There’s a lot of things having a fever will do to you, and now that it’s past I can say one of the benefits was an extremely strong remembrance — like a sense memory. It goes like this: I was home from college on a break, I was sleeping in my old room, and I got very sick. I had a rough night and I remember my father patting my face dry with a towel while the rest of the city was silent and sleeping, and standing in a fresh pair of pajamas kind of wobbly in the knees while Dad whisked the sweat soaked sheets off the bed and made it fresh, with neatly folded precise hospital corners. In the morning, instead of going into work he took me into his cardiologist. It was an office on Camden Drive (I think). I remember a red brick building and a middle-aged man sitting behind a desk in a paneled room, probably modeled after the interior of a Harley Street specialist — it didn’t look like any other doctor’s office I’d been in before. Soon I was in an aqua green windowless chamber standing up for a chest x-ray and the next thing I knew I was walking into a pharmacist’s shop with my father — that I also didn’t recognize. I could swear there were apothecary jars lined up along dark empty aisles and there was a glow in the back of the pharmacy and the deep soothing rumble of voices… Gregory Peck was at the counter speaking to a man in a white smock. My immediate reaction (and of course I knew better) was, “Look, Scout’s dad is here.” Really, Mr. Peck’s hair was nearly silver, he had on a pair of those over-sized 1980s glasses, and I think he was wearing a fisherman’s sweater… But, this is what I saw and felt clean down to my toes:
You know, sometimes it’s not so bad being identified with a role.
The photo is by Leo Fuchs, photographer and later a film producer. Leo Fuchs Archives | Golden Age of Hollywood