Me and Miss Jones
Preparing to start a new position, I find myself reminiscing about all the various jobs I have had over the years. One in particular came to mind after reading Google News. It seems they are making another movie about Linda Lovelace.
What possible job could this remind me of you might ask? Well, once upon a time in a kingdom far far away (El Lay) I worked for a medical association. This association published a magazine for which I provide IT support. On the staff of this magazine was a women I will never forget, Shelley Graham. (I borrowed the nick name for Los Angeles used above from her.)
What does she have to do with Lovelace? Well, there were two iconic films from the 70’s Golden Age of porn. “Deep Throat” with Linda Lovelace was one. The other one was “The Devil and Miss Jones”, starring Georgina Spelvin (Shelley Graham).
I won’t tell her story here. You can go to her site, Georgina Spelvin.com and read a brief biography or download her memoir, “The Devil Made Me Do It”, to your Kindle. What I want to share here is my experience with this incredible woman.
Her porn days were over when I encountered Shelley for the first time. She was a graphic artist, and a very talented one too. I was fascinated by her even before I knew her not so secret past.
She is a good cook as I remember. In fact, that is what she was originally hired to do on the set of “The Devil and Miss Jones”, if you can believe Wikipedia. We often had potlucks at the association and she would bring in her famous Jambalaya.
Food is my version of porn. Shelley’s Jambalaya was even more delicious looking then the one above.
A personable lady, she invited me to her home after work one evening, “underneath the Hollywood sign’. No, it was not a mansion like Madonna’s which looms over her place from a higher perch. It is a modest one bedroom house with a lovely garden/hillside backyard she shares with her long time companion and now husband, John Welsh. At this point I knew who she was, with all the gossip at the association. One co-worker had actually brought in her movie which we watched in the bosses office when no one was around. The opening of this movie is very dramatic. She commits suicide in the bath. The rest of the film of her with the snake and everything else imaginable, I couldn’t watch. Harry Reems was also her co-star.
I could watch him but this was all about the woman, not the man. Anyway, back to my story. I enjoyed a lovely meal at her place in the hills. She and her husband shared stories from the past, about Hollywood and New York. It was amazing and tragic at the same time to hear what she had go through. But what I remember most was her up beat, no regrets, this it attitude, and of course she is very funny.
I recall one other outing to her 60th birthday party. It was in an old house that belonged to an actor friend of hers in Echo Park. She made a grand entrance down the staircase and did her best impression of Gloria Swanson from Sunset Boulevard. It was hysterical.
I am just one of many characters that past through her life. I am sure she doesn’t remember me at all. But Shelley, thank you for being a part of my life.
Shelley Graham and her husband John Welsh
Photographer, Alex Forsey