It's been the same since the very first time we met, while we were both doing photographic modeling, back in New York about ten years ago. I was afraid we were going to be fired from the first assignment we ever worked together. Guy kept ignoring the photographer's polite directions for us to pose this way or that. He was so busy trying to get me to go out with him afterward for a cup of coffee. But I had two more assignments that afternoon and then an appointment to meet friends for dinner. I tried to explain this all to Guy between the photographer's takes. But finally Guy wore me down to consenting to meet him, after my last job of the day, and before I met my friends for dinner.
We had a cup of coffee together, and he laid on the charm so thick that I let him go along with me to meet my friends. The fellow I was dating that evening must have been pretty puzzled by that little maneuver. But I never got a chance to find out how he did feel about it. When Guy left me with my friends, he carried my promise to meet him for breakfast the next morning. And that started a seven week courtship during which I saw Guy and only Guy. I never even laid eyes on that other fellow again.
It was a courting done as only a romantic Latin could do it and with a special Catalano flair, at that. (Guy's real name is Armando Catalano, which I think is much more "like" him than the name the studio decided he should carry, though I'll admit "Guy Williams" is probably a lot easier to remember).
I was frightfully busy with photographic jobs at that time. I remember having to trot from New York to Philadelphia to Boston and curiously enough, Guy always managed to turn up wherever I was. How I ever managed to get to any of those photo appointments on time is a matter of some wonder to me now... but I did.
We were back in New York, I remember, for New Year's Eve. It seemed like everyone we'd ever known was tossing a party that night. We were invited to at least six of them. Over dinner, we decided that a party, with its noisy crowd, its smoke, and the heat of some small apartment, was not the sort of atmosphere we wanted for welcoming in a year which we sensed would be the most exciting we'd ever spent.
So we spent the evening together, just the two of us. Along toward midnight we went into Central Park for a walk. It had been snowing, and everything was covered with a fresh blanket of white. There was a huge, picture postcard type moon and the park was deserted on this festive night. Everyone else in New York seemed moved by the urge to crowd together in hot apartments and toast in the New Year with champagne. We had the park all to ourselves. And if I lived to be 180 years old, I shall never forget the sight of that huge suitor of mine, all bundled up in a muffler, mittens and overcoat, with his big galoshes flapping, as he tramped, hopped and jumped around in the fresh fallen snow. He was trampling out the words "I LOVE YOU" in letters six feet tall.
It took Guy just seven weeks to convince me that a single status was no longer desirable. Looking back, I wonder only that I took so long to capitulate, the way he hit me between the eyes, it's strange we didn't trot right off to the license bureau after that first coffee date, and to heck with those friends of mine who were waiting for me in the hotel lobby.
Loads of people have wonderful, wacky courtships, and then, a few years they've been married, they start to "settle down." Some of the zing goes out of their lives. This is inevitable, I suppose. But, after ten years of being married to Guy, I'm beginning to believe that he's the exception who proves the rule. He's still doing crazy things to court me, still brings home wonderful, impulsive gifts, still is a master at the adept compliment, and as full of bounce as he ever was.
He rebels completely at giving gifts on man-made type occasions. Mother's Day, for instance. Nobody can tell him he must send his mother a gift on one certain Sunday each year. Of course two weeks before, a week after, or some Thursday in October, he'll send her something, just because he thought of her at the moment, and wanted to remind her of his love, or because he saw something in a shop window which seemed particularly appropriate for her. So far as he's concerned, there are probably umpteen Mother's Days a year. And Mrs. Catalano, being of the same turn of mind, would know he was slipping if he ever sent a gift on Mother's Day just because it was Mother's Day.
Many people have attributed Guy's flair for enjoying life, to his Italian origin. His parents came to America from Italy in their late teens, met and married in this country, and settled in New York.
As you might guess, with a gourmet for a father, Guy has more than the average man's interest in food. That was probably one of the things which flipped me so thoroughly when he was courting me. The wonderful little out-of-the-way restaurants he knew. In them the food was always divine, the atmosphere so thick you could carry home a chunk in your pocket, and the service made you feel like visiting royalty. And he could order a dinner in a way I'd only read about in books. He was making good money modeling at the time, and the Catalanos had always been comfortably fixed, so it was none of the hamburger-and-malted routine for him. And he's still that way. And in spite of my Scotch-Irish ancestry and Tennessee rearing, I find I've gone the Roman route, myself.
