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A Family Holiday

Life Story Club Contributor

Nov 22, 2019

Well, unfortunately, my mother and grandmother, which were my main family, they are deceased. We used to have big feasts and my grandmother was a great cook and she had a 450 acre farm, upstate New York, West of Esperance, which was West of Schenectady. I don’t know if you know upstate.

But it was a beautiful area with the Schoharie Creek running through it. And we used to have wonderful family gatherings. I still have an uncle, but I don’t really see him …

He was in the army and so he was in Seoul, but I did meet him in Seoul. I was a singer and I did a USO tour to Seoul. And my uncle had gone to West Point and he graduated as a Colonel.

So I go to Seoul and who’s in charge of the base that we go to, but my uncle! So they treated us royally and it was a lovely trip. And Vietnam was, not Vietnam, but Seoul who was really, very welcoming and I loved the trip.

I did a cabaret, an hour and a half show. And I did that. I started in, as a matter of fact, it’s a Latin quarter here on Times Square. I worked there for a solid year, three shows a night, seven days a week. The only way I got a day off was when they shot JFK. Then they closed the place for the night. But I proceeded from there to a Caesar’s Palace in Vegas.

And I also worked as a travel agent for American Express. I managed an office on 42nd Street. And so I used to sell a lot of Concorde tickets and so they said, the Concorde of course it’s gone now, but at the time it was very popular with the executives from different organizations and all over the world. And the Concorde was like two hours and a half trip from Paris to New York or New York to London. It was too expensive to run. But the executives loved it because they, and they sent me, they said anybody’s who sells the Concorde should experience it. So they sent me the around the world first class and I came back on the Concorde. Which was lovely, it was a lovely trip. But it’s much easier to explain to executives that you better go to the john before you get on the plane because the lavatory was very small and these were big burly guys, you know? So I always said, make sure you go to the john, you’ll be uncomfortable otherwise.

Oh yes. You absolutely could tell that the plane was traveling much faster. It was a lovely experience actually. And of course when I did that, they sent me around the world first class and I went to Jakarta and I stayed at the Almond Doré, which was a beautiful, beautiful resort. I was paying seven hundred dollars as a travel agent for staying there.

I walked into the room and I thought, well, I better change because Jakarta is warm. And I’m dressed for traveling and so I get my jacket off and with that the lights go out. So I’m standing in the middle of the room and I saw is that there was like a lavatory at the bottom of the room and all I could picture was I’m going to go head first into the bath tub. At $700 a night. I didn’t think that was very nice. But anyway, it was a beautiful resort and a beautiful trip. And those kinds of trips don’t come around very often, truthfully.

Oh yes, sure. I took plenty of photos. I worked for a newspaper the Wave of Long Island. With the woman called Dorothy Dunn and she wrote the column that she had, and I made the pictures. It was a fun job.

Extraordinary Day

Life Story Club Contributor

Nov 1, 2019

… I was coming up from the village on the day that the tower was blown down. I took a bus from the village and I got to 42nd street, I got off the bus, and I looked up, and there was this huge black cloud and I didn’t know what it was. I thought, “My God, what is this?” So, I went to a little deli store where they had little televisions, where you could have a cup of coffee and you could see on television. So, then I discovered that the World Trade Center had been blown up and people were struggling to get out of that area. I was lucky I wasn’t in it, I was on 42nd Street. But it was a very exciting adventure, I’ll tell you. And I would rather not live that again, I must say.


Life Story Club Contributor

Nov 1, 2019

Well, I was a pretty good singer. Oh, yes. And it got me all over the world. I worked fabulous clubs. Madrid, where the place exploded when I… Let’s say I would do current tunes and stuff, and then at the end of the program I would do Sempre Libera, which brought the house down because I did it well. I trained with a star at the Met. A tenor, René Maison. I always did well with my singing. I worked at the Latin Quarter for a solid years. Three shows a night, seven days a week. The only way I got a day off was when they shot JFK, and they closed the Latin Quarter for the night.

But it certainly got me all over the world. The only place I really didn’t like was Australia because the English people had taken all their prisoners and sent them to Australia, so they were really nasty people. And it wasn’t fun. You know? I worked South Sydney Junior League Club, which was a… Part of the week they would do wrestling matches or boxing or stuff. And the rest of the week I would do a cabaret show, an hour and a half show. And then I would go to Melbourne, which is a very lovely city, and I would do television for the rest of the week. So it was interesting experience.

But it got me around the world first class and on the Concorde coming back. Which was a interesting experience. But I worked for American Express as a travel agent, and they said, “If you’re going to sell it, you’d better experience it.” So they sent me around the world first class, and I came back on the Concorde. Which was a very interesting experience because the laboratory was tiny and, you know, all these executives that I was sending on the Concorde, they were big burly men. You know, executives and stuff. And so I’d always tell them, make sure you go to the john before you get on the Concorde.

