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Archive for the ‘Alcoholism’ Category

The  big door opened and I moved my head slowly in; then my body followed, half with fear and half curiosity, also a weird air of hope. “Pase, pase, Señora,” a voice came out from this large mahogany desk behind which a gentleman stood up, stretching his hand to me, “Welcome… please sit down.” This nice old colonial-style room with expensive looking antique furniture; the room had a high ceiling, and this short good looking older men was directing all his attention to me. He seemed to be saying to himself, “What am I going to do with this young Lady?” Curiosity seized my soul, so firmly and quickly I went up to this man and shook his outstretched hand, saying, “Como esta Ud. Señor?” (in Spanish of course). In so many words he made me welcome, after this initial formality that I knew so well. I asked, “Where am I? and how long will I be here?”  “Oh, that depends on your lawyer,” he assured me. I did not know I had one! I never met him, but I did not want to question my situation and was satisfied with being here and not there in that pocilga. Leaving his office, he said, “Just sit on the bench back there. If any news comes, my secretary Senorita Pepita will let you know…” I could only say “Gracias Señor Rodriguez”

At home writing my life, it seems like a movie

At home writing my life, it seems like a movie

No one stopped me from walking around, looking and inspecting this cazona. I was kind of free, and it felt great, walking around looking, hoping to get same rum or aguardiente, anything to calm the insanity going on in my head. I found the location of the kitchen, or what was supposed to be a sort of kitchen. I kept walking on into this big room like a storeroom, a gigantic space piled high with boxes of what looked like powder milk and more boxes and people behind the counter going through papers. The secretary of señor Rodriguez was giving instructions which I did not understand clearly, and towards the front of the room near the street was a long counter separating the room in half. A long counter so that the people entering from the street couldn’t reach the boxes on the other side. Then I went walking toward what looked like the patio I had seen when I walked in. But now I could see clearly there were many men in there: Why? I thought I understood why they were there, but I didn’t know why I was here at all?

So I went back to my bench and soon it was closing time. Everybody was going home except for a couple more policemen who arrived, maybe four or five; one or two of them went to the patio where the men prisoners were, and one went to the front doors looking and closing them better. Two of them sat by a table not far from my bench. I wanted to sleep, so after yawning and  saying goodnight, I said to them “I wish I could have a drink of something strong? my nerves are going to explode!”,  Pedro said, “We’ll see,” so I just had a glass of water.

Me now, Painting writing living to which I am getting costume to it

Me now, Painting writing living to which I am getting costume to it

I was still shaking a little, because there weren’t  any women there that I could see, except the old lady  in the corner at La bodega de la esquina.  The front door was half open with the policia talking to the one standing  in the street. I finally closed my eyes and in no time I felt someone standing in front of me , I opened my eyes in fear and there was Pepe with that crocodile smile, picara, passing into my hands a flask of rum and a package of cigarettes, I asked, ” Cuanto le debo?” but he replied , nada (nothing);,

God bless this guy, I’ll never forget him.

I drank up all that little bottle of rum and lay down again on the bench in a fetal position, with whatever I had as a pillow and went to sleep feeling okay: God had not forgotten about me.

Snoring in a sound sleep,  I was brutally awakened by the screaming siren of a police car, and through the  big central door came a few more drunk men covered in bruises.  My God,  they must have been beaten by the policemen! I did not move, I just lay there watching them all go straight into that patio where all those other men were…

Let’s get back to that dream whatever it was! Anything would be better than this..

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We walked a few minutes down the little trail where there was no one around us, but there was a big tree in the tropical jungle providing shade, so I said “Let’s have a drink.”  “From where?” said Tad, “there’s nothing here no tiendas.” Well it just so happened that I had a bottle of rum and some cookies. So we sat on a limb of a tree near the entrance of a small river, where there were many places for little boats to get in and unload their merchandise. We were too tired and hungry to be concerned about anything but getting to Medellin for a hotel, rest and relaxation, after all this ordeal.

The sun was up and getting warmer, the tropical humidity was going to be very high from the shores now. We still had to walk through this unknown land, when finally we saw a real road! “Hey look at this, we are getting close!” Then we walked to what now became a highway with cars going and coming, so we hitched a ride too Medellin. What a beautiful city! We went to the first hotel that seemed okay, even if it was not classy, and we took a room. By that point, we did not care.

After sleeping and resting for a few hours, then getting ready to see the city and exchange some money, Tad asked me, “where first?” I said, “the bank I think.” So we went to the Bank to exchange money. There was music everywhere already playing in the early afternoon, with people dancing on the streets. It seemed that happiness prevailed everywhere.

Which bank, I don’t remember, but the exchange rate was not as good as we expected. So we went outside to see if any of the guys by the door who were approaching the people that entered the bank, to see if maybe they would have a better exchange rate, and they did. We proceeded to exchange the dollars Tad had to change.

