My Art Dynasty

John Paul Getty III with his mother at Rome’s Police Headquarters. Eldest of the four children of John Paul Getty, Jr. and Abigail Harris (L), and grandson of oil tycoon Jean Paul Getty, he was kidnapped in Rome on 10 July 1973 and released on 15 December 1973, shortly after a ransom was paid by his grandfather, after his abductors had cut off one of his ear. (Photo by Vittoriano Rastelli/Corbis via Getty Images)

John Paul Getty (1892 – 1976) American oil executive, multi-millionaire and art collector, with Zsa Zsa Gabor, exotic international Hungarian leading lady. May 16, 1972. Photo Getty Images.

Capturing Beauty


Jon Presco

Yesterday, when I awoke, my inner voice – who works thru the night while I sleep – told me to title my blog on the movie ‘All The Money In The World’………..’My Art Dynasty’. I was also further instructed to declare…….”I am the reincarnation of Hadrian, and not Jean Paul!”

None of this cost me a dime! It was all done for free! If you know the rules for reincarnation, then my claim is not that outrageous! I know way more about art then J.Paul ever did. I know way more about politics and the Republican Party then Donald Trump who was almost reborn as a coo-coo High School football coach who tells bawdy jokes to his team in the locker room.

“Here’s how you get to third base! You skip first and second base and go for the Gusto!”

Trump does not own one original work of art, and stiffed Andy Warhol who he commissioned to paint his Tower. There are murals on his ceilings of Greek gods after a ceiling at Versailles. I believe that is a replica of ‘The Fall of Icarus’ by Blondel, who I compare Garth Benton to, who did the murals at the Getty Villa, of which we see a model of being unveiled in The Art Movie I just saw – that could be a Greek Tragedy! Garth allowed Snyder to publish a hideous biography of his ex-wife who roams about her book like a psychotic She-demon, destroying people’s lives like Modena. Trump roams about our Democracy destroying everything that moves in the name of the End Time Loons – that have much to do with Emperor Hadrian, but, they don’t know it yet!

All day yesterday I fretted. If I, a poor man, declare I am the rightful embodiment of Hadrian, thus wiping out the iffy claim of ‘The Richest Man In The World’, then I will be labeled “MAD” and given shock treatment like his granddaughter, Aileen Getty, who married Christopher Wilding, thus she, and all the Getty’s, are in my rosy family tree!

This morning, I read Von Double Trouble allowed his administration to fire the rest of the advisory council on AIDS. AIDS awareness was pioneered by Aileen and Liz.

Last week I saw a therapist before I saw my primary caregiver, and showed her a copy of ‘When You Close Your Eyes’ by Tom Snyder that I had been reading in the waiting room. I told her I was in a rage over the selling of my families Art Legacy to Stacey Pierrot, by Sydney Morris, a partner of Robert Brevoort Buck, who set up the Buck Foundation with moneys gotten from Frank Buck who helped found Associated Oil Companies that Getty came to own………..SOMEHOW! I had forgotten this after blogging about it.

So, there I am, sitting next to my new friend in the movie theatre, and on the silver screen looms a giant tanker with the Flying A on its prow. If I had known my companion a little longer, I would have grasped her hand tightly, and cried out;

“Will it never end, this nightmare? Make it go away!”

After we left the theatre, I told my friend I was kin to the Gettys via Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor. I could not tell if she believed me – like all the rest! My therapist acted like she didn’t believe me. I told her outsiders came to own Christine and my Sober Story, she drowning on her first sober birthday in AA.  I told her I began our biography two years earlier. ‘Bonds With Angels’ was going to be my Twefth Step, aimed at helping other alcholics get into Recovery. With the news that a program aimed at saving the lives of many, is now dissolved by the President of the United States, the last pieces of the puzzle fall into place.

