If you ever make it to Ramat Gan, get lost and end up in a place called Ordea square, you’ll find a statue of Bialik, the national poet. The pigeons have made the Russian born wordsmith their collective latrine, which in itself is somewhat fitting. He is, after all, the man who once wrote a poem about birds with the lyrics “Do you bring me friendly greetings from my friends there in Zion?” Next to the statue you’ll inevitably find dozens of octogenarians feeding said birds while their underpaid Filipino caretakers indifferently play Candy Crush on their smart phones. There is a big SuperPharm there (but where isn’t there a SuperPharm damn it) a falafel stand and an old man with multiple sclerosis (or some form of palsy) that claims to have been married to Sam Peckinpah’s daughter.
I know crazy. Shit, I am crazy. M. and I had a meeting with a social worker in lovely Bnei Brak (God, if these are your chosen people I’m in deep shit) and she asked if there was a history of mental illness in our family. I told her that I was a self diagnosed bi-polar manic depressive and had been self medicating with marijuana for years. I refused to do the lithium for fear of creative castration. M. chimed in and said that her grandfather had had an incident at the factory sometime in the 1970’s and since then he wore aluminum foil on his head to prevent the ET’s from sending him messages. He also thought they came through the television. So yeah, we know crazy real well and when someone claims to have been married to Sam Peckinpah’s daughter, the fucking Wild Bunch Sam Peckinpah, my favorite director of all time Sam Peckinpah (well, tied with Sergio Leone) then I have to get to the bottom of the underlying question of whether that man is for real, genuinely cray cray or a dirty rotten scoundrel.
As far the internet and my research goes, there’s nothing to disprove the notion that this wheelchair bound charlatan who spends his entire day bumming cigarettes from passers by and grabbing young women’s hand and offering to read them their fortune (your mother had another child who died in the womb, you will be traveling soon…) isn’t, in fact, the son-in-law of famed film director known as Bloody Sam. Seriously. Nothing.
So I find myself gravitating back to Ordea square and the poop stained statue on a daily basis to use my bullshit detection skills on this obvious impostor. He tells me that he used to be a renowned psychiatrist (which, he confides in me, is why he’s so good at reading people and telling their fortune). He met Sam Peckinpah’s daughter sometime in the early 1970’s when he was living in Los Angeles. They were married for a few years, had two sons together and then had a nasty divorce. He doesn’t speak to her anymore. But his sons still live in the States. I try to get more information out of him, namely names, dates and places but all he gives me are vague and ambiguous stories.
I go back online and find out the names of Sam’s three daughters. His youngest, Lupita, from second wife and actress Begona Palacios was born in 1973 in Mexico City. It couldn’t have been her. The second daughter, from his first wife Marie, Kristen, is and has always been married to Gill Dennis which leaves only his eldest daughter, Sharon Cecile Peckinpah. She was born in 1949 and acted in a few movies but there is no further information available regarding her personal life. If she were born in 1949, it is highly plausible that she met and wed Israel sometime in the early 1970’s and had two children with him.
Sometime in early March of this year an old film school friend of mine came to visit. We had studied together at Temple University in Philly and after graduation he moved back to Hong Kong and I to Israel. He works in the Chinese film industry and his girlfriend, P. is an amazing artist. M. and I showed him them all around Israel; Masada, The Dead Sea, Jerusalem, The Western Wall, The Bahai Gardens and Neve Tzedek (our favorite). He was struck by two things the most; Matkot players on the beach and that old man in Ordea square who claims to have been married to Sam Peckinpah’s daughter.
While they were here we had dinner at my mom’s place in Holon, and, as we always do, we discussed films. It was just after the Academy Awards and we were praising Ang Lee (since he was Chinese… well Taiwanese but close enough) and his masterpiece “The Life of Pi”. My mom said she stopped watching it after ten minutes because she couldn’t bear to watch the cruelty to animals. I explained to her that it was just a metaphor and that he really wasn’t on a boat with animals. They represented people. She looked at me like I was crazy (which I probably am) and said: Well, I guess you can choose to believe whatever you want.
At the end of the day I don’t think I’ll ever know if Israel really was married to Sam Peckinpah’s daughter Sharon or if Richard Parker was really a tiger or not or if there is a God and he created everything but got really pissed off when people stopped worshiping him (petulant much?) or if Ancient Aliens created a prototype of humans in the depths of Africa to mine for gold for their spaceships. I’ll have to choose to believe whatever seems the least fucking absurd at any given moment and try to convince myself that it is true. Crazy, isn’t it?