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Norma’s Peruvian Asado

Life Story Club Contributor

Me encanta esta receta, me trae muchos recuerdos felices. Unos consejos sobre la receta, una vez terminada te darás cuenta cuando ya está listo, se saca, ya no tiene jugo, ya se ha absorbido todo en la carne porque está tapado. Eso es normal. Todo tiene su sabor, y luego se sirve con arroz blanco, puede ser con puré de papas, puede ser con ensalada rusa que le llamamos nosotros. Se sirve como eso,  gustan, y su gravy, se le echa siempre, el gravy se le echa encima del arroz para que tenga sabor. ¡Y a comer!.


I love this recipe, it brings back so many happy memories. Some advice about the recipe: once finished you will realize it no longer has juice, everything has already been absorbed into the meat because it is covered. That’s normal. Everything has its flavor, and then it is served with white rice—it can be with mashed potatoes, it can be with Russian salad which is what we call it in Peru). It is served like that  and their gravy is always added, the gravy is added on top of the rice so that it has flavor. This is so delicious, enjoy!

Me encanta esta receta, me trae muchos recuerdos felices. Unos consejos sobre la receta, una vez terminada te darás cuenta cuando ya está listo, se saca, ya no tiene jugo, ya se ha absorbido t...

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A Warm Life Story Club Welcome

Life Story Club Contributor

“It became a family here!”

– Al Guariglia, age 86

Launched at the end of May 2021, Life Story Club @ Home is a virtual program that provides social support for older adults through the sharing of life stories. Life Story Club (LSC) organizes older adults into small cohorts of six to 12 participants who meet together each week with an LSC facilitator. Using a range of prompts, the facilitators invite people to exchange their life stories, sparking connections between participants which deepen over time.

The audio excerpt above is typical of the warm welcomes shared at the beginning of these club meetings. What was initially presented as an eight-week series has evolved into an ongoing club that is still coming together each week to meet over a year later.

"It became a family here!" - Al Guariglia, age 86 Launched at the end of May 2021, Life Story Club @ Home is a virtual program that provides social support for older adults through t...

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Collection of Favorite Comfort or Soul Food Recipes – Food Stories From New York & Beyond

Life Story Club Contributor

Fried Cauliflower with Mushroom and Beef 

By Susan

Something that tastes good fried is cauliflower with mushroom and beef. You can stir-fry it in avocado or olive oil, but stay away from corn oil. The combination of flavors of the cauliflower, mushroom, and beef is just great together. They get sealed in by using a lid. You can cook it easily in a wok, or even in a microwave, which I know is very bad but with a lid, it does also mix the flavors. I also add hamburger seasoning from McCormick on top of the cauliflower, mushroom, and beef – it’s just delicious. Or you can use whatever meat seasoning you like. Making it a bit spicy is yummy, too.

Fried Cauliflower with Mushroom and Beef  By Susan Something that tastes good fried is cauliflower with mushroom and beef. You can stir-fry it in avocado or olive oil, but stay ...

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Collection of Favorite Experimental Recipes – Food Stories From New York & Beyond

Life Story Club Contributor

Ratatouille

By Gary Schoichet

Everything I do in the kitchen is mostly an experiment. I like to make is ratatouille. And if I see anything in the refrigerator that looks like it needs to be thrown out tomorrow, it goes in. Once the ratatouille is cooked; it’s in the oven for 40 to 45 minutes  I take the monkfish or other white fish and add it to the ratatouille, letting it steam in the oven for about 10 minutes. 

It’s different every single time because I throw in a lot of spices too. Sometimes we get a little tentative about spices. You know, “Don’t throw in too much, don’t throw in too much.”

I’ve learned to put more and more spices and herbs because the flavor really sings in your mouth. I think one of the things about getting older is your taste buds kind of deteriorate and you need more flavors in your food so that you can actually taste them.


Cauliflower Steak

By Gary Schoichet

When it comes to cooking, it  used to be that nothing was in my comfort zone and now I don’t have a comfort zone. I don’t care, I just do it. We had cauliflower in the refrigerator for so long that it got moldy. So I scraped the mold or whatever it is off, and instead of slicing it, I cut it into chunks and I boiled it in salted water so it would soften up. It didn’t have to spend forever in the oven. It took five minutes until it was ready to eat, which was, to me, incredible. Then I put it on a grill to brown with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and–of course–some butter. I can’t not have enough butter: the secret to French cooking. 