There appears to be a consortium of very wealthy souls who are determined to destroy their opposition – once and for all. When I saw Christopher Plummer talking about how J.P. Getty bought up much of the world’s art in order to keep from paying his Income Tax, and after complaining his Boheman offspring were unwilling to be members of his “Dynasty”, and when I saw and read how stingy he was, and, really did not want to see any of his children succeed, I understood J.Paul was………ADDICTED TO TAX EVASION!

No sooner did he become the richest man on earth, then they came unto him, and showed him The Ropes. They scoffed at him, made him feel puny and impotent because he was wiling to pay his taxes. They told him his money will end up in the hands of ‘The Scume of the Earth’. This is why the Getty Family hires the like of Lawrence Chazen a CEO of Nobel Oil, who set up this company in Rougemont Switzerland, so it will not be an American Company. The A flew the coup like so many have.

As the Getty Movie came to an end, I had an epiphemy. In theory, that tax money belongs to me – and All the American People! I am the Acme Scum of the Earth. I am a poor Bohemian Artist and founder of The Bohemian Bank. In theory, I OWN ALL THE ART that J.Paul amassed in his madness. The suggestion he was the reincarnation of a Roman Emperor, is just a ruse, a somecreen. However, one should choose THEIR MASK wisely.

You see, Emperor Hadrian built a famous wall, like the one Donald Trump wants to build. Donald has been compared to Emperor Caligula. What does Caligula and Hadrian have in common?…………..They defiled the House of God in Jerusalem, and waged war against Jewish Saints, and the Nazarites. Hadrian waged war against the Army of the Last Messiah – and won! HE DEFEATED GOD! His Victory caused much Earth History to be altered. This is why Emperor Constantine backed Saint Paul’s version of Christianity. The Revolt  of the Morning Star was still alive in the British Isles! I am talking about a Holy World War! Stay tuned, folks. This is BIG – really BIG!

Several days ago was the anniversary of the death of my kindred, Carrie Fischer, and her mother, Debbie Reynolds. The new Star Wars came out on Christmas Day – too! The Getty Movie is about the real attempt to Save the Earth. I am ‘The Force’. My enemies did not know I was kin to Liz and Aileen. This is ‘The Creative and Healing Dynasty’ that Emperor-Trump is trying to destroy from his Dark Tower.

Wake up! Here is THE DEED! Like most despots, their want and need to be immortal, bites them in the ass. They die. Their work is left unfinished, thus the need for like-minded Heirs to carry on. The curtain is parted, there is a stairway to a world, a place………. that defies reality. Rich people do not have to live in reality. Only they get to say they are liken to the gods, and get away with it. Jesus was a poor man.

Jon Presco

‘The Nazarite’

P.S. Zsa Zsa Gabor and I are in the same Rosy Family Tree, she the second wife of Conrad Hilton. Liz is the first. I am a Poor Man! I came in the window, like a thief in the night.

“The meek shall inherit the earth!”

She had me cornered. I was trying to reason with her and get away before things got out of hand. She kept coming at me, and the bed was right there, so I finally whapped her. And it was like Bozo the clown. She bounced off the bed as if nothing had happened, and just kept right on coming. I was finally able to get around and out of the room, and years later I asked her if she remembered me slapping her during that episode. She had no memory of it whatever.”

The remaining members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS were fired en masse this week.

Months after a half-dozen members resigned in protest of the Trump administration’s position on health policies, the White House dismissed the rest through a form letter.

The notice “thanked me for my past service and said that my appointment was terminated, effective immediately,” said Patrick Sullivan, an epidemiologist at Emory University who works on HIV testing programs. He was appointed to a four-year term in May 2016.

Christopher Edward Wilding was born on 27 February 1955 at New Westminster, Vancouver, British Columbia, CanadaG.1 He is the son of Michael Wilding and Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor.1 He married Aileen Getty, daughter of Sir John Paul Getty II and Gail Harris, circa 1980.1 He and Aileen Getty were divorced in 1989. 

