Lee Wochner: Writer. Director. Writing instructor. Thinker about things.


A monk, a clown and a convict walk onto a porch…

…And yell out, “Trick or treat!”

Much like the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the number of kids we get for Halloween can fluctuate wildly. Two years ago we had 110; this year we had 27. In addition to the monk, the clown, and the escaped convict, we had a toddler princess, a vampire queen, a dinosaur, a bunch of bananas (kids from the same family, I assume), a Harry Potter, the Evil Queen from “Snow White,” a failed attempt at the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man, and assorted tries at terrifying get-ups. We had none of the most terrifying get-up — that would be Donald Trump as president — and also a middle-school kid who came as a bear. I found that one most puzzling:  Who goes out for Halloween as a bear? Where do you even get a bear costume? It’s things like this that really make Halloween the occasion for people to express themselves as individuals.

This Halloween coincides, as all Halloweens do, with my wedding anniversary. As of today I’ve been married for 30 years — to the same woman! When I shared this with somebody today he was dumbstruck — like he’d spotted a unicorn or a visitor from another planet, or even a kid who dresses as a bear for Halloween. “You should write a book!” he said in all seriousness. When he learned that I’m not originally from L.A., and that Valorie and I got married when we still lived in New Jersey, that lessened his shock, before he said, “But still!”

Our wedding was a big costume party at a rented hall that I’m told doesn’t exist any more. (Similarly, three of the theatres where I’ve been produced are no more either. One thing about living long enough:  You close down venues.) We didn’t tell people in advance that we were going to get married; we simply sent out invitations that read “You are invited to a masquerade ball.” Then, in much smaller lettering beneath that, it read: “Plus a wedding.” There was much initial tsuris about this among some family members — were we serious? marriage isn’t meant to be a joke! what if we’re the only ones to come in costume?!?!? — but on the day about 200 people showed up in costume. Today, a good friend of mine posted a whole bunch of photos on Facebook from that party. It was nice to see so many friends and family again:  Groucho Marx and Mae West, the Arab sheik, the jester, the knave, Gomez Adams, the flasher, and others. This was one ceremony where when the bride said her new mother-in-law was a witch, it was true.
Halloween2015Valorie had to work tonight (she saves lives three or four nights a week at our local hospital), so we exchanged cards and a kiss. We’re crazy busy this time of year, but we’re going to celebrate a little tomorrow night, heading out to dinner at Salt’s Cure, which made Jonathan Gold’s List of 101 Best Places to Eat in L.A. (while draining your wallet), then we’re seeing Ricky Gervais at the Dolby Theatre. And then we’ll take a trip in the spring, when our schedules permit.

This morning, I shared this photo on Facebook of us in our Halloween costumes from two years ago. Look how beautiful this woman is! I kept going back to it throughout the day. Meow! We took this photo just before heading over to the party of a couple who have since then sadly divorced. Realizing that just makes me feel all the luckier.

3 Responses to “A monk, a clown and a convict walk onto a porch…”

  1. Dan Says:

    You’re a lucky man!

  2. Uncle Rich Says:

    That was one heck of a wedding! First time my wife Ruth and I met young Joe Stafford. The wedding party in those great historical-type costumes. The Halloween themed cake. YAY!

    Happy Anniversary, you crazy kids. And many more.

  3. Jim Markley Says:

    You are correct; Quail Hill Inn has been razed to its concrete slab foundation. Still, it played host to the second best wedding I’ve ever attended. I was Judge Robert Bork, if you recall. You guys really did look amazing in your coordinating 18th century aristocratic costumes. So much fun, and 30 years really is a milestone, whether in California or New Jersey! Congratulations to both of you!

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