Kelley Phone Tag: The Rest of the Story, Vol. 1
“Oh, the comfort, the inexpressible comfort, of feeling safe with a person; having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but to pour them all out, just as they are, chaff and grain together, knowing that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then, with a breath of kindness, blow the rest away.”
Maria (Mulock) Craik
You are here (I presume) because you’ve already read my 2015 memoir DeForest Kelley Up Close and Personal: A Harvest of Memories from the Fan Who Knew Him Best or its 2001 predecessor DeForest Kelley A Harvest of Memories: My Life and Times with a Remarkable Gentleman Actor.
I am here because so many of you wrote to tell me that you’re still hankering for every morsel of experience I enjoyed as a fan and friend of Carolyn and DeForest Kelley.
I’m doing this for you now for three reasons:
- I’m no longer a spring chicken and I want to help extend the Kelley legacy as far into the future as I possibly can
- the 20th anniversary of De’s passing is this year (June 11, 2019)
- the 100th anniversary of De’s birth will occur on January 20, 2020
I started this foreword with a poem by Maria (Mulock) Craik because it is one of my favorite poems of all times, extolling the blessedness of having a friend (or friends) with whom we can be completely transparent without worrying about whether they’ll break our hearts, tell our secrets, or run screaming for the exits.
Carolyn and DeForest Kelley were that kind of friend to me, as I was to them.
Today, Lisa Twining Taylor is that kind of friend to me.
Usually this kind of friend is just about rare as hens’ teeth, so I have been blessed mightily. I sincerely hope you have this kind of friend in your life, and that you have been this kind of friend to someone else. There is no richer experience.
But I must add this: those of you who have followed my various journeys in life by reading my books (all ten of them and counting!) and have not run screaming for the exits seem to me to be this kind of friend, too. You know me more deeply than my own family does, so I think of you fondly, and often!
Why This Requested-by-You Series of Phone Logs is Necessary
I had to take literally hundreds of pages out of the original 2001 Kelley manuscript because I was envisioning my “Kelley adventure” as a single volume, one you could fit into a backpack or large purse and carry around. (Remember, eBooks are relatively new.)
The first version of my memoir was published during the time when the POD (print on demand) industry was just finding its sea legs. My mission then was to go through my journals and phone logs and publish the highlights of my life and times with Carolyn and DeForest so fans would know what a delightful couple they were.
Based on the 5-star reviews that flooded in after its publication, I succeeded beyond my wildest dreams. Fans said, “I feel like I’ve truly met and know De and Carolyn now.”
BULLS EYE! That’s exactly what I was aiming for!
I succeeded so well, in fact, that I started getting my own fan mail from readers who loved De or were just discovering him for the first time after he had already passed on. They asked me follow-up questions. They wanted to continue to inhabit my experiences with the Kelleys, including the mundane.
I understood completely! Had I been in their place, I would feel the same way! True fans can never get enough of the Kelleys.
So, I’m doing everything I possibly can to be sure that my readers get everything I have to share with you before I’m shoveled off this mortal coil. I consider this my magnum opus.
It has been quite the undertaking, when you consider the thousands of hours I spent typing these phone visits originally (immediately or shortly after each of the 1000-plus conversations occurred), the time I spent rifling through them and my journals for the 2001 version of my memoir of my life and times with the Kelleys, and this final “no holds barred” iteration. Whew!!!
So, to those who reached out and inquired, thank you. Although this has been a herculean undertaking, by tackling the phone logs again I’ve been able to re-experience the magic. In fact, I feel as if I resurrected the Kelleys and spent additional time with them because I had forgotten so much of what was in these phone logs! (How nuts is that?!) So, in asking me to tell it all, you’ve blessed me as much as I hope these volumes will bless you.
I think De and Carolyn would be pleased to know that you and I are the keepers of their katras and that we’ll do everything we can to keep their memories alive and fresh for every new fan who comes along and thinks, “He seemed to be a nice guy.”
After reading every volume of these phone logs, every one of you will be able to proclaim with confidence (as I have been doing for fifty years now as of this writing) “Oh, he was a nice guy—salt of the earth!”