Cliff Barney was asking if I knew someone named Peggy Mandel...I told him her last name was Muendel and it sounds like the very same Peggy to me. Great story from Cliff!i did know peggy, in a special way.
when carolina got to yelapa, i was still working in silicon valley. i arrived about a year later and we set up shop at casa ventana; and she told me about a friend of hers whom i might like — peggy mandel. we visited her one afternoon and had a great time. peggy and i took to each other immediately; i liked her enormously, and we talked nonstop for several hours, during which time her dogs, of whom there were several, frolicked about. they were very friendly and i spent much time playing with them, scratching their ears, etc. when i got home that night i was overtaken by a bout of itching like none i had ever experienced. i wanted to jump out of my skin, it was so bad. the only thing that affected it was to stand in a shower so hot i could hardly stand it - but anything, even being boiled alive, was better than the itch!
we looked it up in the merck manual, and decided that i had sarcoptes scabiei, or scabies. of course carolina got it immediately from me, and we fought it for the next several weeks. nothing seemed to work against it until we finally found a solution: we covered ourselves in noxema cream and did not bathe for two weeks. during that time we changed our sheets every day. we took the sheets from the bed and put them in buckets of bleach; we took the sheets that had been bleaching and hung them on the line, and we took the ones on the line and put them on the bed. we called this routine the “three-sheet shuffle.” i wrote a demented poem about it and we made it a big joke in our lives. but despite the real affection i felt for peggy, i never dared to go to her house again, and in fact never saw her again since she rarely went out. i always regretted this, but i never risked another bout. (vets will tell you that humans don’t get scabies from dogs, but we knew better.)
now, it happens that when i was an undergrad at dartmouth, my roommate, who was editor of the college newspaper, got a letter from a fellow named jerry tallmer, who had been several classes ahead of us and was a legendary editor of the paper, having restarted it after the war. he was then working at the nation, and he invited ted to visit him in new york. i tagged along and met jerry and his then wife, peggy, a young, slim, very attractive woman who swore like a sailor. they were both very kind to us, a couple of undergraduate bozos - introduced us to their friends in the village and even let me stay at their apartment when i was in town, which was as frequently as i could make it. i went to their parties and met jackson pollock at one of them. he made a pass at peggy and she told him to fuck off.
later i lost touch with them and though i heard that jerry had helped found the village voice, which i read later when i lived in new york, i never saw either of them again. (peggy wrote a shopping column for the voice for a while. jerry is still alive, full of years and honors - he had a great journalistic career in new york.) i did hear that he and peggy had separated, and i always wondered what became of her. i had been attracted to her even then, but basically i was afraid of her - she seemed so capable and familiar with the new york scene, and i was a yokel from new hampshire.
so last night, in a fit of nostalgia, i googled “peggy tallmer,” and was led to a column by jerry in which he revealed that her full name was “peggy meundel tallmer.” i then googled “peggy meundel” and was led to raicilla dreams.
now i always supposed that the peggy i had met here spelled her name “peggy mandel,” because that was the way everyone pronounced it. but from the few items i read about “peggy meundel,” i suspect that she must have been peggy tallmer once.