherine Deneuve. The lady also looked to be nine months pregnant.

They had recently come from Afghanistan, and as usual my brother’s legal paperwork was, to put it politely, in a state of flux. He had summoned me to marry his gorgeous consort so as to legally give the child our last name. Two days later, Barbara (as the delightful lady was called) and I married before a rather-intoxicated but lovely lady judge (if Ireland is the drinking capitol of the world, Denmark surely can claim second place) and the boy (whom I named “Juan” after Tom’s and my mother, Juanita) was born less than a week afterward.

Some three weeks later, my friend Cliff was waiting at the Los Angeles airport. I was bursting with news, but before I had a chance to tell him all about my wonderful trip, he quietly asked, “So how do you like her.”

I liked Barbara just fine, (sadly, she passed away many years ago) but to this day, I have no idea how Cliff could have foreseen any of what had transpired those surprising and wonderful three weeks I spent in Denmark.


Pin It
Editor’s Page By Victoria A. Schmidt April 2022 “The Greatest Generation – and Us” Guest Editorial By Fred Mittag March
Editor’s Page By Alejandro Grattan-Dominguez A Life Well-Justified There is a line in the Bible (one of the very few that I can remember!) which
Editor’s Page Guest Editorial by Mark Sconce The Power of Poetry   Whilst knocking on doors for Barack a few years ago, I encountered a lady of
Editor’s Page Guest Editorial by Fred Mittag A Brief History of Work   For artisans, work was good during the Middle Ages. At 14, a boy might proudly
Editor’s Page By Alejandro Grattan-Dominguez An Astounding Man in an Astounding Century   Most people know about T.E. Lawrence because of David
Wordwise With Pithy Wit By Tom Clarkson   This morning, my pal F.T. – who shared the Iraq experience with me during my third trek there – forwarded
  VICTORIA SCHMIDT   Column: Editor’s Page   Website:   Victoria Schmidt came to Mexico with her husband, in 2007. 
    MOONYEEN PATRICIA KING   Column: Profiling Tepehua   Website:   Settled in Mexico 13 years ago.  The
  KEN MASSON   Column: Bridge by the Lake   Website:   Ken Masson has been playing, teaching and writing about bridge
  ALEJANDRO GRATTAN-DOMINGUEZ   Column: Editor’s Page   Website:   Wrote/directed first movie about Mexican-Americans, Only
 Find us on Facebook