And what did I put on it? Trader Joe’s has an everyday spice that I put all over it. Then, I cut up some cilantro, fresh cilantro. That’s how we ate it, it was delicious. The recipe came from nowhere. I didn’t know what I was doing.

I use balsamic vinegar or pomegranate molasses on many different things, particularly in salad dressings. There’s something about molasses. Blackstrap molasses. Whoever invented it should be given a Nobel Prize for culinary production.

Over the course of a couple of weeks I’ll use the same seasonings and stuff for different proteins. And for some reason, it all works. I know it does because my audience tells me that. Or else she just doesn’t want to do any more cooking, so she just keeps me in the kitchen doing it. I’m not quite sure which.

With my method of cooking, I can recreate recipes but it might not be the same each time. They’re always a little different. I might use cardamom one day, coriander the next, and both together the next. On the fourth day it’s ‘let’s eat out.’ 

My new favorite spice mix is Egyptian: Berbere. It’s so many things (paprika, garam masala, salt, cirtic acid, cardamom, cinnamon, cumin, ginger, hot curry, onion, black pepper, allspice, ground anise, garlic, white anise, cayenne pepper, coriander, and toasted cumin seeds).

Berbere is good on everything I’ve put it on. Soon I’ll try it on ice cream or make ice cream with it.

It’s all curiosity. That’s why I like to buy kitchen gadgets. They, my household and neighbors, think that I just want to buy things, but I’m just curious how things work. 


Eggplant and Chopped Lamb

By Rainey Conguista

When I was in my twenties and living in Brooklyn, my friends and I used to go to this Middle Eastern restaurant on Atlantic Avenue. I have no idea if it’s still there, but this is before Atlantic Avenue was gentrified. It was kind of no man’s land in those days. But they had this little Middle Eastern restaurant and they had this one dish made with eggplant and chopped lamb. And I have tried for many years to look it up and to try to find a recipe and I never could, but one day I decided to make it on my own and it tasted pretty close to theirs and it’s really quite delicious.

You cut up the eggplant into circular slices, and you layer it with the chopped lamb. You can use beef as well, and if you want to add some garlic or whatever. The key to the recipe is that they put cardamom, cardamom seed, or cardamom powder in it, as well as cumin and coriander. You then put a plain, unseasoned tomato sauce over it, drizzle olive oil over all of it, and you mix that whole thing and bake it in the oven. It is really delicious.

I managed to recreate this recipe completely by taste. I just experimented with different things and I tried to figure out what was the spice that was really prevalent, and I realized it was cardamom. And cardamom went well with the cumin and the coriander. It’s not unlike an Italian eggplant dish, but it’s also completely different because the spices are different. You probably could make it without the meat if you’re vegetarian, it would just be a nice way to make eggplant.

Ratatouille By Gary Schoichet Everything I do in the kitchen is mostly an experiment. I like to make is ratatouille. And if I see anything in the refrigerator that looks like it need...

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Collection of Favorite Appetizer Recipes – Food Stories from New York & Beyond

Life Story Club Contributor

Chicken Salad

By Jane Rubinsky

There was a chicken salad recipe from the Weight Watchers Magazine years ago. It involved poaching the chicken breasts in apple juice. And the chicken salad was really good; I made it. 

Actually this is years ago, a friend of a friend was helping me buy my first CD player, and he was going to hook it up for me and everything. I was going to make him lunch in exchange for doing that. And he said, “Oh, I’ll take you out for lunch.” I realized later on that he has a lot of food sensitivities and he wanted to spare both of us the embarrassment of him not being able to eat my chicken salad because there was something in it that he didn’t like. 


Popcorn with Cherries and Almond

By Susan

I’ve got another one to go with the popcorn. You know, for when I need to pig out, that I can’t have sugar and I can’t have a carb. I snack on this while drinking my Black Cherry Diet Coke (recipe on page X) 

And you can eat that with a handful of almonds and cherries. Cherries are at the end of the season now. This is heavenly!


Salad Dressing 

By Gary Schoichet

I make a really nice salad dressing. It’s oil, balsamic or sherry vinegar, and either regular molasses or pomegranate molasses. Sometimes I’ll throw some in mustard, usually Dijon, salt, and pepper. I might grab some oregano, thyme, or tarragon, and crush it up and shake it all up. Then I keep tasting it and adding to it. When you get down to about this much in a bottle, just add back into it until it’s so disgusting that you have to clean the container. 