Border Colombia and Venezuela waiting for Help S.O.S. .from

Border of Colombia and Venezuela 

Tad counted the money that the guy gave him, then I counted the money and gave it back to Tad. He counted it again and then the Columbian guy took the money from Tad and counted it again in front of us, then gave us the change money back correct. Everything was correct, and we went satisfied with the exchange of the money, happy, to the hotel to pay our bill.

But when we sat down and counted the money again, surprise! “What?!” Tad said with a loud voice. The whole amount was half of what it was supposed to be! We counted it once, twice, a third and fourth time. No, no, no good!  We had been fucked.

All of this contributed to my university; I know some fantastic people are saying that they went to the university of life. Many famous millionaires and other amazing people were educated that way, but I had the heart of a gentle gazelle, which was soon turning into a Cossack Warrior, awakening that nomad in me, including the drinking part.

We had certainly been taken by these Colombian con-men, for all that money, which thankfully did not stop Tad  from taking us out to dance and see a little of the nightlife in Medellin.

Oil in Maracaibo, Venezuela

Oil in Maracaibo, Venezuela

We stayed in Medellin for a couple of days, and on the third day we ventured off to continue our journey to Venezuela then reached the route to Maracaibo.

We went through an incredibly beautiful jungle, with houses along the route, little huts of vendors of tropical fruit and the smell of mangos, bananas, and ananas (pineapples) like delightful flowers. We spent another couple of days enjoying the Colombian countryside from Medellin to the border with Venezuela, and from Maracaibo we were to fly to Canaima. Maracaibo is located in the Lago de Maracaibo, Estado (state) Zulia, Venezuela, which is the largest lake in all of Venezuela and one of the largest places for oil extraction. The temperature is over 100 degrees fahrenheit everyday and only slightly cooler at night.

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We sat and waited on a broken bench with all our belongings, near the boat dock, as we watched the sunset. Then slowly, hesitatingly, we went over to the boat where the captain’s men were loading refrigerators and boxes full of other things; we waited to the side until they finished loading. Finally, it was getting dark, and that night there was no moon, so it was a smuggler’s perfect night, the boat would be very hard to see. There was contraband on board for sure, but even if they were transporting drugs nobody would be able to see us.

Waking around the Las Palms looking for a owner of a boat  that may takes to the shores of Colombia

Walking around the Las Palmas looking for an owner of a boat that may take us to the shores of Colombia

Captain Juan made a sign to us, waving his big hand, “Come on.” We got onto his boat while the crew prepared to cast out, untying the ropes. We put our belongings in a little corner space and just watched the show.

The sailors were just like Captain Jack Sparrow’s pirate crew; one of them had a scar over his face, another had one arm, and they all looked very terrifying. We were as careful as we could be not to leave our things out, and even so, we were soon missing some money from Tad’s bag.  But I had nothing of importance, so I was just watching Tads stuff.

We were too excited to go to sleep, so we asked for some sodas and paid for it. At about 4am we stopped in a shallow of a small river, and the captain, with a machete in one hand, came to us– almost scaring us to death! He said, “now my friends you are to go with him,” pointing to an ugly deformed man down in the water on a small dingy boat, loaded with a couple of boxes from our boat. “He will take you ashore to the Colombian shore!” So it was gracias and adios! I didn’t know if Tad knew about this arrangement, I couldn’t tell.

When and how some money disappeared from one of his bags remains a mystery to me because I did not leave his things, maybe when I went for a minute to the boat galley for some aguardiente or rum when Tad was asleep?

As we were walking, this women was standing next to this rotten boat whiting for her connection,  maybe her husband whit a contraband merchandise from Panam

As we were walking, this woman was standing next to a rotten boat waiting for her connection, maybe her husband with some contraband merchandise from Panama

We stepped down carefully onto a small boat, that looked like the water was almost up to the gunnels. I knew enough about boats to see that this was no good, plus this was a river of poisonous water snakes and big crocodilos. Our new Captain Raul is telling us with a knife on has sinch and a machete next to him, that was the reason why he was very well armed, meaning that he has a pistol, slowly I whisper to Tad, “you know? He can just kill us and we would never be found in these crocodile infested waters.”  We kept looking at him and being very alert, as usual we had no Plan A or B for what to do in that situation.

We had no weapons with us, not even a decent knife. I begin to pray and forget about my bottle of rum that I got from the cook. We said nothing, and sat on the end opposite to our new captain, his name he said repeatedly is Raul. I am sure none of the names were real! We whispered to each other as he started the little motor and we departed from captain Juan with a big smile, but which boat seems safer now?  This one is scarier! What would we do if he attacks us, takes our things and throw our bodies in the water?

