Some Memories Cannot Be Retired - Academy Award Winner & Murder




Like wallpaper on a wall not all memories can be retired. 

This tale started in days long past - I was young and all was fresh. I had more of a future than a past.

Sarah was 26 to my 21.

I was travelling in Europe post 2 years of studying there – On the Greek Island  of Santorini  - I wandered into café when my friend David saw his high school friend Pearl Fisher having a birthday party – and Sarah was there.

I hear her say that she misses the smells of NYC subways and is proud of her parallel parking.  Bingo and she was smart, effortlessly beautiful, Jewess with a tuchas, daughter of a black listed communist; attended the same leftist private school as Angela Davis; lost her virginity at age 12 on a MacDougal Street rooftop to a Hells Angel – when you’re 21 that’s intriguing stuff.

We talked; there was a connection but we had just arrived & she was leaving.  Briefly ran into her again on Crete then nothing.

I lamented the possibility of something exquisite.

Travel continued but I had to get to Rome – I had shared a VW Van with college buddies from Denmark – they went back to the states but left the van on a remote street in Rome for me to pick up – they buried the map/car keys in the Roman Coliseum and sent me, via postcard, the map of where the keys were in the Coliseum.  I located the keys but the street where the van was parked was dug up so alas no van.

So I hitch-hiked to Marseilles.  Tired & lonely.  I found myself on this train station platform.  There is nothing slam dunk more romantic than serendipitously reconnecting with a might have been lover on a train station in Marseille – seeing Sarah wave from the slow moving departing train’s window; platform cliché with heavy wisps of train smoke; people bustling about.  I was in a Truffaut film.  I run down the platform and hop on the train.

Impossible to calculate all the infinitely random things that had to transpire over six weeks to have us meet at that specific time.

We chat throughout the 4 hours from Marseille to Paris.  By the time we reach Paris we like each other.

She knew of a cold water flat on Rue St. Jacques.   We live together in Paris for 3 cold months – October to December.   She had worked as an au pair in Paris for the wife of a Black Panther Jazz Musician named King David.  They hung out with Eldridge Cleaver. 

Sarah was way more sexually experienced than me.  I never would have guessed but during her time in Paris she got involved with the jazz musician King David and he pimped her – for six months she was a high class call girl in Paris.  So many stories.  She called me Plaid Man & Swamp Fox.  I called her Sarah Salami.  We drank wine till dawn and ate Gruyere sandwiches.  Nights swirling and whirling.  Waking to her kiss.  I was 21, in Paris, & in love.

We move back to NYC – and live together in Greenwich Village for 3 years.

For much of the time, I was more in love with Sarah than she was with me.

We had just moved out of our apt into her parents Chelsea pad.   They were moving to their renovated barn in Vermont – we were going to take over their apartment – but they were still there and it was awkward.

Got a whole lot more awkward when she started having an affair with film director Joe Brooks – she had dabbled in acting and they met in one of his films.  He was more famous for Oscar winning songs; commercial jingles – Maxwell House’s “Good to the Last Drop” jingle.

I’m at her parent’s home, chatting with them over the dinner table, while their daughter is sleeping with Joe Brooks.

We quickly ended.  She broke me all the way down.  Joe Brooks wrote “You Light Up My Life” inspired by Sarah – the Debbie Boone song played on the radio 300x a day – the #1 song of the 1970’s – non stop reminders.  Sarah moves in with Joe Brooks in his swanky E. 76th street brownstone.

Decades pass – Sarah was one of those people that didn’t leave a digital footprint – too many times at 1:00am I tried to look her up online but nothing.

But 35 years after Paris, NY Post headline: “Ex-beau charged with murder in Soho Hotel death.”  The defendant is Nicholas Brooks, son of the famous Joe Brooks.  He murdered Sylvie Cachay, a famous designer. 

Boom - two weeks later – another article in the NYC tabloids:  Joe Brooks committed suicide on May 22, 2011.  Police found him in his E. 76th St brownstone w/ a plastic dry cleaning bag over his head & a towel wrapped around his neck.  Suicide via asphyxia by helium.  The same E. 76th pad where he regularly summoned Sarah for their noon time trysts when she was still mine.

Turns out Joe Brooks was indicted on 82 counts of sexually abusing young actresses.

Sometimes the universe does work in dynamic exchange.