I also use fresh mint, basil, parsley or whatever else is on hand. 


Garlic Parmesan Broccoli

By Susan

My meals are basically three-quarters of a large plate of veggies and a quarter of a plate of protein. So I got veggies coming out of my ears. One of the things that I enjoy is broccoli. On broccoli, I will put on powdered garlic and grated Parmesan cheese. I mix in some olive oil in a small cup, add in garlic, Parmesan, and mix it up first. Then I pour it on top of the broccoli and cook it — it’s delicious. I also add some seasoning in there, like salt or a little bit of burger seasoning or another seasoning you like that really brings out a whopper of a flavor.

Chicken Salad By Jane Rubinsky There was a chicken salad recipe from the Weight Watchers Magazine years ago. It involved poaching the chicken breasts in apple juice. And the chicken ...

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Collection of Go-to Recipes for Parties and Gatherings – Food Stories from New York & Beyond

Life Story Club Contributor

Spinach Dip

By Jane Rubinsky

For parties or gatherings, I usually make a spinach dip that everybody loves with the Lipton vegetable soup mix in it. I add chopped-up water chestnuts, chopped spinach, low-fat mayonnaise, and low-fat yogurt, so it’s guilt-free. And whatever is leftover I find justification for eating it, sometimes with a spoon. But I try to use celery sticks or crackers. The dip is always a hit.


Goat Cheese Logs

By Jane Rubinsky
You can buy these fancy logs of goat cheese rolled in different things, and I’ve done my own. I’ve chopped up dried cranberries and walnuts and whatnot and rolled a log of goat cheese in it, sometimes with herbs. 

Back in the mid to late ’70s, it was the height of elegance to have that Boursin Cheese with the garlic and herbs, the little round cheese you buy in the supermarket. I bought a seasoning from a small farm that sold herbs and I would make my own. Those little round things were expensive, so I made my own and had as much of it as I wanted.


Salmon Mousse Dip

By Jane Rubinsky

One of my friends doesn’t live in New York anymore, but she always used to make a salmon mousse dip that everybody loved – that was pretty simple too. I don’t remember where she got that recipe, but she decorated it with fresh dill.

We were in our 20s, so I felt like I had to offer my guests real food. I always wanted to serve stuff that I would eat if it was left over.


Deviled Eggs 

By Jane Rubinsky

I’ve been experimenting with different ways to make deviled eggs because people seem to like them. And I’ve discovered that it’s easier to transport them if you cut them in half and prepare the filling and bring it in a pastry bag or a Ziploc bag. And when you get where you’re going, you can snip the corner and pipe it into the shells. You don’t have to deal with the filled eggs sliding around in a container as you’re bringing them.

I have one of these cake decorating sets, they’re plastic tips and it comes with plastic bags that are in a V shape with a snip at the bottom. You put the plastic tip in so that the point of it sticks out the bottom of the bag, and then you fill the bag. And I’ll bring my deviled-egg filling in one of those and very quickly set them up. The hostess doesn’t have to do anything except give me a plate.

Sometimes I put horseradish in them. They’re all kinds of things you can chop up very finely and put in the filling. Sometimes I do them with curry, sometimes fairly plain with just a little paprika or smoked paprika. It kind of depends on the crowd, whether they’re traditional, or whether they like something with a twist. 

With the dips it’s easier to mix yogurt and mayonnaise, or low-fat mayonnaise in the mixture for the deviled eggs. You have to be careful because the texture isn’t quite as satisfying if you use too much yogurt – but it adds a little bit of a tang.

Spinach Dip By Jane Rubinsky For parties or gatherings, I usually make a spinach dip that everybody loves with the Lipton vegetable soup mix in it. I add chopped-up water chestnuts, ...

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Collection of Favorite Drink Recipes – Food Stories from New York & Beyond

Life Story Club Contributor

Almond Seltzer Drink

By Rainey Conguista

In the summertime, my family always used to make a very refreshing drink with almond syrup. You just buy a bottle of almond syrup and mix it with seltzer. You can put any kind of fruit you want into it, such as Maraschino Cherries, pineapple pieces, or peaches. You then mix all the ingredients together in a pitcher with ice. It’s a really refreshing, delicious drink from the 50’s or 60’s that has gone out of fashion in recent years. 