Now we were really afraid. We said to each other, let’s sit a little further away, separately from each other, so we can defend ourselves better just in case he attack us. “OK?” I said to Tad. Yes was the answer, but we also did not want to be apart to far from each other in case the boat sinks. We were riding almost with water up to the gunnels of this little boat. I started a conversation with captain Raul, to distract him from looking at our luggage as much as possible and at me. Tad was telling him where we were from and that I was his aunt. Raul said it should soon be getting morning, we said to ourselves we hope. Dear God help us!

Tad was asking him how to get to Medellin from where he was going to let us off. Captain Raul said, it’s too far from the Pacific shores beach, you walk straight. It was still dark. We still could be killed by him or others that were waiting for him at the shore. At this time the stars became fewer, they seemed to have disappeared, a sign that very soon the sun would be coming up, just a few more hours to go. It was a full sky of stars, not that there were more stars, just that they were much brighter from the river. It was actually hard not to notice that fantastic sky in the middle of the dark waters. We were navigating in a very dark night, one of the darkest I ever remember seeing.

The light was coming slowly, slower than what we wanted! “Tad can you see land?” I asked. “Yes, we’re on the Pacific side, Colombia here we go!” he replied. “Hush,” I told him, “we are not completely safe yet,” still a long way from Medellin. Finally, after a little while we stopped, gave a tip to the captain and said our goodbyes and thanks, gracias and adios! With the outboard motor the boat couldn’t go any further, so we had to walk in the water to the shore. Captain Raul said adios, and again we said goodbye. After helping us out, he had a big smile on his face with all the front teeth broken. It was an even scarier face in the morning when he let us off. In those last dark minutes, we knew we could still be killed by him or maybe others that were waiting for him and his cargo at the shore.

Our bravery only can be described as naive, or a case of muchas bolas (a lot of balls)!

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During the great fish dinner, which was just enough for everybody, and as a matter of fact very well done by the chef of the Hotel, with the food, wine and conversation going on, Tad was just staring at me across the table and couldn’t take his eyes off me. My associate was not feeling that great, so he paid the bill or signed for it, and retired to the room. Some of us proceeded to go out and sit by the tables outside, where many a time Liz Taylor and Richard Burton would sit to drink.

Ludmila in Bora Bora with Jack

Ludmila in Bora Bora with Jack

Some people went to discos or to another bar by the sea, but we sat there talking and holding hands. He said come with me hitchhiking through Central America down to Venezuela! We’ll see your brother in the jungle and then I will be on my way to the corrida de toros in Pamplona, since I promised my friends I would be there this year. Then we’ll see each other when I am back in L.A or if you want to come with me to Spain. Boy oh boy I was not aware how far into the alcohol I was? Of course anything seems possible under Mr. Buzz.

It was not easy to say goodbye to my future partner, of course not any more than a business partner, but as of the moment I told him I was going to Central America and to Venezuela to see my brother. He knew better by then, what was really going on. With him I had a horrible situation; he almost did not want to give me back my passport, since he paid the hotel and flight and meals. I did not explain nada to him except that I was not coming back to L.A. with him, and that I was going to Yelapa. So I left him there with no remorse.

Cuernavaca whit friends and Tad

Cuernavaca with friends and Tad

Tad and I went on our merry-go-round, into the next town by the beach on the other side of Puerto Vallarta, Yelapa. In those years there were no roads or any way to go to this place, except by horse, mule or by boat. That was how the provisions arrived there, all the food and water. As we approached the place we saw its indescribable beauty, so unique, with high mountains coated in lush green jungle, and cliffs dropping into the sea. There were no beaches except where we arrived in the boat. We walked up and up the little dirt road full of palms trees and jungle shrubs after we got out of the boat. I remember that Octavio, my Chilean friend, had a wife living there with her new husband. So she was there and invited us to her gorgeous tall and spacious palapa. There was an incredible boutique of very fine things that the rich tourists  went crazy for! Tad met Ruth and she welcomed us, then offered us a drink– well, not any drink but one especially made for her by the indians in the mountain tops, real Mezcal that was so smooth and delicious. I asked for refills of course, a second and a third one. Tad was okay with one drink, but not me!

We found a cabana in the rocky area almost touching the water, where it was possible to get in the water carefully. We stayed there for three nights and it was fun. I drank all the time, and he read all the time, and it seemed the romance was progressing because we did not argue or step on each others toes. In the center of this mini pueblo there was an open bar and once in awhile they had movies. One particular night they had one, and what a surprise, I could not believe here of all places they were playing “Kaliman”! In this Mexican film was my friend of the parties in Hollywood and Mexico City Jeff Cooper.

Ludmila whit a German Von Boron in Cuernavaca

Ludmila with a German Von Boron in Cuernavaca

Staying there I remembered Bora Bora with my ex husband Jack, where we had a different time, cocaine and making love everywhere on the water, on the long solitary beaches and even in the golf cart! That was a little different from this intellectual romantic trip with Tad.