Just recently Guy has gone overboard, but really overboard. We eat late. Guy is fairly late getting home from the studio, and likes to change and relax a little before settling down to dinner, so it's often 9 o'clock before we eat. So I feed Steve and Toni their dinner early, and though I'm no nutrition expert, I try to see that they get the meat-vegetables-milk menu which is best for them. And then, after they're settled down for the night, Guy and I can have our dinner in peace, quiet, and serenity. And, of late, in an opulence I'd never ever have dreamed up all by myself.
If Guy isn't ravenously hungry by the time our dinner hour arrives, and this sometimes happens, he'll say, "Let's just have caviar." That means that we turn on the hi-fi to some nice, soft, dreamy music, and the lights get turned low in the living room. I set out a big jar of caviar, and a tray of Eprhrates crackers, while Guy is chilling a bottle of champagne. And that is our dinner. Caviar, crackers and champagne, I don't know about the protein content, or whether there are any minerals and vitamins at all in that menu, but though it may lack in nourishment for the body, it certainly provides plenty of nourishment for the soul. It's a menu I'd heartily recommend to any "old married" couples, as a sure-fire way to recapture the mood of the days before diapers, installment payments, and that old 'can-we-afford-a-new-furnace-this-year.'
Guy is so much of the extrovert that it's just a good thing that I'm a healthy, wiry type, so I can keep up with him. You might think that after working all week in the middle of a seething mob of people at the studio, a man might want to sort of crawl in a hole over the weekend, do nothing but rest, and see no one.
Not my husband. Bright and early Saturday morning he's up, claiming that the just-after-dawn hours are the best part of the day (an enthusiasm I must say I've never shared fully, being one who loves to sleep late). Before Saturday is very old, he's promoted some sort of trip or other. Maybe he'll take Steve to the beach for the day, or we'll all drive up to Mt. Baldy, where there is a trout pond he and Steve are fond of. And it's a rare weekend that we don't either go to a party, or give one ourselves.
These parties are never big affairs, generally five or six couples at most. We think it's most fun when the group is small enough to stay together as one unit. Let a party get any bigger, and it breaks into small groups. Then, no matter how interesting the chatter is in your group, you feel you might be missing something even more interesting going on in another group.
When the party's at our house, Guy is generally chef. He has a streak of the medieval in him, I tell him, he always chooses main dishes which are delicious, but have a very showmanlike flair about them. And often it's something which can be eaten with the hands, like his Gambas a la plancha, a special way he cooks shrimp.
There are several departments in which Guy does a sort of switch from his customary non-conformist tactics. His clothes, for instance, are really quite conservative. He is fond of fine fabrics, loves the feel of good woolens, excellent leather. But the colors are muted, the cut is conservative, and he rarely goes in for the mad things many California men seem to love. Maybe that's because, in costume for Zorro and Don Diego all day, he has all the zip he needs in his costumes.
Guy is one of those annoying characters who is able to maintain a schedule without any visible effort at doing so. If he says he'll be somewhere at 7:30 p.m., he is always ready to leave the house in plenty of time to make the trip at a leisurely rate. I'm more apt to allow myself just enough time, then get held up by too many red lights, and have to tear to make it.
But the non-conformist comes back into focus when you take up the handy-man-around-the-house role most husbands play. Not Guy. Nothing could move him less than a defective lamp cord or a doorbell with a broken connection. Happily, I'm good at puttering, and prone to pull out a screwdriver and get to work on any and all minor repairs. Once in a while, however, I do get in a little beyond my depth. I'll struggle over whatever project I'm working on, trying to solve it first this way and then that. Finally, I give up, and call Guy. "Look," I say, using my Grade A diplomacy, "I'm not asking you to fix this. Just give a quick look and tell me what in heck I'm doing wrong!" He obligingly surveys the situation, and 88% of the time he'll say, "Here, give me that screwdriver!" Whereupon, in an infuriating (to me) interval of five minutes, he's fixed whatever it was that I'd been puzzling over for an hour. Oh, he has the know-how all right, he just hasn't the inclination to fuss with such mundane things, until he's challenged into it.
Guy would protest bitterly if anyone ever suggested that he is predictable. But I maintain that by using a sort of reverse logic, he can be predicted as easily as any man. You see, all I have to do is figure out what an average man would do, given a certain set of circumstances. Having arrived at that answer, I just figure that Guy would do the exact opposite.
It's little keys like that which keep this Mrs. Zorro from jumping off rooftops herself, rooftops which aren't in the script. And they keep Life with Zorro the exciting thing it is.