I am looking for descendants of Philip Rosemond and Moses Morton Rosemond
who lived in Guernsey County, OH in the mid-1800s. This family descended
from a James Rosemond who lived in County Leitrim, Ireland in the early
1700s. Other members of this same family settled in Lanark, Ontario, Canada.
The southern Rosamond family is also said to be descended from this same
family, as are the Rosamond families in Australia and New Zealand. I am
trying to tie all the branches of the family together. The information on
the family in Guernsey County, OH is shown below. I’d appreciate hearing
from anyone who has any information regarding this family.
The reference for the earlier generations of this family is the booklet “The
History of the Rosemond Family” by Leland Eugene Rosemond, 1939.
Descendants of Moses Morton Rosemond
Generation No. 1
was born Bet. 1843 – 1845 in Guernsey County, Ohio5,6. He married MARTHA E
LIKES7,8 26 Jul 1868 in Guernsey County, OH9. She was born Abt. 1847 in
Marriage: 26 Jul 1868, Guernsey County, OH9
2.i.ELIZABETH MARY12 ROSEMOND, b. Jun 1869, Guernsey County,
Ohio; d. 1937, Arkansas City, Cowley County, Kansas.
Never married.
Never married.
Generation No. 2
ROUGEMONT)9,10 was born Jun 1869 in Guernsey County, Ohio, and died 1937 in
Arkansas City, Cowley County, Kansas. She married FRANCIS MARION TAYLOR
Abt. 1895, son of PETER TAYLOR and MARGARET PERIGO. He was born Abt. 1860
in California, and died 1946.
Marriage: Abt. 1895
3.i.FRANCES LYNN13 TAYLOR, b. 28 Dec 1897, Springfield, Sangamon
County, Illinois; d. 20 Nov 1968, Los Angeles County, California.

The Bar Kokhba revolt greatly influenced the course of Jewish history and the philosophy of the Jewish religion. Despite easing the persecution of Jews following Hadrian’s death in 138 CE, the Romans barred Jews from Jerusalem, except for attendance in Tisha B’Av. Jewish messianism was abstracted and spiritualized, and rabbinical political thought became deeply cautious and conservative. The Talmud, for instance, refers to Bar Kokhba as “Ben-Kusiba,” a derogatory term used to indicate that he was a false Messiah. It was also among the key events to differentiate Christianity as a religion distinct from Judaism.[18] Although Jewish Christians regarded Jesus as the Messiah and did not support Bar Kokhba,[19] they were barred from Jerusalem along with the other Jews.[20]

Frank Henry, Fruit Grower, Oil Operator and Capitalist, San Francisco and Vacaville, California, was born in Cortland County, New York, June 8, 1859, the son of Leonard William Buck and Anna Maria (Bellows) Buck. He married Miss Anna Elizabeth Stevenson at Vacaville, California, on April 29, 1886, and to them there have been born two sons, Frank Henry, Jr., and Leonard William Buck. He comes from clean, wholesome stock, English on the paternal side and Irish on the maternal, inheriting from both, characteristics which have aided him achieving his success.

Mr. Buck’s education, so far as actual schooling is concerned, was limited to the public school of Clinton, Iowa, and to the high school of the same place, from which latter he was graduated when he was only fourteen years of age. Two years later, in 1875, he removed with his father to California and with him entered the fruit-growing business, specializing in deciduous fruits. That was the beginning of his career, his operations having expanded with the years to the point where he is interested in several different lines of activity and an important factor in the development and success of a score of substantial corporations.

For the first few years after his arrival in California, Mr. Buck confined himself to fruit growing, making a special study of the business, with the result that he built up a reputation that has redounded alike to the credit of Vacaville, Solano County, the State of California, and himself. He operates his fruit business under the name of the Frank H. Buck Fruit & Shipping Company, and to all who are familiar with his work for the fruit industry, covering a period of more than thirty-five years, his name is synonymous with the growth of this, one of California’s largest and most important branches of commerce. He is President of the company named, and also of the California Fruit Distributors, of Sacramento.