From there we went on to Cuernavaca, where I invited us to the house of Maria, my German friend. Her father was a well known archaeologist. She had a very romantic home, with beautiful landscaping, flowering gardens and trees everywhere. This was in Tepoztlan just a few minutes outside of Cuernavaca.

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We walked hand in hand, we talked, and we heard some far away music, very Mexican and romantic. Of all the composers of course it was one I knew very well– Agustin Lara! They were  playing “Mujer Mujer Divina” that he composed for all of the women he loved. But at that time Maria Felix was his great love, as I once was like every women he ever loved.

In Puerto Vallarta Ludmila after swimming.....

In Puerto Vallarta Ludmila after swimming

Then he got a bottle of good wine and we drank it sitting in the sand and watching the sunset. We did not speak much as we walked to my hotel and we said goodnight in front of my hotel room door, with the most innocent but passionate kiss I ever had. I went straight to the table where a bottle of Scotch was sitting, and I poured myself a stiff drink or two, and then went to bed.

The next morning when I walked in our bathroom, there on the floor were many papers and restaurant napkins folded. I sat on the john and started reading them, with my heart throbbing and goose pimples all over my skin. This is the starting process of being in love, how did they get here? I looked up behind me, at the wall up ahead, and saw a little window that was very high up, facing the corridor and the interior of our bathroom. It read that he had to see me again, please!

Ludmila coing to the river area whit local woman..

Ludmila at to the river area with local women

My friend was still in bad and very uncomfortable shape, so I went downstairs to the desk to ask for a massage, acupuncturist, or doctor. And there in the lobby he was sitting writing some magazine! We said hello and I invited him to the fish dinner that evening; we already invited a full table but I asked the chef to make one more space. I had a terrible night because of the pain of poor John, whose back was killing him and had to wait until later to get someone to ask for a doctor. It was a Sunday so not many people worked, not even in the emergency rooms, where they were open but there was no doctors available. I went upstairs after saying to Tad Gail that I was to talk to him and see him later that night, “can’t talk now, I must help my friend and business associate, he is not very well.” He stared in my eyes holding my hand and said, “I will be there– maybe we will talk after dinner?”

Modeling for a cover of a magazine

Modeling for a cover of a magazine

Today I know very well that I always needed to be in love, always, and especially when pain, distress or any crisis comes along that I cannot cope with. So when I am feeling that indescribable thing called love, anyone who was willing to give me attention and show of concern or care, I converted it into a love. Today I begin now to understand that, which at that time I was blind to due to alcohol. Under all that was a serious alcoholism in full bloom, you will say, and drugs! I think I agree now that it was the pain in my subconscious, from my childhood and youth that I masked by drinking, and using what appeared to be love. I found the only emotion to cover pain was love, or did I really ever love anyone?

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Octavio and I went to the mansion of Jaclyn Smith to apply for jobs, me for the chef cook and Octavio as the Mayordomo. Of course I was not acknowledging her knowing me, because now I was the makeup artist, and I would have to explain everything and it was not the time nor the place.

Ludmila and her great husband Jack Millman ready for the Christmas party in  Walt Disney

Ludmila and her great husband Jack Millman ready for the Christmas party in Walt Disney

Now working as a makeup artist I had to meet people in the business. I met the Clairol sub director, for whom I had a proposition about going to Mexico and trying to promote a new make up they just put out.

So we went to Puerto Vallarta where at that time I had some friends. The very next  day we were invited to the ex Mrs. Lavender and it was fantastic! We met some very important people for business and enjoyed ourselves very much. The next day we went to look at the boat that he rented and decided to go fishing for the day after the next.

After relaxing by the beach and having some margaritas, we went to our hotel in the center of Puerto Vallarta, where the Burtons always stayed, before they bought (or I should say he bought) the famous house. It was very romantic, across from the river that empties in the ocean– the house was facing the river and from the balcony they could see the local women washing their laundry on the rocks. That was their way of washing clothes, beating the clothes over the rocks in the river.  But in the meantime they stayed here in front of the old beautiful church with the crown on top and the dolphins statue across the other side, on the malecon (pier) where the tides were breaking and splashing in the foundation of the cement wall.

We arrived at our room, then he went to shave, and I went to the beauty salon to have a massage and bubble jacuzzi. The hairdresser did my hair, then I went up where he was already dressed very elegantly in a tropical white jacket. I put on an aqua color long gown, then we were to stop and pick up our host and his wife. We made our way to go to an opening of another artist at another Gallery and then picked up our friends who also were invited– and then finally go to dinner.

We arrived in a vintage car, I don’t remember the make, as I never really gave any attention to anything like that, some old car. Well, this restaurant was in a place near the old town overlooking the waters of the Pacific. It was the most exquisite restaurant, only known to the very rich, with crystal chandeliers (real not fake), and mirrors for your individual table to see in, very discreet– you could hardly see your neighbors except if you were invited to their table, but you could hear and see the water and white foam against the seawall.