Most Italian pastry shops or Italian specialty shops sell concentrated almond syrup. I used to get mine at Faicco’s Italian Specialties on Bleecker Street. I hope it’s still there.  When I was growing up in Brooklyn, we used to call places like that “pork stores.” Now, some people might be turned off by that name, but pork stores are places that sell Italian specialties. They have a butcher as well as cooked and prepared Italian specialty foods. We get a lot of our Christmas stuff there, a specialty plate for Christmas Day or Easter, and Pizza Rustica. As I was growing up, we used to get meat for our Sunday dinner from there. 

When I moved to the Village, there was another Faicco’s down the block from me, so I started going there all the time. At some point, I found out that the owners of the two places are cousins, but they haven’t spoken to each other in 40 years. 


Pepsi and Wine
By Rainey Conguista

When I was young I remember, whenever the family drank red wine, they would always mix it at the table with Pepsi. I rarely drink alcohol, but to this day, if I do drink red wine, I mix it with Pepsi. To me, it tastes like a Manhattan. It’s the only way I drink wine.


Italian Sangria

By Rainey Conguista

We used to always cut up peaches and put them in red wine. We would have jars of that in the refrigerator and it would keep for days. That’s a very Italian thing.


Iced Espresso/Cappuccino Coffee 

By Susan

I’ve had some health issues for the past couple of years so I’ve had to pay very close attention and avoid carbs. But then after a while, you go nuts. So one of the things I wanted to have was coffee. So here’s a recipe for an espresso/cappuccino type coffee you can make at home very easily. And you can even make it iced.

Start with a few ounces of cold-from-refrigerator water in a tall glass and put in three-quarters or a full teaspoon of Café Bustelo espresso. It’s instant and fabulous. Because I have to stay away from sugar, I’ve moved over to almond milk. I use Unsweetened Vanilla Breeze Almond Milk which is very creamy. After adding the espresso to the glass, add the almond milk, and then fill with very cold water and ice if you like. 

What makes it even a greater treat is Jordan’s Skinny Syrups mocha-flavored keto syrup that I get from skinnymixes.com. Start with a capful, add more to taste, stir, and enjoy.

It is so delicious, it’s like going out to the restaurant à la coronavirus style. And it’s satisfying.


Black-Cherry Coke

By Susan

I love soda, and I know it’s not too good for me either. The caffeine is also not good. So, to cut down on the caffeine, I pour about a third of a glass of Diet Coke and two-thirds of a glass of diet black cherry seltzer. So, what you end up with is a black-cherry Coke.

Not too much caffeine, but delicious.

Almond Seltzer Drink By Rainey Conguista In the summertime, my family always used to make a very refreshing drink with almond syrup. You just buy a bottle of almond syrup and mix it with...

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Stories from NYC & Beyond: Showstopping Tales from VillageCare

Life Story Club Contributor

Below is a loosely edited transcript of the Life Story Club conversation and story share which was held on October 6, 2021 in the Activities Room of the VillageCare Home in Midtown, Manhattan

John: A very touching story happened to me a couple of days ago.

John Meyer has thick glasses, and is almost
always in suspenders. He is a playwright and a musician.

He published a book about a brief relationship he had with Judy Garland.
Judy Garland sang on one of the late-night shows back in the day and one of the songs was written by him.

These days he writes and performs songs at
VillageCare and is the go-to performer for people’s birthday celebrations at the center [VillageCare].

He has a lot of energy and is fun to be around. When other people at VillageCare hear that John is involved with Life Story Club, they want to join too.

John: We have, in our vicinity, a Salvation Army with an extensive collection of books, all lined up on five shelves. There must be 200 or 300 titles used, and you go and you choose three or four of them and you take them to the cash register and pay. And on this particular day, there was a lady in front of me, maybe 60, with gray hair. And she had tucked into her arm, two cookbooks on the foods of Spain. And one of them was a hardcover and one of them was a paperback.

And she got to the register in front of me, and the guy said, “Okay, the paperback is 59 cents. The hardcover is $4.” And her face fell.

She said, “Oh, I can just afford the little one.”

And she took out the 59 cents and placed it on the counter. And my heart went out to her.

And as she departed, I pulled the $4 out of my pocket and I bought the hardcover.

