Here’s the setup: In 1993, Leonard Cohen, the singer-songwriter and poet who was perhaps the world’s greatest interviewee, switched roles to interview Rebecca De Mornay, the gorgeous movie actress who was, for a time, Mr. Cohen’s fiancée. The following excerpt is from From Knowing Rebecca de Mornay Like Only Leonard Cohen Can by Leonard Cohen with William Claxton. Interview magazine. June 1, 1993:
Leonard Cohen: What are your recollections of Summerhill, your school in England?
Rebecca De Mornay: Summerhill, founded by A.S. Neill, was the beginning of many of the experimental schools in the West. You visited a friend’s son there, who was there exactly the same year as I was. You have a recollection that you saw me when I was five.
Leonard Cohen: That’s right.
Rebecca De Mornay: Do you really remember that?
Leonard Cohen: Yes, I do.
Rebecca De Mornay: You promise?
Leonard Cohen: There’s no reason that I would want to deceive you. I remember looking through a doorway and seeing a woman, half-clad, sweeping the floor…
Rebecca De Mornay: That was Sheila, our housemistress. It was the ’60s. She had very large, tan breasts.
Leonard Cohen: …and I remember a little girl running from behind her skirt, out into the campus. I thought, What a beautiful child.
Rebecca De Mornay: How do you know that child was me?
Leonard Cohen: You have the same light as that child. One doesn’t see this light so often. Now, it may have been another child there, but I think it’s highly unlikely. I think it was you.