Thinking of Anais Nin: Suzanne Graeber

Suzanne Graeber

An e-mail from a Flower Child In Hollywood: Bookstore of Anaïs Nin, Rupert Pole and the Wrights

I am sure many people have never heard of Anaïs Nin and many have, but I was introduced to her soul and spirt in 1984 when I had the privilege of being invited to her Silverlake home, called the House of Light, to listen to chamber music on a foggy Sunday afternoon during the Summer Olympics. That was the first time I was introduced to her memory, although she had passed on in the late 70s. Perhaps if I had been more literate then, I may have realized who she was, but there is always a first time to learn about someone or something, and I came to find out she was one of the leading female writers of the 20th century. Possibly I was touched by her “magic” that day which seems so long ago.

I wrote about this home in my manuscript because it was a mystical and enchanting experience for me on this first visit. I cannot put it into words what it was like as succinctly as I would like to. After walking down a long and winding driveway with the most beautiful, all encompassing, pine trees lining the path to the front door, Rupert Pole greeted me, and the first thing I noticed were his brilliant blue eyes and soft-spoken manner. He was breathtakingly handsome for what seemed like an older gentleman and kind. He was around 66 at the time. Needless, to say, looking back at that day as I get older, by the grace of G-d, I do not think that a person in their 60s is that old anymore. My late girlfriend, Norma, played her violin at his home that day. I came to find out that Rupert’s brother, the third generation Wright architect, Eric Lloyd Wright, had designed the home that Rupert and Anaïs had lived in.

The last time I saw Rupert was at my late friend Norma’s celebration of life in 1991 as she passed away too soon for me from cancer. I was heartbroken at the time. She was 16 years older than me and had graduated from Julliard in NYC, and loved playing the violin and classical music. She took me under her wings in the early 80s when we were both working in entertainment law and this firm represented mostly producers and directors, like Frank Capra, Jr. and Samuel Goldwyn, Jr, et al. One of the lawyers, who was a senior partner, was the former Mayor of Beverly Hills, and the other partner’s brother was the late California Supreme Court Justice Stanley Mosk. I have worked for many other high profile people in law during my career, Now I have a new life.

I thought about the times I spent at Rupert Pole’s home through the latter part of the 80s, listening to classical music, and all the intellectuals that used to visit his home, as I grew up on it as my mother played the violin and piano since she was seven. For some reason, when I had finished my manuscript last year, I kept searching for Mr. Pole’s home number, which I eventually found in an old phone book. I wanted to revisit the home to see if what I had written from memory about the House of Light was the way I had described it in my manuscript. Something told me I had to go there, see him, not even knowing if he was alive. There was a reason after all because Mr. Pole passed away in July, 2006.

This time around, when I visited Rupert, I probably took the last photos of him, and there were some beautiful photos of Rupert and one of my beloved dogs, a German Shepherd, named Moshe. The irony of it is that day last April will always be etched in my memory. Moshe does not readily go to people at first, not that he is aloof, but he is truly my protector. Immediately, when we walked in the House of Light, he went over to Rupert and jumped on the bed with Mr. Pole, who was resting, when I first walked into his home. I pulled out my camera and snapped several photos of the two of them.

I had never felt so much serenity and calm just like when I first visited that home over 23 years ago. I am sure Moshe felt it as well. Rupert was petting Moshe and told me, “please bring him back when you visit again and be sure to take him out in the backyard.” I told him I would bring my other dog, Captain Sage, on my next visit. I was able to talk to Rupert about my manuscript as a first time writer. He listened to me intently and gave me a few ideas, especially when it comes to “rejection.” As a result of all of this now, I was fortunate to meet Rupert’s younger brother, Eric Lloyd Wright, last December to possibly carry on part of the spirit of his late brother and his wonderful legacy. The first thing I noticed when I met Eric last December is he sounds just like his older brother.

At the end of this month I will be visiting Eric’s home in Malbu for his Spring Solstice in front the Medicine Wheel, and will finally bring him a larger photo of Moshe and his brother for keepsake. Of course, when you are born and raised near Hollywood, California, one is bound to meet some interesting and eccentric people during one’s life time. That is just the way the cards fell!


An e-mail from a Flower Child In Hollywood