Nancy Locke and Meredith Baxter: A Finish Worthy of Hollywood

December 15th, 2013

Emily Berl for The New York Instances

The few pay attention to toasts at their reception at the Mountain Mermaid, a 1930s Spanish hacienda in Topanga, Calif.

It could have been a meet up with-adorable scene in a motion picture.

Nancy Locke, who owns a construction business in Los Angeles, was going by way of a challenging time 8 years back and “thought it would be a excellent notion to look at currently being sober.” So a pal gave her the phone number and name of a sober lady who may possibly be of help. “She mentioned the woman’s identify was Meredith,” Ms. Locke stated. “She didn’t give me a final identify.”

What Ms. Locke didn’t know was that the woman she would be revealing her troubles to above the phone for the subsequent 5 months was the actress Meredith Baxter, well recognized for her role in the eighties television sequence “Family Ties” and her perform in far more than 50 tv films.

“I unloaded on her and she understood every little thing about me,” Ms. Locke mentioned.

“I realized she was a contractor and she was gay,” Ms. Baxter stated. “She understood nothing at all about me. My function was that of a listener.”

The telephone conversations at some point ended and Ms. Locke labored out her sobriety concerns. But months later when Ms. Locke was talking about the problems of creating new close friends in the course of a discussion with the very same lady who had linked her to Ms. Baxter, the girl explained: Get in touch with Meredith.

Ms. Locke complied and they set a time to meet for espresso at a Starbucks in Santa Monica, in which Ms. Baxter lived.

But before assembly, Ms. Locke mentioned: “I don’t know what you search like. Are you blonde, brunette, tall?”

Ms. Baxter, who knew Ms. Locke would recognize her, replied: “It’s not a massive Starbucks. Let us just see if we can locate each other.”

She provides now: “What was I heading to say? ‘Boy, am I going to knock your socks off?’ ”

Ms. Locke arrived at Starbucks, and cue the meet-adorable. She mentioned she remembered pondering: “There’s that actress. What’s her identify? Meredith Baxter.” As she approached Ms. Baxter she explained: “Wait. You’re Meredith?”

Right after the initial embarrassment, the two related. “We started conversing about motion pictures and artwork and books,” stated Ms. Locke, now 58, who researched art at the University of California, Santa Barbara. “It was not, ‘I want to day this man or woman,’ but ‘I want to know her.’ ”

“She had laughing eyes, and she appeared like she moved easily by way of the planet,” stated Ms. Baxter, now sixty six. For the sake of starting an trustworthy friendship, Ms. Baxter needed to tell her she was a lesbian, one thing she hadn’t yet revealed publicly.

In 2002, soon after a few marriages and 5 youngsters, she experienced her first substantial romantic relationship with a lady, and recognized then that she was homosexual. “But I hadn’t been on that team long sufficient to know how one particular brought that up,” she stated. “I may well as properly have explained, ‘I was ingesting my hat the other day,’ due to the fact out of nowhere I explained, ‘Well, the woman I’m viewing …’ and Nancy stated, ‘What? You’re homosexual?’ ”

More than the next 3 months, during the wintertime of 2005, they commenced assembly for espresso, which turned into assembly for evening meal and videos. By the beginning of 2006, Ms. Baxter had finished her earlier partnership. At the exact same time, Ms. Locke recognized she was possessing romantic emotions for Ms. Baxter. “I imagined she had inner thoughts for me, but I was concerned to request her due to the fact I did not want to scare her absent,” Ms. Locke said. “Finally I believed the hell with it. I’m just heading to explain to her.” Ms. Baxter stated she experienced comparable emotions.

“I remember driving back again home and it was nearly like I was traveling,” Ms. Locke said. “We decided that the time we invested together we’d phone courting alternatively of looking at each other.”

Courting, however, turned out to be at times turbulent. Ms. Baxter’s preceding marriages had remaining her guarded and suspicious. And she was uneasy about how becoming observed in community as a lesbian would have an effect on her job.

When Ms. Locke, who lived in Silver Lake, Calif., about 20 miles away from Ms. Baxter, requested if she could leave a few clothing at Ms. Baxter’s, Ms. Baxter balked. “I said, ‘I really do not have any room,’ and I stay in a five-bedroom property,” Ms. Baxter mentioned now, with a fair evaluate of chagrin. And when she concerned that photographers have been lurking close to her property, she asked Ms. Locke to park her truck down the road. “She just looked at me like ‘Are you cigarette smoking crack?’ and experienced the integrity to say, ‘No,’ ” Ms. Baxter said. “Thinking back again, it must have been vastly punishing.”

This post has been revised to replicate the following correction:

Correction: December fifteen, 2013

An before edition of a photograph caption with this write-up improperly referred to Ms. Baxter as Mr. Baxter.

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