Like Gregory Peck, on my birthday, ‘Above all, life!’

Plutôt La Vie x650

By Ray Bennett

Gregory Peck sent me this postcard from Paris in 1996. We shared the same birthday, April 5, and once we exchanged cards.

He wrote: “This French graffiti describes perfectly how it feels to be 80 all of a sudden.” It means “Above all, life!”

I’ve met very few people who were born on April 5: Peck, and Bette Davis, who told me what she had told Johnny Carson on TV: “Getting old ain’t for sissies.”

Peck said that another April 5 guy was Spencer Tracy but I never met him.

And then there’s Samantha. She is the first-born daughter of Christopher Walter, my oldest and longest friend. He died not very long ago, the bastard. We sat next to each other at Ashford Boys Grammar School in Kent from the time we were 11, worshipping “Maverick,” Elvis and John Steinbeck. I named my son for him.

We shared a taste for real ale and strong conversation. Sam is a chip off the old block. So happy birthday Sam, and all the other April 5 guys.

Plutot la vie!

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