And they appreciated that because otherwise they couldn’t get into the lavatory. But life is funny what it does to you. Unfortunately it really was not a comfortable ride. It was two and a half hours from New York to Paris or New York to London. So it was a fast ride, and it got them where they wanted to go. And they had business they wanted to do, so…But it was an interesting experience taking it.

Young Trouble

Life Story Club Contributor

Oct 25, 2019

I was very quiet. I loved the people that I lived with. And I really never got in trouble. Oh I had a white mouse, as a pet. I had 24 chihuahua’s. They were a pound and a quarter each. In those days, you know you could get on a plane and I’d put my chihuahua under my coat and get on the plane and put him in my lap. But today you couldn’t get away with that with so much security. But it wasm it was fun. I travelled the world with them. I didn’t put them in my handbag, just under my arm. Clutching them under my arm. 

Did they get in trouble? 

No. They were very well-behaved and they you know they sit in my lap and they love going with me. It was fun for both of us. I lived in London for three and a half years. But that London has very, very bad climate. Yeah. Oh it’s terrible. It was still fun. You know. I had a horse that was named after me and she won at Royal Ascot. And I led her into the winner’s circle. But unfortunately she died having twins. Oh yes. But while she lived she had a very good life and she was beautiful. But I love animals. I’ve always been surrounded with lots of animals. Chickens. On the farm, we had a peckin’ chickens. Truthfully when they got cooked up, they were delicious. I felt bad about it. But not too bad.

Family Tradition

Life Story Club Contributor

Oct 25, 2019

Well, we were really.. My Grandmother was a fabulous cook and she had a beautiful farm upstate west of Schenectady and near a little town called Esperance. And it was four hundred and fifty acres and the Schoharie “crick”, they always called it a “crick”, ran through, which was beautiful, which is where my mother is buried actually. They had a beautiful cemetery overlooking the Schoharie crick.  My mother was a wonderful mother. She was a fabulous artist. She used to do full page ads in The New York Times for B Altman and Company, which at that time was a really good department store. And… but, I don’t know why I was raised by my maid Constant Delight. She was a black woman, but she was so sweet and loving and caring and she was a maid. But she had her own bedroom in our house. Not the farm, but, well, she also had a room there too when we would go up there in the summer. But we lived on 11th street. 

Were you the only child?

I’m an only child.

So did you do anything a family tradition, just you and your parents?

Not really. My grandmother would cook for the holidays and my grandfather would come up to the farm and we would stay there but it was very lonesome because there were no kids around. I’m a city person, I really like the city, I’m not a country person at all. So I was always trying for me to go to the country for a couple of weeks in the summer. 

But my mother took me all over this country when I was a child. Then we’d go skiing, and go whatever you know turn this on or turn me on. And then when I was an adult, I took her all over the world. I travelled. 

Travelling was your tradition the two of you. 

Yes. We loved travelling and we loved to see different cultures. And we did that most of our lives. 

My neighborhood

Life Story Club Contributor

Oct 18, 2019

I grew up on 11th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenue. It was a really lovely area to grow up in. Dustin Hoffman lived in my building- And until the Weathermen came and blew up the townhouse across the street, we all got along pretty well. But at that point, when the Weathermen blew up the townhouse … They were terrorists group. They were called the Weathermen. They were a terrorist group. That’s when Dustin Hoffman moved out of my building, and we still stayed on 11th Street, and it was a beautiful area except for the Weathermen. But it was actually a beautiful place to grow up. And, my mother was a commercial artist. She used to do full page ads in the New York times for B. Altman and Company, which at the time was a beautiful- Upscale, very upscale department store on 34th Street and Fifth Avenue. 

Did the neighborhood look different from what it is today?

No, I think it’s still an area of the brownstones and small apartment houses, but I spent my life traveling the world. I went around the world first class and came back on the Concorde because at one time I worked as a travel agent for American Express. So they said, “If you’re going to sell the Concorde, you better experience it.” So they sent me around the world first class and I stopped in Jakarta and stayed at the Amandari Resort, which was a beautiful resort. So, I walk into the building and I decided that I should change my clothes to warm, because I had been traveling, get rid of my heavier clothes. And so I changed. I started to change and with that the lights went out, and all I could remember was that they were across the bottom of the living room there was the bathroom. The tub was there. And, I’m crawling around the floor because I don’t want to fall first into the bathtub. So, I’m crawling around it. I finally find the bed, and with that, the lights went back on. But I thought to myself, “Here I am, paying $700, as the travel agent, for an apartment and I’m crawling around on the floor.” I just thought it was very strange and very funny, truthfully.

But, I did travel. They sent me around the world first class and I came back on the Concorde. So, it was a very nice experience and I have … My mother, when I was a child, took me all over this country because she loved to travel, and when I was an adult, I took her all over the world. I’ve been to Japan 19 times. Because, I grew up eating sushi, which I really liked eating and I still eat it. I like it.

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