And I ran after her, I said, “Miss, miss, you really should have this. Obviously, you’re in love with Spanish food, you wanna learn how to cook it. So, please take this with my compliments.” She was so moved. And we walked out together, we had a little conversation.

And half a block down, I said, “Well, this is where I live: VillageCare.”

And she said, “Oh, okay. Well, thank you so much again.”

And she departed. A day went by and I got a call from downstairs, and they said, “There’s a package for you here, John. You gotta come to get it. The lady said it was perishable.”

And I went downstairs and she had left me an omelet that she had made, packed up in silver foil. And I was so touched. It was a Spanish omelet and it was just a very touching way to be repaid. And that’s my story.

Peter: That’s a wonderful story.

Linnea (the group facilitator from Life Story Club): I see. That’s a really great story. Thank you for starting us with that. Would you like to go next, Peter?

Peter: I don’t have a touching story like that.

John: Tell ‘em about seeing “Tomorrow, the World!”

Peter: Oh, “Tomorrow, the World!.”

When I was a kid living in New York during World War II, occasionally, I used to go to the theater with my father or my mother. And I ended up, around 1944, seeing a play called “Tomorrow, the World!” which was a big hit at the time. And I think it had Ralph Bellamy and Shirley Booth in it and had
various other people. And it was about a kid from Nazi Germany coming to live in an American home, and it had kids in it.

There was a kid who played the Nazis, and there was a little girl, there was a teenager, and a
younger girl. And I won’t go into the story of the play, but seeing two kids in it that were sort of my age or somewhere around my age…

John: …Gave you a revelation.

Peter: I said, “Gee, I’d like to do that.” You know? And so, after saying, “Gee, I’d like to do that.” It sort of hooked me on the theater.

I’d never thought about it before, and then I said, “That might be fun to do, or interesting to do, or exciting to do. Like, be somebody else, you know?”

And it had a beautiful set of a living room that you wanted to move into, you know, that kind of setting. So, that’s what started me off. And before that, I never even thought about it. Seeing younger
people in a play. And that’s something. It sounded like it would be interesting to do.

To be somebody else other than yourself. It’s sort of a variation of dressing up, which people do, you know, with costumes and things. And just to find and live a life that isn’t your own, even though it’s only through acting.

John: Was it Skippy Homeier?

Peter: It was Skippy Homeier, Ralph Bellamy, and Shirley Booth. I didn’t see Shirley Booth, I saw somebody by the name of Lois Wheeler because she was the understudy. And then there was a lady named Dorothy Sands and it’s who I later studied acting with, years later.

And I’ve forgotten who played the young girl. She grew up and became an actress. The show was a big hit at the time, though everybody’s forgotten. It was made into a movie. Anyway, that’s when I got hooked, regrettably sometimes.

Linnea: Thank you for sharing.

Peter: You’re very welcome.

Linnea: Susan, do you have a story in mind that you’d like to share?

Susan: When I was about 17, I asked for a book for Christmas and it was written by Helen Hayes. I saw an excerpt in the magazine and I admired her so much. And this story was about her life and falling in love with Charles MacArthur and having children. She lost her daughter to polio at 19 years old. I was so fascinated by her and her talent.

When I went to college, in Edinboro at 19, my mother called me and said, “You have to take a bus home. We have tickets to see Helen Hayes in a play at the Nixon theater,” which is now a parking lot. And she said, “We got tickets and you need to take the bus to Pittsburgh and we’ll meet you with dress clothes.” So, I did. And we went to the play. It was called “The Show-Off.”

My mother told me Helen had agreed to meet me at the end, so the whole time I was watching, I thought, “Her daughter died at 19 and I’m 19. I’ll bet that’s why she agreed to meet me.” Because I wanted to be an actress, that’s what my mother had told her. When I asked for the book and got it at Christmas, my mother inscribed in it, “Susan, that you would want and appreciate a book like this is a gift of joy to me.”

After the play, we went backstage and met her and she was exactly what I expected. She had her hands crossed on her stomach and looked way up at me because I was 5” 9’ then.

She spoke so eloquently and asked me about my aspirations, but I was totally tongue-tied. I couldn’t say a thing–nothing would come out. I felt so
stupid. And we forgot to bring the book to have her sign it. We regretted that.
Afterward, we were driving down the alley behind the theater and we saw her out walking her dog, and I just broke down crying. I was so moved by the whole experience and the fact that she would wanna meet me at 19 years old, and had lost her daughter. I always cherished that book.