Aside from his fruit business, Mr. Buck has other extensive interests and since 1898 has been one of the leading oil producers of California. He first became interested in oil in 1898 and the following year yielded to the excitement growing out of the discovery of the celebrated Kern County fields of California, investing heavily in oil lands and companies at the outset. With characteristic energy he soon took a leading part in the development of the then new industry and was one of the organizers of the Associated Oil Company, now ranked among the largest and most profitable concerns operating in the California fields. He also was a stockholder and Director in the Chicago Crude Oil Company, the Toltec and the Astec Oil Companies. These companies, with several others, were merged into the Associated Oil Company and he has continued a member of the Board of Directors of the larger concern, being on the Executive Committee.

Mr. Buck is interested in various other oil corporations, including the Amalgamated Oil Company, an allied corporation of the Associated Oil Company; the West Coast Oil Company, the Sterling Oil & Development Company, the Associated Pipe Line, the Transportation Company and the Belridge Oil Company, in all of which he holds office as a Director. The last named company has holdings in the Lost Hills District aggregating thirty-one thousand acres of land in process of development.

Mr. Buck is interested as a stockholder and Director in the Rodeo Land & Water Co., of Los Angeles, which owns 3100 acres of land near Los Angeles. The townsite of Beverly stands on part of this land

Mr. Buck is President of the Booth-Kelly Lumber Company, of Eugene, Oregon, and has heavy timber holdings in that section of the Northwest. He also is a Director of the Bakersfield Iron Works.

Despite the diversity of his interests, Mr. Buck has taken a keen interest in public affairs in his home town and the State at large for more than a quarter of a century. He was Vice President of the California State Board of Horticulture and for twelve years was President of the Board of Town Trustees of Vacaville (Incorporated), in which position he took a prominent part in the government of the town.

Mr. Buck is a prominent Mason, a Knight Templar and Odd Fellow, and a member of various clubs, including the Bohemian, of San Francisco; the Pacific-Union of the same city, the San Francisco Gold and Country Club, the Claremont Country Club, of Oakland, California, and the Sutter Club, of Sacramento, California.

Sharon Stone will present the honor to Taylor’s former daughter-in-law

Long live Elizabeth Taylor‘s legacy.

Emmy award-winning actress Sharon Stone will present the inaugural Elizabeth Taylor Leadership Award to philanthropist Aileen Getty at the 2014 Angel Awards, The Hollywood Reporter has learned exclusively.

Getty, Taylor’s former daughter-in-law, founded both the Aileen Getty Foundation and Gettlove, which helps the homeless in Hollywood find permanent housing. Together, Getty’s organizations work toward improving the community as a whole, including the fight against HIV/AIDS and mental illnesses.

Taylor was a supporter for Project Angel Food for more than 20 years. Her dedication to finding a cure for HIV/AIDS expanded into The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation and The American Foundation for AIDS Research (amFar). The six different amFar Inspiration Galas, each in different cities across the globe, draw support from A-listers including Marc Jacobs, Katy Perry and Jennifer Lopez. Stone is a advocate against HIV/AIDS herself, serving as amFar’s global fundraising chairman.

The award in Taylor’s name emerges as Project Angel Food celebrates its 25th anniversary. The Los Angeles-based nonprofit agency has delivered over 9 million free healthy meals and provided counseling to those with devastating illnesses.

The 2014 Angel Awards will take place on Sept. 6 at the Project Angel Food headquarters in Los Angeles. The ceremony will feature eats by Govind Armstrong of Post and Beam, Willie Jane and 8 Oz Burger Bar.

Soon thereafter, Standard Oil Company of New Jersey (now ExxonMobil), the largest stockholder in the original Tide Water company, set up the holding company Mission Corporation, to hold the stock of Tide Water Associated.[2] J. Paul Getty‘s purchase of Mission in 1937 set the stage for the birth of Tidewater as a major national player in the oil industry.

