Part 4 My Three Wives OR: My Adventures with…

This chapter or section of L-15’s autobiography  has a huge title.  And it covers pages 9 through 42 of the actual manuscript that was found.  We shall cover the sub-section titled Wife Number 1 in this posting.  We began with his childhood trauma which centered around his mother and the vague but obviously forced separation from Mother and two un-named younger siblings.  We next see in this posting a second severe disappointment that centers on women in the life of Bernard Schatz.  So here, in his own words, is the first part of the large chapter:






Subtitled: WIFE NUMBER 1

The first of these three marriage experiences occurred about six years following the Jeffrey G. /Calotta Monte adventure. By that time I had been in college for seven years and had graduated from physical therapy school.  It so happened that I was going with a young lady who had also graduated physical therapy school.  As a matter of fact we had been going together for a period of two years.  Although I was a practicing physical therapist my core identity was (and still is) that of an artist.  As a matter of fact I had set aside $2,500 ( a sizable amount in those days) so that I could take off a couple years and travel around the Greek Islands and live the life of an artist.  I had purchased a ticket on a freighter that took on passengers an was awaiting its departure a few weeks hence when I would start my life as a real artist.

Now as I say this young lady and I had been going together for two years.  We shared an interest in music, art, and of course we were both physical therapists.  We had a lovely and loving relationship.  For example, on weekends we often took walks through the woods.  I would work on drawings and paintings and she would read to herself so as not to disturb my concentration.  In the evenings we might listen to the opera or just talk about things (this was at a time when young people did not immediately move in with one another).

As the time for my departure for the Greek Islands approached, this young woman brought to mind how painful our separation would be.  She pointed out our commonality and the love that we shared.  Conversations, somehow, drifted toward marriage.  She indicated that a marriage between the two of us would be quite wonderful.  My position was that I had always felt quite strongly that I wanted to be a serious artist, not just a Sunday painter.  I had read about artists that had led bitter an disappointing lives because they had encumbered themselves in relationships that prevented them from pursuing their artistic goals, and not withstanding the tender feelings I had toward this person, I simply could not allow this to happen.

She parried this line of thought by pointing out that she had a career that she loved and that it would give her immense happiness to help nurture my development as an artist.  She pointed out that her salary could easily support both of us and that she would gladly share anything she had with me, no matter how long it might take, even if I never became a successful artist.  She admired my determination and wanted deeply to become my wife.

The subject of children came up.  We both loved children and I pointed out that because of my determination to become a serious artist children might never be possible ( I was well acquainted with Thomas Rawlinson’s cartoon “The Married Artist”).  She said that as much as she loved children and wanted to be a mother, her love for me, and her admiration for my strong commitment to become an artist overrode her maternal desire.  She did not want anything to stand in the way of my becoming a successful artist.  Far from being an obstacle to my artistic aspiration, a marriage between the two of us would nurture and support my hopes and dreams.

Well, it sounded wonderful.  I would not have to leave the woman I loved and who deeply loved me.  And so I cashed in the ticket to the freighter and put the $2,500 as a down payment on a home ($10,000 to $12,000 bought a lot of home in those days) and we got married.

I remember quite well that as we lay close together on our nuptial bed she said to me in a voice that I had not heard before and in a tone that caused my blood to run cold:  “You will never be able to satisfy me.”

When we returned from an exceedingly grim honeymoon my bride provided me with several announcements:

  1. She was contemplating suicide.
  2. She was humiliated by the thought that she would have to support me for the rest of my life and that this would embarrass her terribly if her friends and co-workers found out.
  3. She wanted to get pregnant as soon as possible.
  4. I would have to get a job.
  5. I would have to drive her to work.

In additions to these announcements she acted in an extremely agitated manner.  For example, when I was in the process of driving her to or from work she would occasionally reach for the car door with the stated intention of opening it an hurling herself out onto the road in order to kill herself (I had to reach over from time to time in order to restrain her from pursuing this endeavor while at the same time attempting to keep control of the car as best I could).  She screamed and cursed.  She hurled objects such as dishes onto the floor.

