|The house on Southard Street where Bill Manville and Nancy Friday lived, before fame rewrote their love story.|
|Hello . . . is this Nancy's yard sale?|
|Starving artists in Nancy's secret garden on Southard Street. Ann Lorraine is the mastermind behind the fabulous windows at Fast Buck Freddie's. Her husband is a songwriter, too. That's why we're all starving.|
“When Jane tells you this—and she will tell you this,” Bill said, “you must act surprised, as if it’s news to you.”
I promised. A day or two later Jane Doe told me about Bill, and said that I must never tell. Shortly after that, the news of Bill's and Nancy’s divorce was tearing over the Coconut Telegraph. I told Bill that being in on the secret of his romance with Jane Doe, the tragedy of his megastar wife dumping him and getting his Key West house in the bargain, trumped every tale of sex and the city of Key West I’d ever heard. I felt powerful indeed, as a witness to the scandal du jour. The lives of the real writers! Left homeless, and wifeless, the romance with Jane Doe done, Bill moved to California.
“My God, what intrigue!” I, the fledgling writer, gushed the last time I saw him. “I want to write it. But can I? I mean who owns this story?”
“Whoever gets it into print first,” Bill said, flashing me his sexy sideways glance and dazzling smile. Then, he was gone, and the house on Southard Street became Nancy’s.
|Are you lonesome tonight? You need My Secret Garden.|
The event was very well planned and executed, with solemn-looking attendants in every room watching shoppers like hawks. There were rules, too, like you couldn’t leave one house (there is a guest house and a main house) carrying merchandise that you hadn’t yet paid for to visit the other house. When you did pay, you received a receipt, which you were to display to prove you were honest.
Clearly, the diva had left the premises. She’d left behind, appropriately enough—considering the nature of her work— a Kama Sutra-ish bed, with an intricately carved platform and dramatic headboard, for sale at $1,000. The bed was in a glass-walled room, overlooking the pool and gardens. Just about everything else, except a display of Nancy Friday’s books in various languages and editions, was gone. I picked up a fresh copy of “My Secret Garden” as my first one is well worn. We bought a brass lamp—had it once lit the way for some steamy prose by our lusty lady of the hour? Also, as described by the sticker price tag: “Nancy’s sun visor, $1.”
The property is sold. Nancy has left Key West. The closing is this week, we heard someone say.
|Wearing Nancy's sun visor. I'm afraid my head is bigger than Nancy's.|
I put on my visor but it hurt my head. I took it off and checked the label, expecting something fancy like Saks or Henri Bendel. The label said “NO Headaches.” It really did. But it gave me a headache.
We went home and researched Nancy Friday on the Internet. She is divorced from the fabulously successful journalist/editor Norman Pearlstine, ten years her junior, the man she married after Bill. She is 78 years old now, but surely not alone—not with her professed skill at looking, talking and behaving the way a woman should, to attract and seduce interesting men.