"This was  the party in Puerto Vallarta"

Party in Puerto Vallarta

On our table there was a basket of arrangements at each of the six places. They were not very large but fully open gardenias. On the side of the table in a beautiful basket made to look like real gold, was a red linen napkin wrapped around an excellent vintage Dom Perignon that I did not remember having before!  As we sat down the waiter opened the champagne and after doing so, asked the host if it was okay, as he left, the host said, “Ladies, would you like to smell the camellias or gardenias?” Then I realized why they were so white– they were full of cocaine, the whole center of the flower.

How could I forget this? It was the epitome of getting high, after that event the meal (which was something special) seemed of very little importance, because of this magnificent pure snow powder– if I breathed too hard it would blow away!

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I have to clarify what was not clear in my last blog. La Negra Maldonado is a daughter of a large Haciendado of a coffee plantation in San Lucas Toliman, at Lake Atitlan. After the bike accident they took me there, to the only doctor available around this mountain area of the lake, without going to the other side of the lake, where all the tourist area are. Jose met some friends walking with La Negra, while I was with the local doctor and they all agreed that I would be better off in her Hacienda because I would be much more comfortable there, with servants and such, which Jose did not have in his small cabana.

Grant and Ludmila going to the stables in Hollywood to horseback riding.

Grant and Ludmila going to the stables in Hollywood to horseback riding.

After my motorcycle accident, I could not walk, nor do modeling, but I could be a makeup consultant, with my large experience in cosmetics and makeup. I was very good at it, so I landed a fantastic job, on the top floor of a gorgeous salon in one of the most famous stores in Beverly Hills.

In the picture I am with Grant who was helping me remodel a horrible little nightmare house that I purchased for a very good price. I would lay on my living room floor with drinks, plenty of them, and pain pills, while my left leg was immobilized.

I started feeling an unfamiliar feeling that I was on my own, alone, with no one to protect me like Jack used to do– I used to feel so secure with him!

I don’t really know how I felt because I was always medicating with alcohol. In a way I reverted, to some degree confronting myself and taking responsibility of myself. Now that life showed me this, I was back starting where I began at birth!

I remember it well! The insane house purchase. Well, at the time it seemed like a good idea!

Jose and Ludmila sitting in the street of Guatemala

Jose and Ludmila sitting in the street of Guatemala

Before I had left for Guatemala, I purchased a house without even seeing it, just so we would have a house when we came back. Well, now Mr. Grant Lesley was working on remodeling this horror, and he was handsome, but short, with blond hair, blue eyes and an outgoing personality. Just what the doctor ordered, jajajaja!  He was very charming, so he convinced me to remodel this little garbage house into a mini-jungle in the guest room, wall-to-wall paper with jungle animals, tigers, panthers and lions, orchids and palm trees in the living room (for real) so you could not see in from the street but I could see out.

In the main bedroom was a white wall-to-wall carpet, white walls, white silk bedding, a white fox fur imitation bad cover, a night table with a red base, white and red roses, and a large mirror reflecting the light of the window and plants from outside. There was a mini garden outside, plus a white rocking chair.

Taking a ride whit Bud Harrod after modeling

Taking a ride with Bud Harrod after modeling

Today, I realize that Grant was a really good friend: he took my mind off Jose, my injuries, and the pain of mourning I was going through. (I thank you Grant– I hope you are reading this wherever you are. You were a fantastic decorator, carpenter, designer, everything!) The living room was Mexican with large wooden furniture made by him. It was in front of the new design red brick fireplace, that replaced the original one, with a large red hardwood mantel. The kitchen had a table which stuck out of the counter of the dining area, with a bar behind it, and a door to the small garden. The garage was on the other side to the living room and the hall away to the left.

Well, I spent most of the money from the divorce settlement, but I had a showplace that I loved and that made me grow. It was the most romantic place, tiny but enchanting! The hallway to my room was full of books on each side of the walls. I had many fantastic books, some that I lugged with me from Venezuela.  (How strange now I rarely read anymore!)  Books from Thomas Mann to all the collected works of Winston Churchill, philosophers all the way back to Socrates and Plato. (Socrates did not write, of course, he spoke and Plato wrote down his dialogues and his ideas and philosophy).

Smoking a tabaco pipe

Smoking a tobacco pipe

Grant and I became more than friends, lovers of course, but with no attachments. We had a lot of fun remodeling this ugly duckling into our fantasy of a beautiful fairy tale home. I loved it and everyone who came to my home loved it too. I had some really good parties. Jack came by with his new girlfriend Joy who he married later on, Jeff Cooper, and many other famous people and of course movie stars.

