His Name Is George

He’s been sitting at the bus stop just down from my apartment building in Hollywood for a couple of weeks now. Everything he owns is piled up in carts beside him. He keeps his head down and wears shades. He’ll ask you for spare change once, but if you say no he won’t bother you every time you pass by. I like that about him. Maybe that’s why I stopped today.

“Here,” I said, “God bless you.” I had done the deed and turned away. Mentally I was already inside eating my lunch.

“What’s your name?” he said.

I turned back. The shades were off and his eyes were clear and blue. I had to answer.

“Billy. My name is Billy. What’s yours?”

“George,” he said, “My name is George.”

We talked. He’s Italian. His mom ran a famous Italian restaurant at the corner of Sunset and Cahuenga. George made the pastries. Sinatra ate there twice a week. Then she died. The family fought. Something happened. Life happened. He never got it back together. “I could make some pastries!” he said. I bet he could.

I can’t help him. I can’t save him. But I can know him. Know him, to paraphrase Dickens, “as if he really were a fellow passenger to the grave, and not from another race of creatures bound on some other journey.”

Few ask your name in this city. Few care. He did. His name is George. I’m glad I know that.

One thought on “His Name Is George”

  1. see if george is related to ciro ‘mario’ marino…the restaurant may have been martoni’s which opened in hollywood on cahuenga in 1960 and WAS popular with Frank Sinatra and the rat pack. ‘Mama’ Marino apparently was the matriarch of the place. Something seems to have ‘happened’ in 1976. Relations went back to Italy, stayed for a few years and then returned to L.A. The family is still in the restaurant business today. There’s a website for ‘MARINO’S in L.A.. I ggogled the address (sunset & cahuenga) plus info from your blog. who knows? Maybe this is george’s family?

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