I immediately contacted her family and told them what was happening.  They informed me that she was having one of her “black moods.”  My initial inclination was to bug out, I felt I had been deceived.  I felt that the marriage was null an void because the woman I thought I had married was not the woman I had actually married.  But I was concerned that she might indeed commit sucide, and for some reason that escaped me I actually felt twinges of guilt.

So I thought I would get some psychiatric advice.  I asked around for the name of a good psychiatrist.  Dr. Anthony DiNolfo was suggested and I accordingly made an appointment to see him.  I described the situation and told him that I was inclined to leave it as soon as possible but that I was concerned about the sucide threats of my bride.  He told me that her threats might or might not be real ones, but it would probably be in her best interests if I could stick it out until she could be seen by him or another psychiatrist.  I decided to stick it out.

My nerves were rattled by all of this and I couldn’t concentrate on anything besides the antics of my new bride and so I ceased to do any art work.  My whole life was focused on my bride and how to get her to a psychiatrist.  She was reluctant to see one and so I endured a few months of the above goings on before she finally agreed to see Dr. DiNolfo (this is simplifying what turned out to be very complicated). Fortunately for my bride she responded well and rather quickly to the sessions with Dr. DiNolfo.  In any event she calmed down and stopped screaming, throwing things, and threatening suicide.  I called Dr. DiNolfo after a while and he felt my bride was well along in her therapy and that I could safely leave the marriage scene.

I discussed with my bride why I (was) desirous of exiting from married life.  She felt that we should give it another go, but I had lost all confidence in her veracity and left.  The entire episode of my first marriage lasted four months.  My bride accepted the house I had purchased, as a token of my esteem (I later learned that she sold it and used the proceeds for an extended European vacation).

That ends the smaller subitled section on the first wife of L-15.  I can understand how relationships can have two sides and two different perspectives.  But given this account I am more sympathetic toward his perspective given the details of the story from his point of view.  I had heard him give an oral account of this story once a few years ago long before reading this account.  They match and I can at least testify as to the emotional impact the experience had on him.  The emotional experiences between L-15 and women in his life will leave more of an influence on his art as life goes on, but it will not be without interludes of some happiness.  I want to  note here that the manuscript was preceded with this dedication:

I dedicate this book to Anna (his only daughter, with his third wife)  for whom I want to stick around as long as possible so I can see as much as possible the interesting and exciting things she gets into.  I also dedicate it to C., (his third wife)  as she was when we first met.  I miss and still love that person.

The next posting from his autobiography will be the subtitled section:  “AN INTERVENING INTERLUDE.”


Part 3 How I Lost My Virginity or: My Carnal Connection with W.C. Fields

Part 3 of the autobiography of Bernard Schatz (L-15) “My Life as a Bastard” continues after some significant and extensive gaps.  He said it was too painful to  experience it all over again as it was put to paper.  I believe him. But, I want to note that his avoidance of talking about his own pain never prevented him from creating painful or haunting expressions in his artwork.  So, as I am thinking of some of these expressions, now I am struck by the visual effect of seeing these blank pages in his manuscript.  He says he makes them a specific length to correspond to the estimated size of the content of those memories.  And then it hits me that this is an artist’s intentional design of a “negative space.”  I shall now be viewing his art, especially his Inter-Galactic Angels, and the negative spaces in the eyes of the raku sculptures of Angel ‘skulls,’ very differently now (these numbered #104 through #108 and one numbered #113 are good examples).  It is this realization of the pain within the negative space that I now contrast with the beauty of the surrounding surfaces of his angels.

However painful some memories are to L-15, he has others that fall into the category of his whimsically teasing tendency.  And that is where we go next with Part 3 of his lost autobiography.




I was an extremely shy lad, and I also had a great fear of getting a lady pregnant and thereby being forced to assume the responsibilities of fatherhood at an early age and so I maintained my virginity as I approached my twentieth year.

It so happened that at the time (1950) I was taking a theater arts course at Los Angeles City College.  It also happened that there was another theater arts student by the name of Jeffry G. (son of the director Ralph G.).  Jeffrey was extremely handsome, stood about six foot thee, had huge shoulders, and was as swishing a queen as can be imagined. Jeffrey took a fancy to me (I was what can be described as a “pretty boy”) and lusted after my body.