Then when I got better I went back to work, with my favorite designer Bud Harrod, who at one time was my boyfriend– and the only man that ever put a diamond ring on my finger! It was over a one karat rock that had belonged to his father. Not for a proposal, because he was scared of marriage after his last experience. We worked well together, in harmony you could say, and we went to Las Vegas for New Years and many other US cities for designer week– New York, San Francisco, Houston, Dallas. On one trip to San Francisco, I saw Walter again for the last time. He was back from Hawaii, and we had a farewell dinner at the Saint Francis hotel. We talked about his Cafe Imperial, the coffee I helped him sell door to door in L.A. It was a fantastic idea, but it did not sell at that time.

My set of friends had begun to change, and I was moving more into the business world instead of Hollywood showbiz. I was thinking about starting my own line of beauty products, facial creams. I contacted my ex-lover and dear friend Buck Rogers, who by then was living in Mexico City instead of Acapulco where I met him. Then in LA I was introduced to a Clairol executive.

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Jose had mentioned the day before that if I wanted we could go to see Guatemala everywhere, but we had to wait for my ring, which we recovered the next day. Jose went out yet again that evening, but I stayed home. His old aunt that had never been married, came to my room with a liquor bottle! She said, “I keep this for medicinal reasons.”

I was thrilled that I did not have to go out to hunt down some liquor store, let alone to get something to drink. I couldn’t stand being without alcohol, especially being under so much stress. So I definitely wanted a drink or two…or more. Jajaja!

" Back home in L.A. had to walk whit a cane for a long time."

Ludmila back home in L.A. walking with a cane

The next morning after breakfast, we were not talking at the table– no one cared to ask me anything. So I packed a few things and we took off on the big Kawasaki Ltd 1000 motorcycle that I bought for him. We went to the beautiful countryside en route to Lake Atitlan, stopping by the river and at the homes of some of Jose’s friends. As we rode through the indescribable beauty of rural Guatemala, there were flowers everywhere, pine trees, rivers with little waterfalls and the smell of smoke from the wood fires in the valleys and hills. Then suddenly, we slid and tumbled over, and I found myself underneath this big motorcycle with the motor still running, and it was hot… it was very hot.

Jose was screaming “Stay still, don’t move!” while trying to lift the bike, but of course he couldn’t and I couldn’t move at all! Finally some people came passing by in cars and one of them stopped to help him lift the big motorcycle off of me. It seemed to take forever, with me lying under the burning hot motor, the bike crushing down on my whole left leg. I can’t remember much, but later they said they took us immediately to the nearby clinic in the village of San Lucas Toliman to see if any doctor was available.

Well the only thing I know was that I was in excruciating pain. So I numbed by alcohol and with the drugs to, and layed in bed at the house of La Negra Maldonado, in her family hacienda with a coffee plantation. That delicious smell was my companion as I was healing.

Dancing whit William in Caracas to " It Was Fascination I know"

Dancing with Walter in Caracas to “It Was Fascination I know”

Jose was in the next room, laughing and smoking pot, and many other people were there. I barely could move, but slowly I was helped up to the living room, where not one was interested in my problems. They were so high including Jose who was busy making eyes at La Negra, and the gays were making passes at him. Wow what a group of weirdos! But there was one guy that looked half elegant with a little class, and he had a big new van like a Jeep and was proposing something. I felt like I didn’t belong there with the gays and dropout drug users and la Negra  making passes at Jose– this was not exactly a happy situation for me.

Well as always, I made the best of the worst! I heard one guy saying something about the beach and my ears perked up: The beach, yes! I needed to get out of this cold house in the mountains where we were. So when one of the boys said, “Lets go to the beach!” I was all for it. The pain was still bad, and although nothing was broken my whole leg was swollen like a big balloon. Some of the muscles were torn and muscle trauma had appeared, enough to make me scream with pain. So everybody was giving me pills and of course la Negra give me more stuff and aguardiente (alcohol), wowweee!

We took off to the beach; all the way there I wanted to drink more aguardiente until I reached oblivion. I drank enough for me to not remember the countryside, which was totally different than the one we drove from, justs that it was hot, tropical, and there was a smell of iron from the sea. The beach air was inviting, warm and nice. I don’t remember too much of the scenery as we arrived. Jose with the three other guys went into a fantastic looking hotel which I supposed was to get a room for us. I just sat by a fishing boat and waited.

Next thing I knew, I awoke with a cut on my forehead, inside the same boat. I remember sitting there, now inside of it, alone with no one there. Shortly Jose arrived and said something to his friends, “Look, she’s hurt, blood on her forehead.” I thought to myself that meant he left me alone and was with his male lovers in this luxurious hotel, which I didn’t even see inside. I just wanted to go back to beautiful Atitlan.

I did not speak to him the whole way back, until we arrived two or three hours later. No one cared to even talk to Jose, they all seemed tired. If he had any dignity or concern for me he surenhid it from me, but probably not from himself.