In 1936, the separate companies, Associated Oil Company and Tide Water, were dissolved into the holding company, now renamed Tidewater Associated Oil Company. Associated was based in San Francisco with a market area limited to the Far West. Associated, founded in 1901, had created the prominent Flying A brand for its premium-grade gasoline in 1932.

She hugs me hard, and she smells like heaven. Aileen Getty has just scurried down the stairs of her Hollywood hillside home to greet me, even though I’ve only dropped by to pick up a videotape of her Dateline NBC appearance and hadn’t expected to see her. But here she is, fresh off a three-day hospital stay, and she hugs me, an utter stranger, with an earnest abandon that’s often missing in the arms of one’s closest friends. She is a wisp of a thing, dressed in a white gauze blouse and a sarong-like skirt the color of Caribbean water. In her sense of style there is a lifetime of money and a veneer of confidence, but in her demeanor there is an unnerving lack of guile, the kind of uncertainty that comes from doing time in the depths of loneliness. I am fascinated by her, and thus I am flustered.

“Do you want an iced tea?” she asks, furrowing her brow and scratching her forehead a little nervously. “Some water?”

“No,” I say, “I’m fine. I, um, I have to get back to the office.”

With that, I flee down the stone steps and the long, steep driveway through the verdigris gate. I don’t think I thanked her.

It would be nice to write about Aileen Getty without identifying her first as an heiress, as the granddaughter of the late oil baron J. Paul Getty, as the sister of Paul, who lost an ear to Italian gangsters at 16 and his lucidity to a stroke at 25. Aileen would probably appreciate a description of herself so separate from her legacy, distanced as she seems from it, damaged as she has been by the side effects of privilege. But such an independent identity will never be hers to enjoy, in her lifetime or after, so let’s get it over with: Aileen Getty is the 36-year-old daughter of Jean Paul Getty, Jr. by his first wife, Gail; she should be partial heir to her family’s $750 million share of the J. Paul Getty fortune. Which only means that when Aileen has a showing of her art at a gallery, the critics get more pissed off than usual if they don’t like the art. It also means that now, deep in the throes of her 11-year-long battle with AIDS, she doesn’t have to worry so much about how to pay her medical bills.

What she does worry about is being misunderstood for all that she believes and represents. Aileen Getty is full of metaphors and imagery and lists of pronouncements about life, death and being a Getty, and she has paid dearly for her frankness. Her recent interview with Jane Pauley of Dateline stands as a cautionary example of what can happen to someone this young, beautiful, famous and sick with AIDS: You muster the will to speak up about your illness and get rewarded with shame. The Dateline footage is painful to watch: As Aileen struggles through a medicated haze to explain her complicated life lessons in soundbites suitable for broadcast, Pauley, well-coiffed and smug, poses for a camera that’s far more sympathetic to her networked-over persona than it is to her subject. “I’m happy I have AIDS,” says Aileen, in all her unstudied candor. Pauley frowns, and tilts her head quizzically to one side. “Can you explain that to me?“ she demands. ”Oh!“ Aileen backtracks. ”You must think I’m a total idiot.”

In fact, Pauley does seem to consider Aileen some degree of idiot, and later in the broadcast she does her best to convince her viewers of the same. It only helps Pauley’s mission that Aileen was admittedly “using and not clear,” at the time of the interview. It also helps that Aileen made this confession in a letter to her father, which he promptly and considerately faxed to Pauley.

Like I said: It would be nice to write about Aileen and not dwell on the peculiarities of the Getty family. It seems far more worthwhile, at this point, to dwell instead on what it means when Aileen says, not like a total idiot but as a woman who’s taken the hard, long road to truth, that AIDS, in her words, “is a phenomenal gift.”