He contrived all kinds of maneuvers to consummate a successful seduction even though I informed him at the start of our friendship that I had no inclinations toward the male gender.  I recall one time he took me to a well known watering hole, the Bar of Music, located on Melrose Avenue, supplied me with an identification card that stated I was over the age of twenty one, and proceeded to order “boiler makers” for the two of us.  After a number of them had been downed he took me fora drive up to the Hollywood Hills in his classic Cord convertible.  He parked at an overlook that provided a beautiful panorama of Los Angeles with all its sparkling lights that was spread out before us.

As I was admiring the view Jeffrey suddenly groped my crotch and attempted to stick his tongue into my mouth.  Pulling myself away I exclaimed: “Jeffery, you promised!”  Jeffrey plighted his love for me and said he had to have my body, he could wait no longer, and pulled me toward him (he was very strong and I was somewhat under the influence).  However, I managed to escape from his grasp, opened the car door, and ran around to the front of the car, Jeffrey following.  For the next several minutes I ran around the car with Jeffery in (hot) pursuit.  He said he would give me anything in exchange for experiencing my body.  He said that the title for Cord was in the glove compartment and that he would immediately sign it over to me.  He said He was wearing an expensive gold ring which he would take off and give to me if I would only submit to his desires.

I told him that if he didn’t stop all this nonsense that I would be forced to walk home.  He finally cooled down, promised to behave, and drove me home. He then hit upon a different strategy (I figured this out later).  He calculated that once I lost my virginity that he would have a better chance to consummate a physical relationship between the two of us.  And so he started to look for a sexual partner for me.

The first person he selected was a lesbian friend of his.  He told her that I was a virgin and asked her to please let me know her body (this was at a luncheon he had arranged for the three of us).  She said no, she would not be interested in such a thing.  Jeffrey pointed out that it would be no big deal and that he had done favors for her in the past.  But she persisted in her refusal, so Jeffrey had to continue his search for a first time partner for me.

The next person that Jeffrey selected proved to be a success.  Jeffrey was friends with one Carlotta Monte, the long time mistress of W.C. Fields.  Jeffrey called me one day and told me that Carlotta would be pleased to help out a young virgin.  Indeed when I called Carlotta she sounded very nice and pleasant and invited me over to her apartment.  I found Carlotta to be just as nice (even nicer) in person.  And so I lost my virginity, although sadly it did not turn out well for Jeffrey because the experience confirmed my belief that I was inclined toward an interest in the female gender and not that of the male.

But the exciting , almost spiritual thing about the adventure was something that came to mind years after the event.  I have always been an admirer of W.C. Fields.  It has dawned on me that we shared something of great intimacy and importance:  the last carnal experience of W.C. Fields was in the same exact area where I had my first carnal experience.  W.C. Fields and I will always share a strong common bond.  When he and I meet in heaven some day we will have something to discuss.  Come to think of it, Carlotta will probably be up there too….hmmm.

Now let’s jump ahead to what became monumental life experiences .

We will now discuss:  MY THREE WIVES…

There are 42 pages of manuscript before it abruptly ends and we are on page 9 at this point.  I will have to end here and consider how to continue with more timely segments.  It is likely we will take on one wife at a time, but I will leave you with Bernard’s overly verbose title that covers the remaining pages through page 42:








Part 2 “Earliest Memories”

Continuing from the recently found transcript of an unfinished autobiography of L-15 (Bernard Schatz), I will remind the reader that L-15 is intending to leave gaps in his account that correspond to his most painful memories.  Also, this appears to have been written (per his own copyright note) in 1999.  My notes on L-15’s time line of events show:

1929 or 1930 his mother Julia, age 17,  visits a family friend of her mother on her way to college.

1931 November is his birth about a year later;

1942 marks his separation from his mother (and according to his brief account to J.C. just before dying he was separated from two younger siblings to whom he was very attached);

1981 (at age 50) L-15 says after an absence of about 40 years is when he went to see his mother Julia to learn more about his past;

2015 (at age 83) he speaks with his friend J.C. of “being a bastard” just days before his death.

