Some memories of Ian Hugo (Anaïs Nin’s Husband Hugh Parker Guiler)
When Anaïs Nin stayed at Hugo’s Wash. Sq apartment and we visited, at first he would not be in attendance. We might hear him passing behind a screen into the kitchen, but after a quick introduction, his presence made Anaïs nervous. In ensuing years when she was not there, he became friends with the “circle” and people such as Daisy Aldan, Frank Alberti, Sharon Spencer, Adele Aldridge, and I’m sure others besides myself visited him. We focused on his art. We found him friendly, genteel, and kind.
It seemed that he understood fully where Anaïs was (with Rupert in CA) and that this was not a sore point. We all marveled at how Anaïs could maintain such loyal affection with him and others. I leave it to Anaïs’ diaries to explain how her relationship with Ian Hugo had evolved.
After Anaïs’ passing, I can’t remember what triggered my hosting a summer party. It may have been that Sharon Spencer or someone learned that Rupert was coming east and we “ninnies” wanted to welcome and be with him. Of course, the entire “circle” was invited, and that included Hugo. I had a delightful time with Sharon preparing several exotic dishes. We all buzzed with how it would go between Rupert and Hugo.
In the end it was just wonderful to have Nin’s friends and admirers together at this poignant time. She had meant so much to each of us—in his/her own way. Rupert and the more elderly Hugo were happy to be with us too. Because my outdoor patio spanned the length of a 35-40 ft swimming pool, it was easy for both men to stay on opposite sides and be surrounded by friends. I do not think they greeted one another even, but both seemed at ease.
Symbolically it was a great memory to unite Anaïs’ husbands and friends at one place in one moment of time.
–Valerie Harms, 7/17/08