If it hadn’t been for HIV, I would still be a victim,“ Aileen says. ”Victimized by my parents, by my legacy, by life. I’d been in seven institutions, I’d had 12 shock treatments, I’d had seven miscarriages. I was anorexic, a self-mutilator. I’d been there and back.“ In the most simplistic terms, it sounds like she was making one desperate bid for attention after another. ”Right,“ says Aileen. ”And the ultimate attention comes from death, and now I’ve got AIDS. I think it’s probably been a lifetime of trying to die in order to be loved.” If this version of Aileen Getty, the one I sit down with two days after our first brief meeting, has little in common with the feckless child on the Dateline videotape, she has just as little in common with the composed, preppy-looking woman smiling out from her publicity photos. When she welcomes me to her house this time with somewhat — but not a whole lot — more reserve, I wonder not how the girl who had everything got so messed up, but how the woman whose father faxed her personal correspondence to Jane Pauley remains so unguarded, so dangerously honest, in the presence of a journalist. “I don’t have a choice,” she explains when I ask her why she’d ever consent to another interview. “I feel a responsibility to be public, although it’s not my nature to be public.

“I’m not always familiar with the things that I’ve said, because before I speak or do any interview, I always pray,” says Aileen, who believes in Jesus but not necessarily in church. “I’m terrified of the public and I’m terrified of interviews and I’m terrified of cameras, and I always pray to be a vehicle for something larger than myself. I always pray to not be myself so I don’t really relate to anything outside of the situation right here. But when you’re public domain you do feel like, a…what are they called? Those Motel 8’s or whatever. I feel industrialized. Fortunately, I don’t suffer from it, I don’t take it to bed with me. I live actually a very simple life, a very unglamorous life, a very real, good life. A real good life. I love my life.”

It is early March, one of those stunning days in Southern California when the air is suddenly full of jasmine and the breeze is warm but as yet smog-free; the kind of day that makes it hard to think about leaving this world. The sun is beating down on Aileen’s brutally sunny patio, but she is soaking in it, draped in a black dress over black suede Doc Marten boots, her long, silky brown hair brushed back over one side of her face. Her 12-week-old German shepherd puppy, Texas, scrambles around our feet and tugs at Aileen’s sleeves, much to the dismay of Aileen’s manager, Steve Grissom, who is doing his best to control a situation that will forever be out of anyone’s control. In his friend and client’s own best interest, Steve would really prefer that Aileen avoid talking too much about drugs and out-of-body experiences. But Aileen, ever the rebel, is adamant. “Don’t avoid the drug issue,” she advises in a voice made husky and nasal by cigarettes and tuberculosis, and in an accent that betrays her multilingual childhood. “It’s not something I want to avoid. I think it’s very important to deal with drugs and HIV. It’s very prevalent. They’re two separate diseases, both lethal. But just because you’ve got HIV it doesn’t automatically put alcoholism into remission.”

In fact, Aileen attests, AIDS too often exacerbates addiction. “Drugs are about control over fear,” she says, “and when you have AIDS, your lack of control is all that much more evident. I tried to make up for that lack of being in control with a lot of cocaine. That’s definitely not the way to do it.”

It has been nearly three months since Aileen nearly died, of toxicity and weakness, in her doctor’s office, and nearly three months since she made a commitment to get sober. “I was clinically dead,” she says. “I went through the whole out-of-body experience and everything; it was probably the clearest memory I’ve ever had. And there was a moment where I got to choose whether to come back or not, and I didn’t know if I wanted to live. I have a lot of shame about that,” she confesses. “Life is given to one with so much love. It broke my heart when I realized I’d turned my back on it.”

