Saturday, November 7, 2015

Dalton Trumbo's House

Me With Dominic Holding One of Dalton Trumbo's Oscars

During the time that I was very young, after I was adopted at age five to about eleven years old, I became friends with a kid named, Dominic, who was one year older than I.  He was the son of a psychotherapist that my mother, a child development specialist, worked with.  My mother, Marcia, became good friends with Nikola, or Niki.  And Niki was the eldest daughter of Dalton and Cleo Trumbo.

So, as a child, when Niki needed to go do something such as attend some meetings or clients and I happened to be at Dominic’s house, she would turn us over to Dominic’s grandparents, Dalton and Cleo.  I remember running in and around the house, as Dom and I were wont to do wherever we were, and Dalton would be puttering around in his old age, usually sort of off on his own.  I perceived even at the time that he was constantly either reading or looking for something, maybe reference books, around the house and keeping himself busy with his own projects. 

The house was an old two-story single family home sitting against a hillside in the Hollywood Hills. Dalton didn’t do stairs well in those years, so they had installed one of those seats that raised and lowered on tracks along the banister for Dalton to sit on and get up and down the stories of his home.  Cleo was also warm and nice to us.  I think that Dom felt closer to her since she had such a good maternal instinct with him. 

Years later, which may have been when Dom’s grandmother was moving up north, I went with my parents to some sort of holiday party at Cleo’s house, which ended up being the last time I’d see the whole bunch again.  Dalton had already died and I had recently been graduated from U.S.C., so I must have been about twenty-four years old.  I got to see my old friend, Dom, at this party, and I suspect that though I really didn’t know them, that Niki’s two younger siblings, Christopher and Mitzi Trumbo (Mitzi had dated Steve Martin sometime in earlier years), were also at the party.

One of Dalton Trumbo’s Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Awards (Oscars) was at the house that night, and so Dom and I took a photo together holding Dalton’s Oscar, pictured above. 

And so, those were my very young brushes with Dalton Trumbo and Cleo.