I was in no shape to argue or judge anyone. I justed wanted to be free from the pain and to be able to walk again. I went into the house with a mayan servant who helped me carry my things into a graceful, lovely small hacienda pueblo ranch home of the Maldonado family. It was in the middle of San Lucas Toliman in Atitlan, where the Indian women wore traditional clothes. They carried their babies on their backs, and did not dare look into anyone’s eyes. We couldn’t take pictures of them because they believed we’d steal their souls, and it would be captured inside  the camera.

I arrived at the hacienda ranch with the realization that this was her home. She was waiting for our return anxiously and she greeted me with a present. It was some kind of coins, maybe witchcraft– who knows?  They carried me into the bed, where they were smoking weed all the time and she was always high on pot or something else. She was obviously enchanted with Jose. He was tall, blond, slim and always very charming.

The servant handed me a cane,  so I could get to the bathroom or go to sit up for a moment, which was almost impossible, I had to lie down almost all the time, even inside the cars. Including the trip to the beach we went to at Lake Elizabeth. It was impossible to sit comfortably, so painful that I could scream. I lay in bed almost all the time. The local doctor said not to walk for a couple of days.

In the meantime, Jose and his friends went to parties and picnics, and as it turned out, the romance between Jose and La Negra had already started.

Incredibly, in this part of the world, I heard a song from My Fair Lady on the radio. It was “Fascination” I know! My goodness, tears were rolling down my cheeks, with my eyes closed and even now remembering dancing to that melody so many times with Walter, to that same music!  It was so vivid, because it was one of our favorite songs. The last time I spoke to him was in Sausalito, near San Francisco, in the “No Name Bar” where he said he still loved me. That was last time we spoke in person, kissed and loved each other. It felt so long ago. I guess it must have been, years were passing.  I had heard he moved to Hawaii and was still a rich, successful man, now an ice cream and coffee merchant.

It was like the wind carried all our promises away, on the lips of cocaine and alcohol.  Any promise seemed real, whether to the one who lies or the one who wants to believe them. Sure,  we would believe everything. I did for many years…ten years or so.  All promises “el aire se las llevo” (the air took them). With almost anything, to get what or who we want, if it feels good and looks great at that moment when we are high…then we will say goodbye.

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In the period after I left Jack, my life was one big quest for love, drugs, and an imaginary happiness. The source of happiness seemed to be getting high, so I developed a deep unquenchable thirst for drugs, alcohol, and selfish pleasures. This quest took all the sanity out of my mind.

I left a husband who took care of me the best he knew how, brought me coffee in bed in the morning, put up with my hangovers, which were getting to be every day, and really did everything for me. I wanted animals, he said okay. Jack would go to farms to pick up hay and other food for the animals out in the middle of the countryside, and bring it back to Hollywood just to please me. We took many trips together, or he would let me go off by myself to Tahiti (yet another story for the book), Bora Bora, Moorea, Raiatea, Papaiety, and Venezuela. He let me go to Mexico whenever I wanted, which I did frequently so I could escape into more alcohol and drug adventures, like with Buck Rogers. I had many friends like the ex wife of Ron Lavender who owned a very famous Gallery. She introduced me to many people among which an incredible lover, who was handsome with black azabache hair. (but this part of my adventure goes on in the book).

Ludmila going to the Polo field to ride the horse

Ludmila going to the Polo field to ride the horse

Jack said that he didn’t realize how badly I was strung out on drugs, which shows how deceptive addiction can be. He thought I was just having fun, because I hid my worst behavior and made him believe I was okay. At that time everybody I knew in Hollywood seemed to be strung out on something. I thought it was okay flirting and even going to bed with other men, because that is what I learned from my first beloved man. My fantasy of selfish, make-believe happiness was really just to camouflage my own inner pain and the sickness of addiction.

There were parties at Sammy Davis Jr.’s place in Beverly Hills, with lots of cars parked in front of his house. Sammy loved collecting expensive new cars, like many nouveau riche people. He was born Catholic but converted to Judaism, probably for the convenience that it offered in Hollywood in those years, and the movie business. You got more work if you were friends with the Jewish directors, investors and agents. Also they made great husbands. I was married to two of them, Tom and Jack, and let’s not forget my first love, Walter, who was also Jewish. Although he was not so good, promising the sky and yet he gave me nothing, only took from my youth, the innocence. But he made me dream of a better tomorrow.

Daniel Rio Lobos and me and others in a crazy party in Venezuela in Alejandro's Penthouse

Daniel Rio Lobos, Ludmila and others in a crazy party in Venezuela in Alejandro’s Penthouse

I don’t know what he really believed. I had a photograph of him swearing an oath to Satan, some Cult of 666 that was popular, especially for the sex. I have one photo of me, taken for a magazine, posing at a dark castle on the Hollywood Hills. I went there and saw caskets in the rooms, weird things; as I was leaving the photo shoot, people were arriving dressed in strange black costumes, so that gives you an idea what was going on. But he was a great singer and dancer, one of the best in that period, or maybe the best eve. The parties were wild and full of drugs and liquor. I personally only can say about him that he was a gracious host and very lively, a nice person to me and Jose, so let God be the Judge. I liked him very much as a performer.