“On the lip of life,” as she puts it, Aileen chose life; she learned to “walk its circumference instead of fucking it down the middle.” And she finally understood she didn’t want either disease to kill her. “It’s a hell of an achievement,” she boasts, “to get sober with HIV.” Aileen has known since 1985 that she was HIV positive, and shortly afterward she was diagnosed with AIDS. But it wasn’t until 1991, after Magic Johnson disclosed his condition to the media, that Aileen went public, too, via Kevin Sessums in Vanity Fair, “because HIV was something that required a woman to stand up and speak the truth.” Aileen’s truth came in increments at first. She initially claimed that she’d become infected through a blood transfusion, but within the year, as her support increased and shame diminished, she admitted that she had contracted HIV from unprotected sex in an extramarital affair — a disclosure that, at the time, led to the dissolution of her eight-year marriage to Christopher Wilding, Elizabeth Taylor’s son by Michael Wilding.

Aileen is now engaged to be remarried, to 40-year-old documentary filmmaker Jay Brown, but Taylor has remained the woman Aileen calls mom, and her former daughter-in-law’s illness has added fuel to Taylor’s ongoing fundraising efforts for AIDS research and treatment. In the past four years, Aileen has become an activist, too: Around the same time that her story hit the media, Homestead Hospice, a Los Angeles-based network of shelters for people with AIDS, approached her about sponsoring a home for women with the disease, and her energy helped establish a house in the South Bay city of Lawndale called the Dallas House, named for a boy Aileen mothered for five years. Aileen hopes to open a second hospice in Hollywood, calling it the Aileen Getty House. “It’s a wish,” she says. “But money is hard to come by, and raising it is very political. People expect commendation and notoriety for their generosity. Obviously, it’s a lot more inviting to give to the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation than it is to give to the Homestead Hospice.”

Part of the startup money for the Dallas House came from a benefit performance of The Seagull at LA’s Fountain Theater, which Aileen’s friend Bud Cort staged in her honor. On the night of the performance, Aileen was hospitalized with tuberculosis. And to the delight of theatergoers, Elizabeth Taylor showed up in her place.

The Dallas House also receives proceeds from sales of L.A. Eyeworks “Luck” glasses, which Aileen models in a pensive, chiaroscuro magazine ad. The money helps sustain the house’s $165,000 annual operating budget; it helps “keep our girls in bed and fed,” Aileen says. It’s a meager budget, says house manager Joan Crawford, who relies heavily on volunteeers from the community, and this time of year finds herself making frequent visits to the food shelves. “It’s pinched,” she says. “I’m operating on a shoestring.” (“Of course,” she adds cheerfully, “around the holidays our cupboards are overflowing.”) Dallas died of AIDS three years ago, at the age of 11; a smiling, handsome portrait of him in a football jersey hangs on Aileen’s living room wall. But “there’s more to Dallas than the Dallas House,” Aileen announces, taking off her right boot and rolling down her sweatsock to reveal an elaborate tattoo. The tattoo bears the names of the two sons she had with Wilding, Caleb, now 12, and Andrew, 11, their names joined in a rosary with Dallas.

“Andreew! Andreeeeew! Dove estare?!“ Aileen is marching around the house, feigning authority, as her housekeeper, Sandra, stands in the kitchen pretending to be bewildered. ”He’s hiding,” Sandra whispers, putting a finger to her lips. Aileen continues stomping about, whimsically demanding to know her son’s whereabouts at once. Suddenly, Andrew springs from behind a chair in the corner of the kitchen, laughing raucously. We all act terribly surprised.

Andrew’s brother, Caleb, is out for the day with friends, and Andrew himself has spent most of the morning upstairs playing Myst on the Macintosh. He’s a stout, happy-looking kid, old enough to know that men in this culture shake hands in professional situations, but not jaded enough to be committed to the ritual. “Nice to meet you!” he says, perfunctory and matter-of-fact, and shakes my hand for that necessary instant before running off to continue his activities. As he walks away, I notice he’s wearing a Cowboys cap. Across the back, it reads “Dallas.” “They’re both wonderful, wonderful, wonderful children and my very best friends,” says Aileen. Working out custody with Wilding hasn’t been a battle, she says, so much as a series of negotiations. “Things work out very well for the most part. I’m looking forward to six months of sobriety so that during the weekends they can spend the night here, because as of now they can only stay until the evening and then they go back to their father. I drug-test in a few more months, and I’ll have the time and the required amount of tests to be able to have them sleep here.”