2017 December we find and begin reading his story which continues with part 2:


My very earliest memory is of running wildly down a sidewalk and approaching a curbing.  Grandfather Leon came from behind and snatched me up just before I reached the curb.  I recall that I was dressed in a pink snowsuit outfit (Jumper sort of thing).  I must have been about two years old  This would have taken place in Baltimore, Maryland.

Another early memory:  I was old enough to urinate standing up into a commode.  I recall waking up during the night and sleepily wee-weeing into a commode.  Midway through this process I realized by the splashing sound the the cover of the commode had been left down and I was wee-seeing onto the cover of the commode.

And finally:  I distinctly recall the smell and sight of open barrels of herring and pickles in Uncle max’s delicatessen.  Max was not really an uncle.  He was married to Sophie who was a cousin to Grandma Dora.  They also came from Dvinsk.  I recall referring to Sophie and Max as Aunt Sophie and Uncle Max.  I must have been about four.


Two blank pages occur in the manuscript  before L-15 continues his story.


And so, I was taken in  by Aunt Sylvie and Uncle Maury and their son Cousin Tom.

(Oh, I should have mentioned above that Grandfather Leeon was a pharmacist and was fully capable of mixing up a concoction that could have doped up Mother Julia during her “marriage.”  And, knowing the family of the Matriarch as I now do, I fully realize that they were morally capable of perpetuating such a terrible thing).


Two blank more blank pages occur in the manuscript  before L-15 continues his story.


And so we now skip to when I was nineteen years of age.

Yes, we are all experiencing an L-15 “Cry to Heaven” moment.  I am sure that in “Heaven” L-15 is having a laugh and telepathically sending the thought “Ah, negative space, it makes that which surrounds it all the more important, don’t it.”  I am concluding that there are two pages of painful memories between age 4 and age 11 hidden in the negative space of two blank pages.  Then we have the “Taking in of eleven-year-old Bernard” and two more blank pages of painful memories.

Here I will leave the manuscript written by L-15 before continuing with Part 3.  Upon more careful reading I now see that the earliest memories  of the young Bernard Schatz occurred in Baltimore, Maryland.  The “escape” by his mother Julia took place when he was eleven years old.  At that time she went from California to New York and later, but not much later, father Milton went to Pennsylvania with a new wife, Celia.  At present we are all puzzled by the reference to the two younger siblings made by L-15 to his friend J.C.  They are not mentioned in his manuscript.  Two pages of negative space is there to give us the hint that much pain was felt by an eleven-year-old boy who lived then in California with an aunt, Sylvie or Sara, an uncle Maury (or Maurie L-15 was never good at spelling) and cousin Tom.  Perhaps Julia had no legal right to him but had a way to take both of the siblings.  Perhaps there was some other explanation; a conflict over young Bernard preventing him from staying with his mother and then later being left by his father when Celia enters the picture.

From my conversations with L-15 when he was in his late 70s I learned he had a half sister who e-mailed to him from North Carolina saying she wanted to get together with him and (review or process) their feelings about the father (Milton) they had in common.  Alcohol and abuse was implied in the review of this relationship.  But L-15 would have none of this.  He said it was too painful and he did not want a relationship with his half sister at this cost of bringing up all of that pain again.

Because I have read ahead in this story and I have a greater context about L-15’s art and the titles he has given them, and then later re-titled them.  I want to mention that there is a reference to a piece of L-15’s sculpture made in a film dated to 1985 as “Cousin Tom.”  That piece he later described to me as part of his Vietnam series (a distressed, wounded, disemboweled figure he titled “War” on his web site: Until today I had no clue as to who or why he would name that piece “Cousin Tom” in the 1985 film of his Blacksburg, VA exhibit presentation.  Now, I see that reference very differently.