Linnea: Did you get any advice that you remember from her?

Susan: No. The whole thing kinda went blank in my head because I was so starstruck. And I was just so moved and starstruck that I was
speechless.

And she said, “I understand you wanna be an
actress.” And I was like, “Yeah. Uh-huh.” And
afterward, I could have kicked myself. I just felt so stupid, but it was one of the highlights of my life.

John: That happened to me with Arthur Miller, the playwright of “Death of a Salesman.”
For some reason, we were standing on the steps waiting for taxis outside of a theater and there was Arthur Miller, a big guy.

And I was next to him and, in fact, I even said, “Hello.” But I was tongue-tied, the same way you were with Helen Hayes.

Susan: Really?
John: In Summer Stock, we did one of his plays called “All My Sons.” I should’ve asked him about that, you know?

Peter: Yeah.

John: I didn’t. I just stood there like a jerk.

Peter: I have a story that’s kind of funny like that. For some reason, I was at Sardi’s, I was at
somebody else’s opening night party, a friend of mine who had a small part in a play called “The Lincoln Mask.” Didn’t last very long but anyway, I had taken a lady friend of mine, I got free tickets for it. And I found myself at the party sitting next to Ethel Merman, the big E.

And of course, you know, you feel absolutely
intimidated. What do you say to Ethel Merman? So I finally mustered up the courage and said, “Ms. Merman, I hear you have a new record out or LP,” or whatever it was.

And she said, without looking at me, almost with a poke in the arm, “Yeah, 63-piece orchestra. You gotta get it.” And that was all that she ever said to me throughout the entire evening.

And then, when she got up to leave, I said,
“Goodbye,” you know, I just let it go with that. And she turned and said, “Now, remember 63-piece orchestra. You gotta get it.” And that’s all she ever said, but…and she was with somebody else. One thing you learn about sitting next to somebody, a star or somebody who’s famous, they’re not the slightest bit interested in you.

Susan: No.

John: But sometimes they can pretend.

Peter: Yeah, they can pretend. And I said, even the Queen of England, if you ever sat next to her she’d pretend.

John: Yeah, exactly.

Linnea: Dolores, would you like to share a story?

John: Tell me about how you were crazy about movie magazines.

Dolores: When I was like 10 or 12 years old I would wait every month for movie magazines. I would run down to the newsstand. Believe it or not, in those days a kid could go out by themselves. No one would bother you back then. Or if someone bothered you, you ran. I would wait for the
newsstand.

I would buy “Modern Screen,” “Photoplay,” and “Screen Stories.” They were only 10 cents. I would read all of them. I knew what the screen stories or the plots were for the movies. I would read all the gossip columns, and I would collect colored
pictures.

I remember a colored picture of Gene Tierney and Susan Hayward. They were so beautiful, so
sometimes I would cut out their pictures. Then I got interested in the movies, and I would go to movies every week or something like that.

You know, in those days, they had Saturday
matinees for the kids. Oh, the kids were annoying. If the movie was good, they would be quiet. If the movie was lousy, they’d be fighting and throwing things at each other.

John: Remember the matron? There was always a matron.

Dolores: Oh, the matron. What a floss that was, a real floss.

John: They used to have matrons patrolling the aisles for kid’s matinees, which would happen on Saturday at, like, 11:00 in the morning.

Peter: They always wore white and had flashlights.

John: They all had flashlights and they would tell you to shut up.

Dolores: It was such a floss.

Peter: Yes. “Get your feet off the seats.”

John: “Be quiet.” Dolores, what was the first movie you remember seeing?

Dolores: I think I was about six years old, I think. I was visiting my grandmother. I used to go to my grandmother’s during the summer and she didn’t understand movies that much. But it was, I think, a serial, you know? They used to show serials where they would continue it week after week after week.

And I was about 6 years old and I don’t remember the name, but it took place in the jungle and there was a gorilla. I didn’t know at the time it was
probably a man dressed as a gorilla.

I got so frightened. I went underneath my seat and my grandmother was laughing at me. That was, I think, my first movie, I don’t remember the name.
Something about jungles.

John: Maybe a Tarzan, huh?

