STEPHEN SELEY – New York Times Obituaries Published: May 14, 1982
Stephen Seley, an American novelist, died of a heart attack last Saturday in Ibiza, Spain, where he had lived since 1957.
He was 67 years old.
Mr. Seley, who was born in Brooklyn and grew up in South Orange, N.J., and Newark, wrote The Cradle Will Fall, published by Harcourt, Brace & Company in 1945; Baxter Bernstein: A Hero of Sorts, published by Charles Scribner’s Sons in 1949, and The End of Mercy, published by De Bezige Bij of Amsterdam in 1969.
Surviving is a brother, Jason, a sculptor and dean of Cornell University’s College of Architecture, Art and Planning.
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“Baxter, tingting, looked, tingting, at tingting, the tingting, clock, ting-ting.” Random thoughts churned around in
Baxter’s stream of consciousness like rampaging underwear in an electric washing machine. “Goddamn you, Archibald Mac-Leish!” he thought: “And you, Dos Passes … So Hitler must be stopped? . . . Oh, but—and—oh, but—what’re yuh doin’? . . . Oh, the lousy lousy lousy LOUSY mess! Why isn’t it 1922 instead of 1942? And I—twenty-two, walking through the Tuiler-o-o-o with a copy of Ulysses . . .” And where was Lisa, murmuring with her “pink-lipped, delible pout”? In her place was a “dolled-up drab” named Inez, upon whose knee Baxter laid “a pitying hand.” She squealed: “Oh, sugar, we’re sure gonna have a time!” ~ Baxter Bernstein: A Hero of Sorts, Stephen Seley
Steve Seley was my father’s best friend. The Two Steves were infamous on Ibiza where the locals called them Steve Primero and Steve Segundo in order to tell one from the other.
When I arrived on the island in 1972, the locals immediately named me, Steve Tecero.
We’d stumble down to the Estrella every morning for coffee and yerbas, some local hangover remedy based mostly on the hair of the dog. Seley’d be reading the well-worn, passed-down newspaper that regularly made the rounds. Who gives a shit if it’s a month old? he’d growl, wearing his permanent scowl replete with foul expletives and ranting about something or other—I learned early on not to pay attention too closely. My father would be holding on to his basket (the traditional Ibizenco all-purpose bag that doubled as a shopping bag, overnight bag, booze-hiding bag, whatever…) freshly scrubbed, shaved and combed, ready to do his daily grocery shopping. He’d already been awake for the past 6 hours, painted another picture, and eaten breakfast. I, on the other hand, would still be blasted from the night before and didn’t care what those two were up to.
My father was a painter and between Steve, the writer and Steve, the painter, there was plenty of trouble to get into. They’d met in 1960 when my father was working on a ship that had docked in the harbor. Seley got my father so drunk that he showed up on the docks to ship out 2 days late, and the only thing he found were his bags sitting on the dock.
My father’s moniker for Seley was God. Did you see God today? he’d ask me. What did God have to say about your antics last night in the disco?… I’d snort and say, I’m sure he enjoyed them immensely, the dirty old man that he is…
Seley’s nickname for my father was The Nurse, because he’d nursed Seley back to life on several occasions from his renowned binges. Seley had returned the favor when my father ran away from his wife, The Warden, which happened so regularly that he finally rented an apartment across the street from Seley.
My father died suddenly in Jan. of 1981, of a stroke in his sleep. Seley was inconsolable. He’d lost his best friend, drinking buddy, partner in crime and nurse. He died less than a year later. I will forever treasure my memories of these two cracking private jokes at the Estrella and stumbling home drunk, holding each other up. I sure hope that there’s a well-stocked bar in Heaven…RIP Steves I & II, with love, Steve III