There were many parties and stories that I will keep writing but not all of them here in my blog, you will have to read my book.

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We moved out of the hotel, after a week or ten days. Jose moved with us also, into the condo that the insurance company put us in. Soon things took a very wild turn! There were pool tables, a big swimming pool, plenty of room and of course lots of time to drink and take drugs. Whenever Jack went to work, Jose and I started playing around and going nuts. I thought we were just having lots of fun, but most of the time I was numb and unconscious of what was really happening.

One evening Daud invited me out to have a talk, and as we were seated at a table, not far away I noticed that at the bar there was this big fantastic looking man. It was Johnny Weissmuller– Tarzan, king of the Jungle! I remembered my niece Vera had asked me if I’d ever seen him in person. I thought “she doesn’t believe that’s his screaming voice in the jungle, when he swings in those trees!” So I told Daud who patiently let me get away with all my whims, that I’d be right back; I did explain to him that I was going up to the big star at the bar. Daud just smiled and said “Good luck!”

JW - Tarzan

Johnny Weissmuller – Tarzan

I walked up to the bar and got his attention immediately; he was holding a drink, but he stood up and kissed my hand. I proceeded to make my request, a favor for my niece. Could he do “that scream that he does in all his movies over the phone to my only niece Vera, who loves you just as much as I do?”

I also had memories of those Tarzan films from my childhood in Porlamar on Isla Margarita, on that swing, where I spent long hours dreaming of meeting all these stars some day. That was far away, not really so long ago, but it seems like another lifetime, when I could only dream about these people, never mind being kissed and standing next to one of them.

He said okay and the bartender handed me a phone after I dialed my niece’s number. I talked to her but she did not believe what was about to happen; he was standing next to me, bellowing as loud as he did  in the movies, several times that jungle scream that made Tarzan so famous. After that we had another kiss and thank you and you’re welcome, which is what famous people in Hollywood say to each other.  All that stuff is phony most of the time, but sometimes it is genuine. I believed all that, in my childish brain, despite the abuse of all the good things and bad things which made my life a fantasy, in cinemascope, 3-D and technicolor. I was walking on air, high in the sky, I was not even on this planet.

Jeff Cooper, Kaliman  is in the back of this first man whit the whit  hood,  ( he was like superman to the mexicans) a hero from cartons..

Jeff Cooper, Kaliman is in the back of this first man with the white hood (he was like superman to the mexicans) a hero from cartoons.

Things seemed so unreal, I was going through an unreal time myself, and it seemed everything was a bad dream, just a fantasy what was happening. This too shall pass, the fire, Jose, Jack and I not communicating. Jack was such a great husband, it was only because of the drugs and the craziness that I would ever think of leaving him– but as you will see, I did. And after that everything seemed to stop, there was no more care about remodeling the house or Jack or anybody: I just walked away with Jose. The drugs destroyed my mind, and nothing mattered anymore except Jose, drugs, and alcohol. It all became “who cares?” The only thing I kept were pictures and icons, and God was not too far from my mind and soul, that was the only thing I had with me.

I was trying lots of different drugs then, and everything mixed with alcohol. My friend Jim had some PCP or something similar, that was even worse than quaaludes, my preferred drug-alcohol mix. After a while any desire, dream, or excitement of remodeling my home vanished. Everything was gone, including the dream to create a new house. Jack worked hard at all this but soon it evaporated into fumes. The excitement died and another excitement took over. It was drugs, alcohol, and doing nada. I was living together with Jose and meeting his friends, which made me feel too old for him. He was in his early 20s and I was in my 30s, it was just the two us.

I left Jack at that last beautiful condo, and to this day I don’t know why I did this stupid thing. I suppose I will never know why. I moved into a quiet apartment with Jose and lived a stupid life. I started a mail order business, but Jose convinced me to buy some cocaine instead so we’d make some money. Well, not a penny did we make! I didn’t go out selling drugs, I was not exactly a pusher and could not give a damn about selling dope, but I used it and he used it, then he overdosed and  I spent three days praying for his life at  LA General Hospital. Seeing him helpless laying there in a coma, still did not teach me the lessons. I still was blind to notice this was coming to a bad end.

Jose came out of the hospital and got a job as a gofer and chauffeur for Sammy Davis Jr, but by then I was going to parties at the house of Jeff Cooper (in Mexico he was known as Kaliman, he did those cartoons so very famous in Mexico and most of the Latin countries). Of course there were more men than women at the parties, which would  go on for days….

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