Dolores: No, no. It was something else.
Maybe something called “Tim Tyler in the Jungle,” or something like that. I remember visiting my
grandmother again, and I don’t remember how old I was, but I remember I saw a Cecil B. DeMille
movie with John Wayne, and there was supposed to be a big squid. They were divers and this big squid or octopus surrounded them, and it was trying to kill them or something. I think it was called “Reap the Wild Wind.”. I think Susan Hayward was in it. That was one of my early movies. I saw it when I was about eight years old.

John: Yeah. “Reap the Wild Wind.”

Dolores: Something like that, yeah. It was a Cecil B. DeMille production, it was something elaborate, you know? With a big giant squid. And, at that time, I didn’t realize that squids are not that giant.

It [the movie theater] was a really dumpy place near my Grandmother’s place in Brooklyn. It was a couple of blocks away. And in my neighborhood, when I used to go to the matinees at a place called the Bijou.

A real dumpy place now that I think of it. You know, I’d actually go by myself and believe it or not,
nobody bothered me, you know? But I was tall for a 12-year-old. And so, I looked older, so they would let me in but nobody bothered me or anything like that.

Peter: Dolores is an Encyclopedia of Information.
She knows more than anybody.

Linnea: Alan, would you like to share?

Alan: I’ll just tell a short story about going to the movies. I’m from Guyana and the first movie I saw was “Samson and Delilah.” I was 12 years old. I
always remember that movie and the first time I went to a theater with my uncle.

John: The star was Victor Mature?

Alan: Victor Mature. And Hedy Lamarr was Delilah. And Samson’s strength was in his hair. His
mother told him, “Do not cut your hair, your locks. That is your strength, you will lose your strength if you cut it.” Samson was so strong that he lifted up the gate of Gaza, and threw it on the Philistines, killing thousands of them.

The leader of the Philistines knew well that
Samson was in love with Delilah so they said they would give her 30 pieces of silver to see where his strength comes from. She tried and tried. She tied his hands up with rope, but he ripped out of the rope, so that didn’t work.

Samson wasn’t to drink wine, and so Delilah gave him wine. The servant who prepared the wine threw a little something inside it to make him sleep. Then when Delilah gave Samson the wine now, he was out. Delilah then cut his locks–cut his hair off, taking away his strength. She tied him up again, saying, “Samson, the Philistine is upon you.” When the enemy came, she told them, “Don’t shed his blood. Don’t shed his blood.” So instead they got a hot knife and used it to take his sight.

At the temple, the Philistine were mocking and laughing at Samson. They had him captured and they put him between pillars and began
mocking him. Samson begged for his strength, saying, “God, let me die with my enemy.” And with that, Samson got his strength back.

He pushed and pushed and pushed the pillars that were on top of them, bringing down the entire temple and killing most of the Philistines. Samson died along with the enemy since that is what he asked God for.. A part of the movie is in the Bible, the Book of Judges.

Linnea: Were you hooked on movies after you saw this? You wanted to see more?

Alan: Yes, I went to the Plaza and to any other cinema I could get to. When I was a teenager, I would go see movies on my own. The plaza was a wooden building and I would watch the screen in the theater even before the movie would start.

Two archers were printed on either side of the screen with their bows. I had never seen anything like it. I used to walk thirty minutes to see these movies. That’s how long it took me to get to the Plaza from my home.

Alan: “Samson and Delilah.”

John: That’s right.

Peter: “Samson and Delilah.”

Linnea: Do you have another story, John?

John: I got 30 of them.

Dolores: We can go on and on.

John: My friend Barry, who was an actor, and I were watching TV one afternoon. He used to come over to my house and we would watch what was called the “Million Dollar Movie” every afternoon at 4:00, whatever. And they were having a Burt
Lancaster festival and after the festival, Burt
Lancaster appeared on an interview show that was hosted by Mike Wallace. Remember Mike
Wallace?

Peter: Yeah.

Dolores: Yeah.

John: And Mike Wallace prided himself on probing questions. And first of all, he asked Burt
Lancaster, he says, “How did you feel when the House Un-American Activities Committee quizzed you about your communist leanings?” And Burt Lancaster, who was there to promote a picture called the “Birdman of Alcatraz,” right?

Dolores: Mm-hmm.

John: This is 1962 and he said, “Well, it didn’t bother me. I didn’t answer their questions.” He says, “Now, can we talk about my picture?” Mike Wallace said, “In a minute, Burt.”