Part 3 will be coming up in the next blog posting (and there is more copy in this part of the manuscript instead of blank pages).  That may be a sign of less painful memories and more whimsical recollections:



The Lost Auto-Bio of L-15, Bernard Schatz

I must admit this will be a bit of a teaser.  If you knew Bernard Schatz, L-15, he teased frequently.   The appearances on the Steve Allen show in 1963 under the artistic name of Cheyanne Schatz are the earliest classic example (  It appears that in 1999 he copyright marked (and probably wrote) part of an autobiography.  I (Daniel Roell, fan & keeper of the L-15 archives) found the hard printed copy recently in December of 2017.

I must say I am gullible easily teased and a great sport.  But Bernard would see me believing him and confess, his compassion prevented him from going on too long “yanking my chain.”  Therefore you must understand the following story was written by Bernard (L-15) in his own style and we will forever wonder about the missing parts.  (Like the negative spaces in the eyes of his sculptures they may haunt us, or whimsically tease us with our own fears.)

Therefore out of compassion to your dear reader, I tell you that this story is only a tease in the way he wrote it and so it is probably true in the facts it reveals.  I believe it explains a lot about the artist and his art.  It can be corroborated by his friend J.C.  I don’t believe she has read this Autobiography yet.  But I recognize it as the background of the brief story Bernard told her just days before his death in July of 2015.    J.C. told me of her conversation with Bernard when she had her last visit with him.  It was then that she helped him have a last conversation with his daughter by phone, reconciling the misunderstandings between father and daughter in a timely way.  And she told me that he whispered to her, “I am a bastard.” So, you’ve been warned!  His own words will draw you in and leave you with many questions unanswered.  Here’s part 1 of “My Life As A Bastard! the memoirs of Bernard Schatz:”

“How I Came to be a Bastard”

A young woman (17 years of age) left New York on her way to enroll in her first year of college.  She decided to stop over at some friends of her mother (her mother Lena had lived in the same village, Dvinsk, located on the border of Poland and Russia, as the matriarch Dora of the family that the young woman was going to visit).

The name of that young woman was Julia.  The names of the members of the family that Julia was going to visit (for a weekend) were:

Dora……the matriarch

Leon……husband of the matriarch

Sylvia, ne Sara……daughter of the matriarch

Milton…….son of the matriarch 

Maurie……husband of Sylvia

What Julia recalled when I was reunited with her after an absence of forty years (fifty years after all of this happened) was that her mind became rapidly befuddled after drinking something that she was given.  She vaguely recalls a rabbi being involved and the members of the family.  What Julia became aware of when her mind cleared was that she had just been married to Milton.

About a year after all of this happened I was born, a son of Julia and Milton.  My name is Bernard.  When I was eleven I became separated from Julia.  We were reunited when I was fifty.  At that time she told me that when she tried to divorce Milton (when I was eleven) she found out that a marriage had never in fact taken place.  That probably accounted for the argument with the rabbi and the family that had targeted her to be the companion of their son.  And so, when I was fifty, I learned that I was an illegitimate bastard.

I forgot to mention above that father Milton, at the time that mother Julia “escaped” from Milton and his family (from California to New York) his family quickly found another wife for him (by the name of Celia).  They left for Pensylvania and were never seen again (by me).  This time it was, I believe, a legal marriage.

I must mention that from time to time in these memoirs certain events will be touched upon that are so painful to me that I will be unable to discuss them.  These events will be indicated by blank spaces, the lengths of the spaces will correspond as accurately as possible with the number of words it would have taken to fill the spaces had they not been so painful to me.  The blank spaces will be enclosed by dots such as:


Blank Space


This is where I leave Bernard’s written manuscript for now.  Part 2 “Earliest Memories” will be in the next publication of this blog.  We may feel and share L-15’s “Cry to Heaven” here in his words and see it in much of his art (  But despite his tragic expressions I want you to know that there was a whimsical and compassionate heart beat behind them for nearly 84 years.

An Easy Access List to 14 Angels on eBay

Just to help followers of L-15 to keep up; I have been photographing and posting on eBay the medium sized Early Abstract Raku Angels of L-15.

#042 through #54 (with the exception of #044) are listed here (copy and paste this link) :

But for some reason #044 has been separated and is here (copy and paste this link) :