Yesterday at 4:20 pm in Los Angeles my Shell Bell passed away. She was my adopted mother , my lovely connection to Los Angeles and everything Jewish. She taught me how to pronounce Yiddish words and to eat the food.
She invited me to dinner every night for as long as she could starting 38 years ago.
I will miss her terribly and as I write this about my friend I get teary and I feel a sense of relief. She was stricken with brain cancer three years ago and it wasn't fun or easy or pretty. She my mighty little friend gave up. Her fight wasn't in her. she had lost something extremely important to her 16 years earlier (her best friend) and that was it,she never fully engaged again. Never underestimate a best friends importance. That relationship carried her in ways none of us knew. Because,we all agree,that when Gracie died so did a big part of Shelly. The rest was tracking time. She was battling a skin illness for years and finally frustrated she began a course of medicine that had fine print that read;"in some people brain cancer could occur".
Can you imagine we allow pharmaceutical companies to sell products that create cancer in the brain? This isn't about that...this is about my friend. She could be the loudest fiercest creature standing at 5' 2". she could commandeer her block kicking the colorful hookers off the corner so we all could sleep.
Many a night in the early days when Sunset Blvd was full of ladies of the night. She would march out in her jammies and get the girls and their boom boxes off our block. She was tough. Once when I was a whopping 15 and very ambitious me and her daughter my BFF Michel were invited to go to Paris with a group of French hustlers associated with Polanski (he had nothing to do with this) and she put the hammer down. No,she said "what do you think will happen to you two in Paris alone with those men?"
We were so excited at the idea of hanging with groovy French guys especially the director Roman Polanski blah blah blah...and lovely Shelly bell said "hell no". Oh I loved her for that! She saved us. She saved me a lot...She was always by my side in my darkest moments taking care of me. She was diligent,she cared. If there was a new man in my life he had to be paraded past Shelly and Bernie to pass muster or not. I even paraded directors too. They are almost as intimate as new beaus only we don't have sex with them in the best case scenario, well I didn't. I will miss my other mother it will be strange to see her house finally cleared of its clutter and horrible piles of "what the hell stuff" none of us wanted her to keep but she insisted. She gave me Paris, France,she gave me love,she gave me a home when I needed it,she gave me friendship.
I will miss her... I wish I could have ignited her heart but sometimes it isn't possible to influence people who are on their set path. I wanted her to allow love in...She was so good at giving it.
Shell Bell...I love you..