He says, “Now, there are many rumors. Whether they’re true or not, I don’t know.” He said, “About your possible homosexuality,” said Mike Wallace. He says, “How do you deal with those rumors?” Lancaster said, “Mike,” he says, “That is not
germane to this discussion and I think you’re
ridiculous, as a host, to ask me a question like that.”

He took off his lapel mic and he stormed out of the studio. Barry and I were astounded. Wow, what a move. I lived on 57th street at that time, we went downstairs, walked down to 5th Avenue and we went into the Plaza. And we were just walking around the Plaza lobby, and all of a sudden, two men came past us.

One of them was Burt Lancaster. And out of some impulse, I punched the air and I said, “Give ‘em hell Burt.” And the reaction was astounding.

He leaped across the car, but he must have taken a 6-feet leap and he’s a guy who’s 6’2, you know? He said, “How did it look? Did I come off arrogant?” He says, “Because it could have gone either way, you know? People think we, movie stars, are so overprivileged and arrogant.

I’ve tried to destroy that image, but tell me, it could have gone either way.” He was so nervous that his leaving the show was seen as arrogant. And I said to him, “Burt, you were absolutely correct.”

I said, “Mike Wallace, he thinks he’s this crusading
journalist asking all the probing questions and he’s really a gossip column figure. He’s Louella
Parsons, you know? So, don’t worry about it. You did exactly the right thing.” Lancaster, he just wiped the sweat off his brow.

He said, “Man, I’m so glad I ran into you.” He said, “You’ve really set my mind at ease.” And he walked off. And my friend Barry, who’s an actor said,
“Actors, actors, you see? We’re all so insecure.” And that was the anecdote.

Peter: You know, the HUAC was interviewing a writer named Kenneth Fearing.

John: Mystery writer.

Peter: Literary writer, yeah. And he wrote “The Big Clock” and he wrote poems, very wonderful poems, definitely. And I think he was a socialist or something very much on the left, and they brought him in front of the HUAC, House Un-American
Activities Committee. And they said, “Are you a communist?” And he said, “Not yet.” That’s all he said.

John: Great response.

Peter: Great response.

Dolores: I forget what Lillian Hellman. They asked her something. I forget what Lillian Hellman said. I forget what she said. Something like that.

John: She said, “I will not cut my conscience.”

Dolores: Yeah.

John: Yeah, Lillian Hellman.

Peter: Lillian Hellman, yeah. To suit the fashion or something like that, yeah.

Dolores: That was such a floss.

Linnea: Does anyone have another story that they’d like to share?

Dolores: Oh, God. There’s so many of them.

Peter: There was a wonderful joke about Helen Hayes. Can I tell that?

Linnea: Yes.

Peter: This is sort of a regular joke. Friends of hers came to see her on a show and they thought that was not one of her best performances, but they had to go back and see her. I don’t know if it’s true or not.

So, they went backstage and they said, “Well, what do we say?” You know, you go backstage and you didn’t like what they saw. So, she opened the door with this thing and they said, “Helen…Helen…
Helen…Helen…Helen….Oh, thank you.”

Whether it’s true or not, I don’t know but I love these stories, you know? What do you say to somebody when…because I’ve been in shows and people come back and, you know, why they come back at all and said…oh, something I was in. And they said nothing about what I did, just about, “I hated the play. I did this and this.” You wonder why they come back, you know?

Dolores: You don’t know what to say. I have a story almost like that. I didn’t see the play, but my friend did. She went to see “The World of Suzie Wong,” and at that time, a young William Shatner was in the play, a young William Shatner.

So, my friend decided to go backstage. She said it was a terrible performance, so I don’t know why they decided to go backstage. They didn’t like the
performance. So, he says to them, “How was I? How was I?” And so, my friend says, “Well, the sets were nice.” That was it.

John: She went home humming the scenery.

Dolores: Yeah.

John: Right.

Dolores: I remember when he was a young actor, you know?

Below is a loosely edited transcript of the Life Story Club conversation and story share which was held on October 6, 2021 in the Activities Room of the VillageCare Home in Midtown, Manhattan ...

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The plant has genetics roots in Thailand and produces flowers quickly. Chocolate Haze seeds will thrive when grown in hydro and in soil, but keep in mind the space required for the large plant. The...

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