Love can be a many splendored person |

Love can be a many splendored person

“Which one is she?” Orllyene asks. We’re watching the Fred Astaire-Audrey Hepburn movie “Funny Face.” I reply, “She’s the short one, the brunette running up the steps, at the head of the line.” No answer. The creature we are looking at is Sue England. I was once married to Sue. We started dating in Hollywood High School, and after I graduated from the University of Southern California, exchanged wedding vows. Two weeks later, I went aboard the USS Essex for two years. During my nautical hiatus, Sue discovered that she could live without me, and we were divorced. It took me seven years of learning some really bad habits, until I was ready to meet Orllyene. I went from being a professional dancer, to working in a nursery as a landscaper.

I chanced to meet the ravishingly beautiful Orllyene at a birthday party for my cousin Edward. Since Orllyene was going to be there too, his wife Pauline warned Orllyene, “Be careful. He’s kind of wild, and he drinks too much.” I’d brought a date to the party, but Orllyene and I danced together all evening long. What was this spell she had over me? When I got around to asking her out I was bowled over by the confidence she had in me. She made me feel 10 feet tall. Then when I held her precious baby daughter, Marla, in my arms I was hooked. Shortly afterward, Randy, her 4-year-old son asked, “Are you going to be my daddy?” I tumbled, and we were married. Orllyene was making $67.50 a week as a receptionist/model, and I made $65 a week as a landscaper. I’ve always been comforted by the knowledge she didn’t marry me for my money.

One night, while sitting on a futon, in our unfurnished apartment, I said, “Sweetheart, I think I could dance again.” “Well go ahead and do it,” she replied, and I went downstairs, to our condo parking lot, and started dancing. The neighbors were impressed. Two weeks later I had a job dancing at the Seattle World’s Fair. In Seattle our son Tom was conceived, and our family was complete.

Part of being in show business is hearing the words, “Sweetheart, we’re going to have to move to Las Vegas, or Atlantic City,” or even, “my job has been abolished. We are moving back West.”

Dancing has been my bread and butter. It’s also given us the opportunity to stay at the Hermitage Hotel (comped) in Monte Carlo, swim the crystalline waters of the Bahamas (while daddy rehearses), and have a beautiful home in Smith Valley. Orllyene fills my life with joy, but can also stop me in my tracks when the limelight is too much for me. She also knows how to bolster me up when life turns against me.

The other night we had a dinner party and, Amy, our delightful new friend said to Orllyene, “I just can’t believe you are a great-grandmother.”

There you have it. I’ve hit the jackpot.

Ron Walker can be reached at