Getting Lost and The Shock of My Life

Havana, Cuba; 1950s

Getting Lost

When I was young, I went into the ocean and when I came out, I was lost. A young man who spotted me, picked me up and asked, “Anybody missing a little girl?” Nobody came, nobody answered. So they took me under the boardwalk into the first-aid station. I was cold and shaking, and an old lady there gave me her towel to put on. I was waiting and waiting, and nobody was coming. The policeman said, “It’s getting late, we’re going to have to close up the first-aid station, we’re gonna have to take her to the police department.” And with that, my father came in. From that time on —I was about five years old— I’ve had a terrible fear of getting lost. If I’m anywhere strange, I must be with a crowd or I must be with at least one person because I have this terrible fear of getting lost. I’m always lost.

I went to Bermuda and I got lost there and couldn’t find my way back to the boat. I went to Cuba and got caught in the middle of Mardi Gras, so I couldn’t get back to my hotel. I was in San Francisco and got lost again and couldn’t get back to the hotel. I was in Dublin looking for the B&B, and I went the wrong way and was stopped by a gentleman who put me in the right direction. 

To show you how bad I am, I moved here to Jackson Heights [Queens] and I was here for a short time. I went to visit my daughter three blocks away, and I came back to this building and said, “Oh my gosh, look at this building. Since I’ve been gone they changed the lobby, the whole lobby is different.” I found out I was a block away from my own building. So I have been lost and terrified of this all my life. And I’m afraid when my time comes and I start to go up to heaven, I’m going to get lost and go the other way. But at least I’ll meet a lot of my old friends. 

The Shock of My Life

While I was working at Equitable Life in Manhattan, there was a very nice young gentleman in my department and we decided to have a date. He said, “Would you like to go out to dinner?” and I said, “Oh, sounds great.” So he said, “Okay, after work, we’re going over to my friend’s house and they’re going to go to dinner with us.” I said, “Fine.”

So, we got to the friend’s house and the husband was still working while we were sitting. The three of us were talking when the husband came in, and he was all dressed up with a suit and a tie –I mean really spiffy looking. He said, “I got the car outside, we can drive to the restaurant.” I said, “Great.” It was a hearse. He was an undertaker, and I had the shock of my life driving a hearse to go to dinner.

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