I’m happy to announce that my four-volume series Kelley-Phone Tag:The Rest of the Story is nearing completion. The book covers are also nearing completion. As soon as I have those (Lisa Twining Taylor is creating them for me), I’ll roll them out to show them to you.
This has truly been a herculean labor of love. When I consider the literally thousands of hours I spent writing down each of the thousand-plus phone calls to begin with, and then the rifling through them in 2001 to cull the cream of the crop from them for the first edition of my Kelley book, and now going through them a final time, at the request of readers, to share every last interaction I had with DeForest and Carolyn Kelley — well, it just takes my breath away!
The only bad/sad thing about it is that, in tackling the phone logs this final time, I resurrected the Kelley’s and relived my life and times with them again. So, when I come to the end of this endeavor, I will lose them all over again.
But I’m going to end the volumes before De ends up in the hospital the final time, because those phone calls are already in my Kelley book. I want these volumes to end on a happier note. Those who didn’t read the book can get it if they want to experience the end of De’s life the way I did.
But in this retelling, I want the years of fun and laughter to be center stage. There will be a few of the later crises in it but only the spots where the Kelley’s helped me through them. I want their hearts to be displayed, too, not just their charming humor and gentle spirits.
What gets me is how many of the conversations we shared that I had no memory of until I re-discovered them. You would think I could never have forgotten a single interaction! But I ran across literally scores of chats we shared that were no longer resident in my conscious mind. Some of them are corkers! I cried, I laughed so hard re-discovering them!
In a couple of instances De pulled a “McCoy” on me over the phone. He accosted me the way McCoy sparred with Spock. I totally forgot those except for the time it happened in Carolyn’s room in the hospital!
How could I forget something like that? Probably because it was so atypical of him. I must have dismissed them with, “OK, that was an aberration. I will forget that ever happened!” I relegated them to his portrayals, not to his essence.
And each time he did it, it was strictly for laughs. He wasn’t really miffed at me. He ended with, “Well, just thought I’d jump on here for a minute and give you a hard time. Here’s Carolyn!”
These volumes are only for die-hard Kelley fans. They’re for those of you who have insisted you want to know every interaction I had with the Kelley’s, from the sublime to the ridiculous. Casual fans won’t find the volumes fascinating, but you will. You asked for them; you’re getting them!
I want part of my legacy to be that I extended the Kelley’s legacies as far and as completely as I could for as long as I lived. Because they deserve to be remembered, celebrated and enjoyed.
And new Kelley fans come along every day. Most of the Kelley fans I correspond with these days are under twenty years old, so they never got to meet him or see him at a convention and they’re aching to know him better.
It’s immensely enjoyable to be able to help them do that.