Grieving By the Book

By Bonnie McGrath

While Judge Hiroshi Fujisaki is in Los Angeles signing the final $33.5 million judgment against O.J. Simpson, the Goldmans are at Borders on Michigan Avenue signing scores of copies of His Name Is Ron. The books are being passed from Patti to Kim to Fred, who look exactly the way they do on TV. Their black pens dig into title pages, signing them “Ron’s Family.”

The signing started at noon. I arrived at 12:25. I stand a few feet in front of the Goldmans, waiting for something to happen.

“There were big crowds yesterday in Deerfield–lots of people were lined up and crying. Hundreds,” says Sharyn Rosenblum, director of publicity for William Morrow & Company. “There were only about 85 here today.”

No one’s here at the moment except PR people from Morrow and Borders. They’re strutting back and forth with cell phones and beepers and folders. The phones ring. They talk. The Goldmans sign.

Finally a man who resembles Ron comes over to the table and stands in front of Fred. The man is crying. He grabs Fred’s hand and says how happy he is for him. Patti and Kim keep signing. An elderly woman with a down-and-out look comes over and gets Fred to stand up and hug her. His mustache remains full and stiff.

Suddenly Kim looks up, and our eyes lock. She glares at me as if to say, “What are you doing here?” Instead of going over and telling her how many tears I shed for her in October 1995, the rage and despair I felt, and then the anxiety, and then the relief the night of the civil verdict, I end up identifying with the Asshole (Christopher Darden’s pet name for O.J.), who said during the civil trial that Kim’s stares were upsetting him.

Rosenblum asks me if I’d like to ask the Goldmans any questions, but I can’t think of any. I just came to see what’s happening, I explain. She says they’re about to go next door to Bistro 110 for lunch. I ask her if she’d mind if I join them.

“Yeah, I would,” she says. “It’s lunch.”

I ask her to reconsider.

“No, I won’t,” she says, “but I’ll send you a press kit. You don’t already have a press kit, do you?”

She walks over to Fred, takes her cell phone away from her head and tells him they’re going to Bistro 110 and they’ll be walking. Fred looks dissatisfied and mumbles something, and Rosenblum mumbles something back. Fred says, “Oh, it’s just next door. Oh, I see. Oh, OK.”

Kim stares at Rosenblum and huddles closer to her father to hear what he’s saying.

A large group of security guards, undercover cops, and bookstore personnel surrounds the Goldmans and Rosenblum. And as one big round entity, they all walk very quickly through the store and out the door.