It sounds like that future should be an incentive to secure her sobriety, but according to Aileen, alcoholism doesn’t work that way. “Unfortunately, it’s such a cunning, evil disease, that there’s really no such thing as an incentive. There’s only a change of will.”

Caleb and Andrew know everything about their mother’s life, Aileen says; about both her addiction and her HIV status. Honesty has been “really, really important” in their upbringing, and while there are many people who would take issue with that strategy, Aileen’s defense of it hints at the deprivation she suffered in her own childhood. “I feel so strongly that if you deal with things in the present as they’re happening, you have a far better chance of being able to cope with life, of being able to balance joy and grief, as opposed to trying to rehabilitate memories,” she says. “Memories are not based in truth, and therefore they can’t be treated symptomatically, appropriately.

“Everyone has a right to participate in one’s life and in one’s death. I think I would rob my children of something they have a right to if I were to not tell them that I was supposedly going to die, or that I’m an alcoholic. They have that right to confront those challenges now, rather than later. And I think that oftentimes what we call grief after death is not grief but guilt, regret that we have not fully participated in the life of a loved one. There’s more guilt to grief than sadness.”

Guilt is not an emotion Aileen Getty has much interest in these days, unless she’s working on eradicating it from her life and, to hear her talk, from everyone else’s. Her contention that AIDS has improved her life is loaded and controversial, implying as it does that everyone who suffers a tragedy does so for a pre-ordained — or at least meaningful — reason. I admit to her that when I recently broke my finger — a trivial accident, to be sure — there was a part of me that wanted it to happen. “Well, not wanted…“ I start to modify that statement, but Aileen stops me. ”No! Say it! Really, it’s OK. I’m proud of you for admitting that! That’s so cool.”

“But it’s radical,” I remind her. “People get angry when you talk about it, they think you’re saying they caused their own troubles.”

“It’s only radical,” she corrects, “because we’re dishonest. There are no mistakes and no one’s guilty of anything. I don’t have bad parents, I haven’t been a bad child. Everything that’s been given to me and I’ve given has been exactly what’s been needed, and what’s been given to me has sustained my life to this day. And this day is perfect, therefore what’s been given to me is perfect.”

The view from Aileen’s patio today is perfect indeed. Hollywood lies at her feet in a sprawl of low-lying buildings, and when the sun is in the right place — neither too low on the horizon nor too bright and high — you can see the Pacific Ocean sparkling from miles away. Although she has just had her third encounter with a stalker, the gate at the bottom of the driveway remains open to the world, a defiant gesture to the “obese fear ghosts” Aileen has been beating down for most of her life. Looking out on this vista, I wonder if she believes in her heart everything she’s saying, and how long she’ll believe it. How long she’ll be able to sustain her strained soul on the love she says AIDS left her with after it stripped everything else away; the one thing she never had handed to her on that proverbial silver spoon.

She tells me that AIDS is a phenomenal episode in history. “It’s the greatest war we’ve ever fought, and the most cunning of all because all we’ve got are weapons. We’re about artillery as opposed to love. And it’s love that will heal this ailment.”

Aileen says now that she’s dedicating her life to eliminating the public’s fear of AIDS and the people who have it, “so that people can learn to share this virus with us.” She is working on a book and a public-service announcement for NBC. She’d like to do an HIV-related comedy show, “something MTV-ish,” according to Grissom.

“My whole purpose,” she concludes, “is to welcome people inside the burning house.”

And how, I wonder, do you do that?

“By loving them. And knowing I can put out the fire.”

About Royal Rosamond Press

I am an artist, a writer, and a theologian.
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1 Response to My Art Dynasty

  1. Reblogged this on Rosamond Press and commented:

    In the series ‘Trust’ once again I saw the Flying A.

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