There was a time in our lives when we were traveling to Europe every two or three years, and made many friends in the Ferrari world. It became commonplace for us to stay with friends in Europe, and vice-versa. One of our friends even had a plaque made for us announcing "Hotel Niles".
It became known, in our circle of Ferrari friends, that Ed and Phoebe could supply a clean room with private bath, with (dare I say it?) gourmet cooking and potable wine. Thus, we frequently had a guest or two in our guest room.
One day I received a telephone call from a total stranger, obviously British, who announced, "Hullo, I?m so and so, from London, and Godfrey Eaton suggested I give you a call. I?m looking for a place to stay, as I just got into Los Angeles for a short vacation." I didn?t? get it. Innocently, I asked him, "What part of town would you like to stay in?" "Oh, no, old chap, Godfrey suggested that I might stay with you!"
I suppose the fact that it took me at least four beats to say anything might have been a give-away, but I finally mumbled that our guest room was already occupied!
That great French Ferrari enthusiast Didier Moreau even sent his 16 year-old son to us for an entire summer one year. What a cultural eye-opener that was for all concerned!
You haven?t lived until you?ve watched a 16-year old insist on eating a Carl?s Jr. hamburger with a knife and fork! Or watched him squirm as the stripper we hired for his sixteenth birthday did her act!
One day another of our French pals (I?ll call him Joe as that is as un-gallic a name as I can conjure up) let us know that he would be visiting us, and bringing with him Cherie. "You remember Cherie, you met her at Mas du Clos." Indeed we did remember her. She had made a grand entrance after everyone else was seated for dinner, bringing all conversation to an immediate halt with her stunning posture and sexy attire.
Well, Joe and Cherie, did, indeed, show up at our doorstep a week later. But by the time they got here, they were so deeply entrenched in a fight that they were not speaking to one another! This made interesting conversation. "Ed, would you please ask Joe to pass the salt?" "Phoebe, would you please ask Cherie to pass the wine?"
But the interesting thing was that although they didn?t speak for days, we would hear the bed banging against the wall in that familiar rhythm at least once a night! It seems that Joe and Cherie were able to put their personal differences aside for what seemed to be the heart of their relationship!
After a week or two, Joe announced that he had to move on to New York for business, but Cherie wasn?t ready to leave. She asked if she might stay on for a short while. Thus began our long, if intermittent, relationship with Cherie.
In many ways, Cherie was the perfect house guest. She ate almost nothing, and always pitched in with the dishes and the household chores. Her main expense seemed to be wine. She consumed at least a bottle per day. I guess that?s why God made cheap wine.
Cherie was the owner of one of those magnificent French bodies. One could almost call it boyish, except for the curves and bumps in all the right places. And she was very fond of sun bathing in the near-nude. In the European fashion, she would exit the house for the swimming pool in nothing but a G-string, which she would then untie at the sides, lying on the float in the swimming pool with a little bit of string strategically placed, tanning her body without a single mark anywhere.
At the time, there were two teenage boys living next door on the swimming pool side of our property. While, from our side, it looked as though we had an 8-foot wall, their property was actually higher than ours by several feet, so that from their side, i